How Marvel Keeps the Multiverse in Check
Ever since Loki premiered on Disney+, the multiverse has taken front and center stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The idea of multiple timelines was actually introduced in Avengers: Endgame, but it wasn’t until Loki killed He Who Remains, that the multiverse really exploded.
Since that time, alternate timeliness has played major roles in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
A Mixed Bag
While the multiverse has allowed Marvel to do amazing things like bring Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Patrick Stewart to return to their iconic roles, there have also been downsides.
On the flip side, the multiverse has also demanded a lot of Marvel fans. Keeping up with the formally linear story has become harder and harder.
It turns out, that it is not only Marvel fans who sometimes have trouble keeping the multiverse straight but even Marvel’s creators.
The Multiverse’s Rules
In an interview with the D23 Inside Disney podcast, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania producer Stephen Broussard gave an inside look into how Marvel sets their multiverse rules.
In the Summer of 2021, Marvel Studios President had a meeting with the whole Marvel team where they went through the multiverse and its rules. It turns out, producers are not necessarily concerned with being scientifically consistent, as true to the Marvel universe.
“Yeah, it’s interesting. I would say, meetings like that are about trying to be logically consistent within the universe, which I would say is separate from being scientifically consistent. We don’t think anyone should look to these films and think they’re gonna walk away with degrees in quantum physics or other scientific pursuits, but that’s okay. I would hope they would walk away with an interest in pursuing those fields and maybe studying them for real,” Broussard said.
Consistency is Key
While science may not be the top priority of Marvel screenwriters, being constant is of the utmost importance.
“… We kind of look to be logically consistent across the films. Like are we sticking to our own rules? Whether these rules hold scientific water or not, do they feel like they hold water for the universe at large? And the moments where we might break or kinda bend those rules, the tie always goes to: is it emotionally satisfying? I do think you could maybe pick on some of the logic here or there, no particular examples come to mind.”
Driven By Story
In the end, according to Broussard, it’s the story that drives the multiverse. But producers need to make sure the audience is following along.
“But we always are emotion first and if it feels like it’s gonna resonate, if it feels like the story’s gonna connect, we know that the audience is gonna go with us. And all movies have what I call sleight of hand. They’re trying to get you to watch the magic trick, and so the job of the movie is to not pay attention to the rules, or not pay attention to how you’re getting there. And I think all movies are kinda judged as successful or not successful based on sleight of hand and how well they’ve hid the magic trick.”
A Wide Open Future
While the multiverse will probably remain contentious among Marvel fans, it’s good to hear that Marvel has an overarching plan when it comes to the core concept.
With Kang the Conqueror and the Secret Wars on the horizon, it is clear that Marvel is not done exploring parallel timelines yet.
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