As the dust begins to settle in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, we now turn our attention to what lies next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Said movie arrives in the form of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which swings into Cineworld on 2nd July.
Reportedly taking place minutes after the credits roll on Endgame, Far From Home is set to take the action away from New York as Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and friends embark on a grand school trip around Europe. However, things don’t go quite as planned for Peter when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) unexpectedly appears in his hotel room to recruit him. His mission: to save the world from some super-sized villains in collaboration with surprise teammate Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
However, the latest – and very spoiler-heavy – trailer for Far From Home reveals an even more surprising detail that has the potential to change the future of the MCU as we know it: the introduction of a multiverse. According to a line from Fury in the trailer, Thanos’s (Josh Brolin) snap “tore a hole” in their world, enabling Mysterio to travel from his dimension over to Spidey’s.
The inclusion of a multiverse is incredibly exciting, but what could it mean for Far From Home, and the future of the MCU? Here’s what we think…
1. Multiple timelines to explore
The Far From Home trailer is the first time the term ‘multiverse’ has properly been acknowledged within MCU canon. However, the concept of multiple realities was acknowledged in Endgame via The Ancient One’s (Tilda Swinton) explanation of time travel. To briefly recap: when something in the timeline is changed, a new alternate universe is created that branches from the main timeline, which remains unchanged.
From the events of Endgame alone, there are three significant alternate universes created: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escaping during the events of Avengers: Assemble (2012); Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) being absent from Guardians of the Guardians (2014) after traveling forward in time; and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) living a happy existence in the 1940s (whether or not this is a new dimension is debated by the film-makers).
These alternate timelines are very likely a set-up for the TV shows featuring on the new Disney+ streaming service – WandaVision starring Elizabeth Olsen is but one of those confirmed. And recent reports confirming these Marvel shows will be directly connected to the films could mean familiar faces will return in different contexts.
2. Mysterio and Earth-833
In a short promo clip for Far From Home, we got a little bit more information about which dimension Mysterio comes from, that being Earth-833 as opposed to Earth-616 where the MCU films have taken place thus far. We already know Mysterio was able to make the jump between these dimensions, but what if something (or someone) else did as well?
One possibility is the group of villains featured in the trailer, the Elementals, could be from Mysterio’s dimension, too – it would explain their sudden appearance and his confidence in battling them. More interestingly, Earth-833 is also home to alternate Spider-Man Billy Braddock, who goes by the name of Spider-UK, a British version of the wall-crawling hero.
As we know all too well, no detail in the MCU is simply coincidental. And with a significant part of Far From Home taking place in London and Holland himself being British, there’s every likelihood another Spider-Person could appear on our screens. This is increasingly likely after the phenomenal success of 2018’s (unrelated) animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which developed the multiverse concept in a host of visually delightful ways.
3. One-off spin-offs
With a gateway now open to countless possibilities, Marvel have essentially given themselves a free pass to try out anything they like before incorporating it into the main franchise continuity. By introducing fans to lesser-known heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, the studio have already shown they’re not afraid to take some risks, but now they have the potential to really go for it.
With dozens of bizarre Marvel characters out there like Slapstick, Squirrel Girl, and Mojo, there’s no shortage of opportunities for Marvel to try something different. They could even bring back iconic characters like Blade for older audiences, or even adapt other horror comics like Man-Thing and Jennifer Kale in response to Fox’s horror outing The New Mutants, or Sony’s Jared Leto-led project Morbius (both of which are scheduled for release next year).
4. X-Men and Fantastic Four
And speaking of introducing new characters, it’s almost guaranteed that the X-Men and Fantastic Four will join the ranks of the MCU following a landmark merger between Fox (who previously owned the rights to said characters) and Disney (who own the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Now that the addition of a multiverse exists, both these hero teams can easily be incorporated into the MCU without the need to do much legwork. However, given that Fox still have two X-Men films scheduled (Dark Phoenix, out this week, and New Mutants) it’ll still be a long wait to see what creative juices Marvel can inject into these beloved characters. Likewise, this could mean that Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) could pop-up alongside our favourite MCU figures.
5. Secret Wars Saga
Endgame concludes the Infinity War saga and Far From Home acts as the closing chapter of the MCU’s Phase 3 stage. The latter movie is our bridge into the next era of the franchise and is therefore likely to set up the next major saga, which is rumoured to be an adaptation of the Secret Wars arc.
Originally published in 1984-1985, this storyline saw our heroes involuntarily participate in an intergalactic Battle Royale, but a 2015 adaptation written by Jonathan Hickman (whose Infinity comic book series inspired Infinity War) centred around the impending destruction of the multiverse. Now that the multiverse exists, the build-up to Secret Wars would make its inclusion more relevant, and would also give a reason for characters from different dimensions to unite. Moreover, Endgame directors the Russos have already expressed an interest in adapting Secret Wars in the future.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.