Entertainment

Does 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Introduce the Concept of an MCU Multiverse? It's Complicated

spider man mysterio
Sony

This article contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home. 

Rumors about a Spider-Man multiverse started swirling months before Spider-Man: Far From Home was even close to hitting theaters. The charming and gorgeously animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which hit theaters last December (now on Netflix!) and introduced the concept of Spidey's "multiverse," seemed to hint that Marvel was about to delve into a deeper section of comic lore. Would the "far from home" referenced in the new movie's title actually introduce the Marvel Comics multiverse into Spider-Man's movies, and then into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe? After all, you can't really get much farther from home than that.

The short answer is: no. In June, Sony released a clip in which Jake Gyllenhaal's caped crusader Mysterio informs Spider-Man, Nick Fury, and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill of the "Elementals," a cosmic threat from his universe that have somehow made their way into this one and are about to wreak havoc. "They first materialized on my Earth, many years ago," he says. In the longer version of the scene that's in the movie, when Mysterio introduces himself to Spider-Man, he tells him that he's from Earth-833, and that this Earth is known in the multiverse as Earth-616. Multiverse! Right? Well, as we all pretty much know by now, Mysterio, a.k.a. Quentin Beck, is a lyin' schemin' no-good villain, and he was fibbing through his teeth about being from another world this entire time. 

In what is arguably Far From Home's best scene, Beck rips off his over-the-top costume in a pub while delivering a manic speech to his cronies about how he used to work for Tony Stark, was fired for being a true weirdo, and is now using Stark Industries' holographic technology (which basically boils down to an army of drones) to merely pretend to be a superhero in a world rocked by Thanos' Snap (known as "the Blip") and the deaths of four of the Avengers. In the world of the movie, and presumably all Marvel and Marvel-Sony films after this, Beck pretty much just invented the concept of the "multiverse" off the top of his head.

Part of what he says might actually sound familiar to some fans, though. While Far From Home is firmly rooted in one universe and one universe only, Beck's mention of the multiverse includes a couple Easter eggs for all of the die-hards out there. "Earth-616," which Beck referred to as our Earth, this movie's Earth, is a real term used in Marvel Comics mythology to describe the universe in which most of the action in the main continuity happens. Earth-616 is also the in-movie designation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though if we wanna get real technical, the movie versions of the comics (starting with Iron Man and excluding the X-Men, Fantastic Four, or any Spider-Man movie before Spider-Man: Homecoming) actually take place in Earth-199999. Just something to whip out at parties when there's a lull. 

The concept of the Marvel Multiverse was first introduced with the creation of Captain Britain, who learned that he was part of a team of Captain Britains all throughout the great Multiverse, each one tasked by the wizard Merlyn with… upholding the laws of Great Britain. That's cool. That's nice for them. (The characters in Captain Britain comics were modeled after those in Michael Moorcock's 1970 fantasy novel The Eternal Champion, where he first coined the term "Multiverse.") 

Earth-833 is also a real universe, even though it's fake in Far From Home. In the comics, Earth-833 is the designation of Spider-UK, a onetime Captain Britain who inherits Spider-powers and is forced to live out of his own reality, popping from one world to another, as his universe was destroyed in something called the Incursion. The Multiverse is especially pertinent to Spider-Man comics: all universes exist within the Great Web, which is presided over by a number of godlike Spider-Totems, and in which first originated Spider-powers. Like every universe has its Captain Britain, most of them have their Spider-Man, too -- which is a concept that Into the Spider-Verse managed to sorta delve into in a couple of scenes. You actually see the physical Great Web during every sequence in which a character explains how they ended up in Miles Morales' reality.

This is a really lo-o-ong way of saying that this thing we all thought might be in the movie is not in the movie, but, who knows? With Marvel getting more ambitious and wild now that the Avengers are all but done (Eternals, anyone?), we could very well see a Spider-movie introduce the Great Web into the MCU in a more official capacity. It's a weird, complicated, confusing concept, but let's not forget these movies once convinced us that a raccoon and a tree have daily chats in outer space. 

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.