Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was filled with exciting surprises, yet there were still quite a few that ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps the biggest abandoned idea was a cameo appearance from fan-favorite actor Daniel Craig as part of the Illuminati. The prestigious superhero team essentially operated as the Avengers of Earth-838 and was comprised of several unexpected heroes from Marvel’s past. Hayley Atwell and Lashana Lynch returned as alternate timeline variants of Captain Carter and Captain Marvel, respectively, while big names like Patrick Stewart and John Krasinski shocked viewers with the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts of Professor X and Mr. Fantastic. Anson Mount even made a memorable homecoming as Black Bolt, a role he originated in 2017’s poorly received ABC series Inhumans.
In May, shortly after the sequel’s release, it was made known that Craig had originally been intended to appear in the film as well. The former Casino Royale star would have portrayed the Asgardian warrior Balder the Brave. In both the comics and actual Norse mythology, Balder is the brother of Thor and Loki, and a respected member of Odin’s royal family. Craig‘s part in the project reportedly fell through after the global COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from traveling to the film’s set. Fans may have thought they’d never get a glimpse of Craig in the role, but luckily, concept artist Darrell J. Warner had a say in the matter. Warner recently took to Instagram to reveal an early, unfinished design for Balder:
Warner isn’t allowed to officially state who the character is in his art, but left enough clues in the caption to make it easily deducible. Balder appears to have his signature helmet, furred cape, and blue armor, and is even standing next to one of Odin’s ravens. It’s far from a clear image of Craig, but it may end up being the closest fans ever get to seeing him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.