Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home. Read at your own risk.
So, is there a multiverse or not?
Early trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home were quite exciting for fans of last year’s animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, because they seemed to validate that film’s introduction of a multiverse filled with different Spider-people. Sure, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) was a new character on the MCU stage, but if all-knowing spymaster Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was talking about a multiverse, then surely it must exist! The notion raised all kinds of fun crossover possibilities. Maybe one day, through some creative Roger Rabbit-like mix of live action and animation, we could even see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker come face to face with Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales, right?
Or… not. As anyone who’s seen Far From Home knows, everyone in the movie is lying about everything all the time. The multiverse is just a fake origin story cooked up by Mysterio to cover for the fact that he’s not a magical superhero; he’s actually a disgruntled former Stark employee who knows his way around high-tech illusion projectors. And — this is the big one — Jackson isn’t even playing Nick Fury for most of the movie. He’s playing Talos, the shapeshifting Skrull (portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn in his natural alien form), who is pretending to be the S.H.I.E.L.D. director while the real Fury rests on a Skrull space station for as-yet-unknown reasons. So take literally everything either of those characters says in this movie with several grains of salt! They’re not even telling the truth about who they are.
Some eagle-eyed comics readers probably saw this fake-out coming, if not the exact details (I mean, who could’ve predicted the Skrulls would return?). For one thing, Mysterio is a well-known con artist whose supervillainy has always been the result of smoke-and-mirrors trickery rather than actual powers. It seemed unlikely that you would have to cross universes in order to find such a person. On top of that, Mysterio referred to the MCU as Earth-616. That sounds right at first, because Earth-616 is the classic multiversal designation of the Marvel comics universe (originally invented, like so many things in modern comics, by writer Alan Moore). But when you think about it a little longer, that’s actually wrong, because the MCU would obviously be a whole different universe than Marvel comics. Several things are different between those two continuities!
Back in the early 2000s, when Marvel started its Ultimate imprint, separate from the classic continuity, those comics got their own designation: Earth-1610. The MCU has taken inspiration both from the 616 universe and the 1610 universe, but as its own separate continuity, it would need its own number. Just because Mysterio was lying doesn’t mean the multiverse is false, but until we get a unique designation for the MCU (or the Spider-Verse worlds, for that matter), don’t get your hopes up for a meeting between Peter and Miles.
Then again, if Holland’s rumored Spider-Verse cameo had actually materialized, this would be an easier claim to make. The fact that Venom ended with a post-credits scene teasing Spider-Verse seemed to suggest that Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock was also part of the same greater multiverse as Spider-Man Noir. Even without directly referencing Spider-Ham, a confirmation that the MCU was part of a greater multiverse would open the possibility that it could eventually cross over with those other films. But for now, it seems like Sony’s solo Spider-movies will likely remain separate from the studio’s MCU collaborations.