The Introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse - What it Means for Phase 4 and Beyond

Minor spoilers for Avengers: Endgame up ahead. If you're still avoiding spoilers, proceed with caution. Serving as the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, Avengers: Endgame introduced several new things to the on-screen universe. In addition to more Quantum Realm antics, the latest Avengers movie introduced time travel to the MCU, opening up all kinds of potential story arcs in the future — or the past, for that matter.

One thing that continues to stand out in regards to time travel is when Professor Hulk (Bruce Banner) traveled to 2012 New York during in the midst of the Chitauri invasion. When he visits the Sanctum Sanctorum, it's being defended by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), complete with the Eye of Agamatto dangling from her neck. After a tense discussion between the two, the Sorcerer Supreme explains to Banner's Astral projection the potential existence of a multiverse. But what does it mean for the future of the MCU?

Quite frankly, a multiverse is something Marvel Studios has been teasing for the past few years. With the introduction of Doctor Strange in 2016, we were introduced to other planes of existence, something that was then amplified when the Ant-Man franchise began focusing on the Quantum Realm and its seemingly endless infinite possibilities.

When you introduce a multiverse, it allows Marvel Studios to go full-on comic book, introducing live-action versions of the Ultimate Universe and other realities from the Marvel comics mythos. With alternate realities, it'd allow Marvel Studios to cast new actors in roles we've seen before — such as Iron Man or Captain America — while allowing them to use it as a testing ground to develop talent both on and off screen.

It'd also give the studio new freedom over continuity. With the introduction of a multiverse, it'd let Marvel Studios craft entirely new universes on platforms such as Disney+ and Hulu, much like what Netflix did with its Defendersverse of shows. While technically part of the overall MCU, the creators behind the shows would get new liberties with their stories than they might not get with a continuity that's been super tight with the regular MCU as it's been.

A multiverse would also give the studio reason to use some pretty massive, dimension-hopping characters such as Kang the Conqueror, the Living Tribunal, or Master Order and Lord Chaos. And, without a doubt, it'd give Marvel the opportunity to spend the next ten years to build up to a Secret Wars-level event that crashes everything together in a massive movie that could put Endgame to shame.

Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters.

Do you think we'll eventually get a Secret Wars event film? Do you think this could lead to the on-screen Ultimate Universe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by hitting me up on Twitter at @AdamBarnhardt!


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