Thor’s brother Balder was nearly part of the Illuminati In Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness according to costume designer Graham Churchyard. The film opened early this year and featured a new group of superheroes known as the Illuminati from Earth 838. The group consisted of Mister Fantastic, Captain Marvel, Black Bolt, Captain Carter, Professor X, and Baron Mordo. The Illuminati stood together to stop Thanos as well as their universe’s Doctor Strange who had been corrupted by the Darkhold.
Balder the Brave first appeared in 1962 in Journey into Mystery #85. There have been many incarnations of Balder Odinson over the years. However, he usually appears as Thor’s brother and as a hero. He is a physically daunting Asgardian who has the power of invulnerability. Born from the Nordic Myth, Balder was the favorite son of Frigga and has a vulnerability to mistletoe. One Loki exploits on more than one occasion. He was once poisoned by a mistletoe-tipped arrow and sent to Hel where he was tormented. Odin brought Balder back to life; however, his hair turned white from all the experiences in Hel. In many ways, his experiences in Hel broke Balder, but he always managed to overcome his demons and become a hero.
In a recent chat on the Phase Zero podcast, Graham Churchyard explained that Balder was almost part of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. They even made his suit and were just waiting on casting for the part. You can see the tweet and full quote below:
— Phase Zero – MCU (@PhaseZeroCB) July 6, 2022
“We got very far designing Balder the Brave and then we were waiting, and waiting, and waiting on casting. I took it to a prototype stage, we were kind of in that design thing, getting fabrics together and ideas and waiting for an actor. Poor Balder the Brave, he almost made Thor 1, and Thor 2, and Thor 3, if I can simplify that. Then, it’s just like, ‘Yay! He’s gonna get an appearance!’ Poor guy. I’ve seen designs Marvel’s archive book of Balder’s helmet going back to Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. So, he’s been a long time waiting and I don’t think he’s gonna make an appearance any time soon.”
Balder the Brave would have made an excellent addition to the Illuminati. Not only is he an Asgardian, but his backstory shares many themes with Doctor Strange himself. They were both broken, but despite that fact, they both rise from the ashes and became heroes. It would have also expanded the MCU in an interesting way. As Churchyard said, Balder almost made it into every Thor movie and he has never been mentioned. His appearance would have also reshaped the way we look at Thor. If Thor had a brother other than Loki, why have we never heard about him? It would just seem like such a glaring omission. Because he is from another Earth though, it could have easily been explained that Balder doesn’t exist on Earth 616. In any case, it seems like another missed opportunity the bring a beloved Marvel character to the MCU. You can catch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on VOD or streaming on Disney+.
Film Synopsis: Doctor Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses, to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse. They seek help from Wanda the Scarlet Witch, Wong and others.
Source: Phase Zero