Once upon a time, one of the big attractions of the MCU was that it presented an easily understandable comic book universe. All you had to do was turn up to see two or three movies a year, and you could follow it. Now things have changed: viewers not only have to tune in to multiple Disney Plus TV shows, but the very fabric of the universe has gotten a lot more complicated with the introduction of the multiverse.
Teased in Loki and What If…? the multiverse made its full leap to the big screen in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. One topic on r/MarvelStudios has fans debating whether it’s gotten way too hard to keep track of and if Marvel Studios are contradicting themselves:
First up, the OP isn’t entirely correct. Marvel explicitly hasn’t unified “all their properties into a single multiverse” as the comics’ multiverse remains distinct from the one seen in the movies. However, there are details that genuinely have fans scratching their heads.
The central comics’ universe has been designated ‘616’ for decades, with the MCU being given the official designation of Earth-199999 back in the late 2000s. This appears to have been at least partially ignored, as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness revealed that the MCU was also ‘616’. However, as replies point out, we learned that designation on Earth-838 so ‘616’ might simply be their designation. And, for the purposes of clarity, we’ll just ignore that Mysterio in Far From Home somehow knew that the MCU was ‘616’.
So, you can see how all this gets tangled up pretty fast. Our hope is that Marvel Studios gets the multiverse out of their system fairly soon, as in the comics competing realities and variants of characters usually ends in continuity being softly rebooted.
Even so, all these multiversal shenanigans may have the goal of introducing mutants to the MCU, as it’d stretch belief to say that they’d always existed, and we’d simply never seen them. It’s notable that with Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier turning up in Multiverse of Madness we know that mutants exist in other multiverses, so perhaps the door is being left open for a collision of two realities and a bunch of new costumed heroes on the scene.
So c’mon Marvel, let’s get those mutants in action, so we can see MCU takes on classics like Wolverine, Magneto, and Cyclops.