The Director of Marvel's Next Big Movie Reveals a "Stressful" Canon Change

How does Marvel’s multiverse actually work?

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Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in The Marvels
Marvel Studios

Nia DaCosta might be the most outspoken director within the Marvel Studios roster. The director is self-proclaimed “Marvel trash”; she was invested in Marvel’s interconnected empire long before its cinematic universe even began. “I grew up with the comics,” DaCosta told Inverse in 2021. “I will go see all the movies. Even if it’s bad, I’m like, ‘Well, there are some good things about this.’”

Even now, as the director of Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels, DaCosta remains loyal to the comics. She even spoke to Total Film about her efforts to integrate parts of the comics into the upcoming film. Unfortunately though, not everything can translate seamlessly to the MCU. There are so many factors to consider where an adaptation is concerned — and with so many filmmakers working within this shared universe, there’s bound to be some dissent here and there.

One of Marvel’s most recent efforts, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has been a real target for discourse since its release in 2022. It was the film that dove headfirst into Marvel’s multiverse, and for the most part, it succeeded in establishing the MCU’s latest saga. But DaCosta does take issue with one element from Multiverse of Madness: the issue of incursions, and how they diverge from Marvel comics.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced the multiverse in earnest — but not all of its ideas were well received by fans.

Marvel Studios

So ... what exactly are incursions again? The phenomenon is one that Multiverse of Madness only briefly teased, but it’s something that will likely come up again as Marvel treks deeper into its Multiverse Saga. Incursions, as described by Earth-838’s Reed Richards (John Krasinski), are caused by the erosion of multiversal boundaries. Two universes collide, resulting in the destruction of one or both. They can be triggered by anything that strays from the established canon, like when a Doctor Strange variant uses the Darkhold to defeat Thanos.

Our own version of Strange (who hails from Earth-616) also creates an incursion ... somehow. Multiverse saved the finer details for a future Marvel project, and it’s safe to assume that incursions will play a big role leading up to Avengers: Secret Wars. But as it stands, not everyone is a fan of how MCU is introducing the concept, DaCosta in particular. According to Total Film, she and The Marvels star Iman Vellani were “bristling” about changes to the lore on the set of their new film.

Multiverse of Madness’ approach to incursions “was always very stressful” to the director, possibly because of the way it diverges from the comics. In Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers, incursions are created by a being called Molecule Man. As his name suggests, he’s able to control the molecules in every living thing. He’s also what’s known as a singularity, a being that manifests in every existing universe. When he dies, the reality he occupies is destroyed, and energy beings called the Beyonders use this to trigger incursions across the multiverse.

The absence of Molecule Man in the MCU may end up hurting their Multiverse Saga.

Marvel Comics

Molecule Man is an insanely interesting character, but he’s also near-impossible to adapt on the big screen. That could explain why Marvel chose to take him out of the equation where incursions are concerned, but the concept is still one of the more disorganized parts of the MCU. For all their efforts to simplify it, the inner workings of the multiverse still feel half-baked ... and yes, a little stressful.

DaCosta is echoing the sentiments that so many fans have already pointed out. She may not have to worry about incursion continuity with The Marvels, but it’s still a glaring problem in the MCU, one that someone will have to address. The solution doesn’t need to be as complex as Molecule Man, but Marvel still needs to explain how incursions work — and sooner rather than later.

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