Across the Spider-Verse Trailer Sparks Marvel Lore Debate About Earth 616

If Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Dubbed the main MCU setting “Earth-616,” this throwaway reference was like nails on a blackboard to Marvel folks. Now the new trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has fought back.

Thanks to the bewildering array of alternate universes in the Marvel canon, the comics traditionally give each universe a serial number, with Earth-616 being the primary comics timeline. So far, so good.

The authors of Doctor Strange 2 probably thought it made sense to use the same number in the MCU as a fun little easter egg for fans. what she not This is because many Marvel fans have strong feelings about the canonical differences between Earth-616 and the MCU, whose main heroes often have different personalities, backstories, and relationships. (Also, the X-Men don’t exist in the MCU.)

This inside baseball complaint is controversial enough that Kamala Khan actress (and vocal Marvel nerd) Iman Vellani brought it up Mrs Miracle Premiered last year and said she disagreed with Kevin Feige’s Earth-616 label because the main MCU setting was supposed to be Earth-199999:

While the MCU has now branched into multiple timelines, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (belongs to a separate franchise) remains the gold standard for multiverse storytelling. So it’s no surprise to see the sequel Across the Spider-Verse join this debate.

In the new trailer, Miles Morales meets other Spider-Man variants from other universes, including new Spidey team leader Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac). When they first meet, Miguel makes a snide remark, clearly referring to Tom Holland’s MCU Spider-Man: “Don’t even get me started on Doctor Strange and the little nerd back on Earth-199999.”

Depending on your take on the Earth-616/MCU debate, this is either an insufferable thing to worry about, or a satisfying confrontation with Kevin Feige’s continued insistence that these timelines are one and the same. It also makes sense that Spidey audiences would be particularly interested, as there’s a contingent of Spider-Man comic book fans who hate the MCU interpretation of Peter Parker.

In addition to the Peter Parker reboot hijacking elements of Miles Morales’ comic book origins (i.e. his school and best friend), the MCU erases Peter’s working-class background and associated socio-political subtext. Some fans also object to the MCU’s emphasis on Tony Stark as Peter’s idol and mentor, including the fact that he arms Peter with an Iron Man-esque super suit. So far, the MCU hasn’t allowed Peter to grow up, positioning him as a naïve teenager who craves guidance from a series of father figures. It’s a different role than Peter’s typical characterization in the comics, where he tends to be more confident and independent.

So while Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is still hugely popular with mainstream viewers, the distinction between Earth-616 and Earth-199999 is important to many Spidey comics fans. And Across the Spider-Verse made his position very clear.


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*Initial publication: April 5, 2023 at 11:20 am CDT

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in science fiction films and superheroes, she also appears as a film and television critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she is the co-host of the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw Across the Spider-Verse Trailer Sparks Marvel Lore Debate About Earth 616

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