'Spider-Man Far From Home' Multiverse: What Mysterio Means for the MCU
It seems Thanos’ snap did a lot more damage to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than we realized. It could mean a lot of weird, interesting things for the MCU’s future — if Mysterio is to be believed in the latest Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, that is.
In the second trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) introduces Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to a new “superhero,” Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), who also goes by the name Mysterio. But the thing about Mysterio that separates him from other heroes (besides the fact that he’s actually a villain) is that he hails from “another” Earth.
That’s right: If you’ve also watched The Flash or read any old comic books, you’ll be familiar with the multiverse, or the theory of parallel Earths existing in tandem but separated by dimensional barriers. For the MCU, the multiverse was introduced by the Ancient One in 2016’s Doctor Strange when she asks Stephen Strange: “Who are you in this vast multiverse?”
It is a little weird that Spider-Man of all characters is exploring the multiverse. After all, he is just a friendly neighborhood superhero, even if he went up to space, as Fury points out. Spidey is still just a teenager whose biggest concern is making sense of his high school crush while on a field trip to Europe.
You don’t need spider powers to know just how hashtag-relatable that feels. But instead of taking MJ on a date along the Grand Canal in Venice, Peter is forced to save the world with a total stranger.
Of course, there are glaring red flags pointing to why this might all be bogus (we’ll get into that in just a bit), but first, let’s consider that the multiverse was actually made real after Thanos’ Snap, because there are potentially huge ramifications for the future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Welcome, Fantastic Four and X-Men
With Disney’s $50+ billion acquisition of Fox completed, the mass media company now owns movie franchises like the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four. No movies with these characters have been announced by Marvel Studios. Dark Phoenix, the unequivocal end to Fox’s X-Men, will be released on June 7.
A multiverse easily allows these characters to be included in the “MCU” without too much fuss; just open the portal and let ‘em come on through.
To introduce them now without the multiverse as an explanation would be a creative nightmare for audiences to accept. You could already imagine theoretical blog headlines such as “Why the Snap Didn’t Wipe Out the X-Men.” (See? You’re already tired.)
Is This How Spider-Man Ends?
It’s easy to forget amidst all the hoopla with Thanos, but Spider-Man’s time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is actually, potentially, coming to an end.
Creating a “multiverse” that could cut off any character seems like one way Sony could keep Spider-Man for itself when its business with Disney’s Marvel Studios concludes.
Let’s take it back to 2015: Disney/Marvel and Sony have agreed to work together on new, live-action Spider-Man films. The two agreed that Holland’s Spider-Man can appear in five films set inside the “MCU” franchise before Sony gets exclusive rights back to the character.
(A little-known fact about Marvel/Sony’s deal is that Sony gets exclusive box office revenue from Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, while Marvel has the rights to merchandising, ranging from toys to pajamas.)
Now: With the deal starting with Captain America: Civil War in 2016, Spider-Man: Far From Home is that final fifth movie, and it’s out in theaters this July. It remains to be seen what’s next for Spider-Man.
It isn’t a mistake that during this period, Sony has been building its own spider-shaped sandbox. In 2018, the studio released Venom, a live-action film starring Tom Hardy that was totally free from anything to do with Spider-Man, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an animated film that won wide critical acclaim and the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Both films were box office hits that proved the Spider-Man brand is bigger than the actor who plays him and what universe he inhabits.
Production has also begun on Morbius, a gothic superhero film starring Jared Leto that, like Venom, is based on a Spider-Man villain but likely won’t feature Spidey at all. Morbius is also said to inhabit the same canonical universe as Venom.
All this to say, should Sony take Spider-Man back, it has a ready-made continuity for Peter Parker to swing around in.
It is well-established that Venom and Morbius are separate from the MCU. The MCU introducing the multiverse means that “Sony’s Marvel Universe” could exist in parallel, along with Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four (now owned by Disney). And when it’s convenient, the doors to the multiverse can blow wide open or shut completely.
One important figure to consider in all of this is Amy Pascal, the former Sony executive who brokered the deal with Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Until recently, it was up to Pascal to decide the fate of Spider-Man.
“I think about crying,” Pascal told Vanity Fair in December 2018 while thinking about a Marvel/Sony split. “I can only hope for a future where things work out. I’ve known [Kevin Feige] since he was Avi’s very, very quiet assistant, who for many years sat in that room listening to us and being so much smarter than any of us without any of us realizing. I will say that working with Marvel has been one of the highlights of my professional career.”
On May 1, 2019, Pascal signed an exclusive deal with Universal that has squat to do with Marvel (except its maintenance of theme park rights east of the Mississippi). This means Spider-Man’s fate is even more unknown than what happened to him at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
Why It Could Be Bogus
We’ve been saying this for months now, but the mere fact that Mysterio is around means everything you see could be a big fat lie.
In the comics, Quentin Beck is a gifted Hollywood special effects wizard who failed in his attempts to become an actor. Using his knack for illusions, he becomes a super-criminal whose powers specialize in deception.
In many of his comic book appearances, Mysterio’s powers bordered on the extremely supernatural, able to trick Spider-Man into seeing things. He’s even tricked Daredevil, and that guy is legally blind.
So if this multiverse business is fake, it will have to be because of Mysterio. The levels of deception Quentin Beck is playing is unknown. Has he also tricked Nick Fury and Maria Hill? Or are they not even there at all? Are Spidey and Mysterio actually fighting the Elementals, those monstrous beasts seen in the trailer? Or are they fighting an augmented reality illusion crafted by Mysterio?
We will probably get some answers come July 2. But until then, we can only second-guess everything we see. You have to when Mysterio is around.
Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 2.