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The Shocking Inhuman Appearance In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Contains spoilers for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"

The last few years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been crammed with crowd-pleasing moments, from Captain America (Chris Evans) wielding Mjolnir in "Avengers: Endgame" to the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Web-Slingers in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Marvel Studios seems to have figured out an effective way of weaponizing fan speculation and nostalgia with truly entertaining results. And now that the multiverse is well and truly on the table, audiences have come to expect the unexpected. This definitely works in the favor of Sam Raimi's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" since fans are desperate to see who shows up from across the Marvel pantheon.

And the 2022 sequel doesn't disappoint, as the Illuminati apprehends Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) when he arrives on Earth-838 with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), leading to a very satisfying set of high-profile cameos. Yes, it's fan service, but the cameos stick the landing because they're not drawn out across the entire movie. Marvel Studios keeps the surprise appearances contained to that one universe, as Patrick Stewart reprises his role as "X-Men" leader Professor X, and Hayley Atwell once again plays a live-action Peggy Carter.

One of the most surprising members of the council is Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, played by none other than John Krasinski. And to top it all off, the cameo crew is also joined by another legendary hero: Black Bolt, played by Anson Mount, last seen in ABC's "Inhumans" series.

Anson Mount returns as Black Bolt

Yes, Anson Mount gets another shot at playing Black Bolt in live-action after the disappointing "Inhumans" TV show from 2017. The ABC series didn't do the team of heroes justice, as it tried to balance its big ambitions with a TV budget and failed hard at doing so — one need only look at the special effects used in an attempt to bring Medusa's (Serinda Swan) tactile hair to life to see why. It's a shame because it definitely had potential, and the performances were pretty good, especially from Mount as Black Bolt. 

Thankfully, when Black Bolt shows up in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the film delivers a much more faithful version of the Inhuman King. For starters, the film gives him his comic-accurate costume — complete with metallic wings and head-fork — rather than the limp leather jacket from the TV series. The film redeems the character in what could be read as a sneaky apology while also surprising fans by killing him off as quickly as he returns. But it's such an impressive death that no one is complaining.

Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) magically seals Black Bolt's mouth shut after Reed bizarrely tells her that the king's voice has the power to destroy her, giving her time to react — and this has disastrous consequences. When the Inhuman tries to unleash his devastating sonic shockwave, it bounces back inside his head and his skull implodes, killing him instantly. Woah. It's a shame to see him die so quickly, but this is just one version of reality in the multiverse, and there's nothing to say he can't come back in the main Earth-616 universe.

Who is Black Bolt anyway?

If you're wondering why Black Bolt is so important in the first place, it's because he's the king of the Inhumans, a race of genetically altered super-beings who evolve thanks to Terrigen crystals. This process either kills them in the chrysalis transformation or grants them extraordinary powers. Unfortunately for Black Bolt, his powers mean that he can't talk without unleashing a devastating shockwave — in fact, he accidentally killed his parents when he destroyed a Kree ship by shouting. The wreckage fell on the Inhuman parliament, killing most of the council, including his parents. As if that wasn't enough, the shockwave also had a deeply troubling effect on his brother Maximus.

The Inhumans are one of the largest factions in the Marvel Universe alongside the Avengers and the X-Men. In the world of the comics, they've clashed with the other heroes on a number of occasions in stories like "Civil War," "Inhumans vs. X-Men," and the upcoming "Judgement Day" event (via Games Radar). However, on Earth-838, it appears that all those factions have struck an accord, as evidenced by Black Bolt's participation in the Illuminati.

The team was originally meant to get their own solo movie in the MCU, but those plans were shuttered for a number of reasons, and the project was reshaped into a TV show. It'll be interesting to see whether they'll eventually join the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the main Earth-616 universe now that Black Bolt has stepped onto the big screen.