The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a many-splendored thing, but there’s one big comic book concept it has yet to breach: the idea that there are other parallel universes out there in which the history of the Marvel Universe is different.
Or, as Peter Parker says in Monday morning’s new (Endgame spoiler-filled) trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, “You’re saying there’s a multiverse?”
And that’s exactly what the tease at the new movie seems to be saying. Or ... is it?
Brave new world(s)
The new trailer gives us a healthier helping of the plot of Far From Home, beyond the teens-have-European-adventures vibe we’ve seen in earlier ones. In addition to playing with the fallout from Avengers: Endgame, Peter will be called into action by Nick Fury and Agent Maria Hill, who are working with yet another guy in a costume: Quentin Beck, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
“We could have used someone like you on my world,” Beck says as he shakes Peter’s hand.
“Beck is from Earth,” Fury explains, “just not ours. The Snap tore a hole in our dimension.”
If the Far From Home trailer is to be believed, Beck is a hero from that other Earth, asking for Peter’s help in defeating a series of elemental monsters and doling out sage advice on how to be a superhero. A classic multiverse story!
Except for one thing: In the comics, Quentin Beck is a lying liar who lies.
There’s no mystery about Mysterio
In the comics, Beck is also known as Mysterio, one of Spider-Man’s earliest and most notorious foes. And what he’s most famous for is fooling lots of very powerful people with very powerful illusions. His battery of tricks can range from simply messing with Spider-Man’s spider-sense so he becomes less effective at fighting, to making Wolverine believe that every person in the X-Mansion is a supervillain so that he murders every last one of them — the inciting incident of the Old Man Logan timeline.
In other words, it would be a real breach of established character if Mysterio were to be an upstanding superhero from another dimension.
On the other hand ...
Well, first, Nick Fury is really smart. Not getting fooled by guys who show up claiming to be from other dimensions seems well within his established character. Maybe he really is from another Earth. He could still be lying about being a hero, for example, to keep his Mysterio cred.
But even more than that, it’s hard to ignore how convenient the concept of a multiverse is for Sony Pictures. Sony’s main Spider-Man franchise is, by way of a licensing agreement that essentially rescued the entire thing from box office purgatory, a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the rest of the studio’s new (and also quite successful) Spider-Man-based movies, like Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, are not.
Sony is in the process of spinning up a whole web of even more Spider-Man-related films that are not in the same universe as its main Spider-Man franchise. Venom is definitely getting a sequel, Jared Leto is definitely going to star in a movie about Morbius the Living Vampire, and writers are hard at work on films featuring Kraven the Hunter, Silk, Jackpot, Nightwatch, Silver Sable and the Black Cat. And that’s leaving out the Spider-Verse sequels and spinoffs.
In this time of expanded cinematic universes, being able to say that all these films existed in the same universe or multiverse would allow for teasing or planning a crossover, which of course would drive the butts of fans of one movie into the seats of theaters for another.
So is Quentin Beck really from a parallel Earth? We’ll have to put our butts in a Spider-Man: Far From Home theater to find out.