I’ve talked about how the next Doctor Strange is a horror movie and touched a bit on the Cancerverse and the Marvel Zombies but the introduction of the Multiverse actually means something bigger than weird adventures.
It opens the door to a new realm of possibilities.
The MCU, despite being standalone, has thus far been bound to the 616 (mainstream Marvel) and the Ultimates universe, at least thematically. The Avengers are good, Thanos is bad…yada yada. The status quo is set in stone.
Like it or not, the 616 and Ultimates universes are Marvel’s most influential creations and their reach can be felt far and wide in the MCU.
A black Nick Fury? That’s from the Ultimates. Yeah, did you know the original Nick Fury is white?
The black Nick Fury only appeared in the Ultimates comics, when Marvel reimagined their universe to be more in line with the modern world.
White Nick Fury’s gone from the 616 now, so as not to confuse people. His replacement? A black Nick Fury that looks like the MCU’s.
The Multiverse basically gives Marvel a creative license to not only delve deep into their rich history, it also gives them the freedom to introduce new characters in ways we don’t expect.
An evil Tony Stark might be unthinkable (and impossible) with the MCU’s version of Stark but now, with the Multiverse open, Marvel is free to bring back the character BUT not as how anybody expects.
Imagine if you will, a Fantastic Four movie with Doctor Doom as the villain.
At the end, the FF take off Doom’s mask and find out that it’s actually Tony Stark. Not the MCU’s Tony, but Tony from an alternate reality that was adopted into a Latverian family after the deaths of his parents.
WHAM! That’s something impossible with the past MCU, but more than plausible with the Multiverse open.
No longer does Marvel need to contend with adaptations of its comic events like Civil War or the Infinity Saga, now the MCU actually has a chance to blaze its own route with a newly found creative freedom.
If Marvel wants to succeed in the next phase, it’ll have to leverage this ability to surprise and subvert expectations to continue the momentum after Endgame.
That’s why, out of all the movies in Phase 4, it’s the Doctor Strange sequel that fills me with anticipation the most. Not Jane Foster as Thor (introduce War Thor and we’ll talk) or the introduction of Shang Chi and the Eternals.
Let’s just hope that Marvel makes the most out of the opening they’ve created and make Phase 5 and beyond even more memorable than the awesome Phases 1 – 3.