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The MCU is getting so complex, even people at Marvel are getting confused

Published Jul 18th, 2021 3:29PM EDT
Marvel Multiverse Rules
Image: Marvel Studios

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Many people were dying to see Loki because Tom Hiddleston did such an amazing job with the character. Fans can’t get enough of Loki. I was less interested in Loki’s new redemption arc. What I really wanted were the rules of the multiverse. One upcoming Marvel title makes it clear that the multiverse will be a big theme in Phase 4: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But the Doctor Strange sequel follows Loki. And we knew going into Loki that the TVA arrests Loki for deviating from the predestined order of things. We know Marvel’s new multiverse rules now that the Loki finale is behind us. And it turns out the MCU is getting so complicated that Marvel has to hold meetings to figure out its own multiverse rules. Mind you, some spoilers might follow below.

Why the multiverse is so exciting?


serves as an excellent springboard for setting new rules for MCU timelines, time travel, variants, and multiple realities. From episode 1 until the finale, Marvel walks us through various multiverse rules and concepts that will come in handy down the line. The multiverse brings a massive layer of complexity to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. It opens the door to adventures that were not possible before.

It’s not just Multiverse of Madness that will tell a multiverse story. Spider-Man: No Way Home is also a multiverse movie — and that’s the big Spider-Man 3 spoiler that everybody knows. We’ll get to see familiar characters hailing from different realities, and that’s quite exciting.

The multiverse opens the door to meeting similar versions of the same character. Put differently, the multiverse could let Marvel bring back Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) without ruining Avengers: Endgame. The heroes we loved seeing in Avengers flicks might be dead and retired. But the multiverse holds many versions of them.

The same goes for villains, and the Loki finale is the best example of that.

Loki Episode 6
How the TVA experiences the Sacred Timeline breaking loose in Loki finale. Image source: Marve Studios

The Marvel multiverse rules meetings

Keeping tabs on everything that happens in the MCU can’t be easy. It’s not just because of the Marvel multiverse rules. The studio now makes TV shows for Disney+ in addition to all the movies. All those MCU stories will need to adhere to the same rules to fit well into the bigger storyline.

Kevin Feige explained on the D23 Inside Podcast that Marvel has its own people on every project. That ensures the film or TV series delivers what’s expected of it. The hosts asked Feige if Marvel needs a giant whiteboard to keep track of all the actions and revelations. They used “to not need one,” Feige said. He noted that it was “in our collective imaginations at the studio.” He said they thought they might need a whiteboard before the pandemic hit. Then they went in lockdowns soon after that.

But Feige also acknowledged in the interview that the MCU is complicated. Marvel has people keeping separate projects in line when it comes to the big picture. And execs hold interconnected meetings about how the MCU is evolving.

TVA animated infomercial from Loki TV series: Left unchecked, branched timelines can lead to multiverse chaos. Image source: Marvel Studios

The multiverse is like the Nick Fury moment in Iron Man

Feige then said that Marvel had a meeting about the multiverse just before getting on the D23 podcast:

As you indicated before we started recording, the multiverse is coming up in a big way. There’s interconnectivity there that people have already started to see and suss out and I had a meeting this morning with the whole broad Marvel Studios team going through the multiverse and the rules of the multiverse and exactly how to really deliver on the excitement surrounding the multiverse.

The exec compared its rules to the moment in MCU history where Marvel had to “educate a broader public” about Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury:

Because like with so much with Marvel, that is a topic—when we first had Sam Jackson appear in a cameo at the end of Iron Man. I thought it would be a relatively small group of people that were excited by that and that we’d have to then educate a broader public about what that meant and who Nick Fury was. But almost instantly, if you remember, way back to the Summer of 2008, it ignited everyone’s imagination.


In the same way, the multiverse is something we geek out about and we really love all the storytelling potential it brings. But we had to drill out what it was and introducing the concept even briefly in Doctor Strange, and then as a fakeout in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

The D23 Inside Disney recorded the Feige interview before the Loki finale, so the multiverse rules meeting had happened at Marvel long before fans learned what brought madness to the multiverse. For the full Feige interview, the episode is available at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.