Mainstream comics were always complicated, especially regarding continuity and universes. The concept of a Multiverse has been part of Marvel Comics for decades, and over the years, writers have started creating stories around that premise. Marvel Comics established that Earth-616 is the main universe, while others are considered “the alternate realities.” Of course, with the emergence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more Multiverse concepts and some universes being more than once mentioned in the movies like Earth-199999, people started to wonder what Earth-199999 is and how it is connected to the MCU.
Earth-199999 is the official universe for Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since the Incredible Hulk movie in 2007 and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, it was established that Marvel Cinematic Universe is a different universe from the comics, specifically, Earth-199999. However, in Spider-Man: Far From Home and Doctor Strange 2, Mysterio and Christine Palmer referred to the universe as Earth-616. The most recent trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse “debunks” that notion when Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) says, “Doctor Strange and that little nerd back on Earth-199999,” indicating that the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home affected more than we expected, confirming that MCU truly is Earth-199999.
We will discuss this topic more by analyzing the concept of Earth-199999, connections to the MCU, and references in Across the Spider-Verse. Moreover, we will mention why Mysterio and Doctor Strange referred to their universe as Earth-616. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end.
What is Earth-199999, and why is it connected to MCU?
Over the years, fans discussed Marvel Cinematic Universe lore a lot. There have been over thirty projects interconnected within the MCU, each referencing popular culture or other characters and events within the universe. Incredible Hulk and, more importantly, Iron Man kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe we know today, which started with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers assembling, leading up to the cosmos and the concept of the Multiverse. Of course, when MCU started, fans wondered what movies and other projects meant to the comics, the source material.
Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios decided that Marvel Cinematic Universe would be a different universe called Earth-199999. At the same time, Marvel Comics became the main universe, specifically Earth-616, which has been established as the main continuity in Marvel Comics for decades. This system made things much easier for the creators and fans to distinguish characters and the continuity of the numerous plotlines. So yes, Earth-199999 was the main universe for Marvel Cinematic Universe for years.
Even the Marvel Studios established that fact by releasing The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe in 2008, which referred to MCU being established in Earth-199999. However, over the numerous MCU projects, we never saw characters at least mentioning the Earth-199999 in any context because there wasn’t the need for it – Avengers and most of the Infinity Saga focused on the superheroes defending Earth.
The arrival of Thanos changed that notion, and when Doctor Strange got introduced to the MCU, the universe started to expand with every future project. The Infinity Saga ended with the Avengers: Endgame, where surviving superheroes go back in time to retrieve Infinity Stones to defeat Thanos, leading to a different version of Loki (Thanos killed the “original” version) to kickstart the concept of the Multiverse in his show. Loki was the catalyst for everything, and suddenly, Kang the Conqueror became the main threat in the MCU and currently poses a danger across the universes.
Of course, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2 movies were the real catalysts of the Multiverse concept, mostly with fiddling with realities, which caused chaos across the universes. These two movies were the main reason why fans got really confused and started questioning the MCU and its continuity.
Recent movies referred to MCU as “Earth-616”
Despite the established universe for the MCU, three movies mentioned some confusing things. Specifically, the superheroes we have known for over a decade are from Earth-616.
The first mention of Earth-616 came in Spider-Man: Far From Home, where Peter Parker fights against Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio, who tells Spider-Man he traveled between universes and ended up on Earth-616.
In the movie, it was later established that Mysterio was a villain and a liar, and most fans never took the information seriously. However, it did spark some rumors on the MCU forums that writers wouldn’t make their characters mention that information out of the blue, which is a fair assessment.
Some fans even suggested that in the comics, some characters from alternate universes always referred to themselves as the main universe, Earth-616, and would be shocked when they discovered they weren’t.
Of course, the fact that Sony decided to put that information in their movie was interesting and mostly insignificant. However, Spider-Man: No Way Home was released, with Peter Parker and Stephen Strange almost breaking their reality.
This continues in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when Stephen Strange visits Earth-838, where the Illuminati capture him and meets an alternate version of his former lover, Christine Palmer. Marvel Studios decides to double down on Sony’s suggestion from Far From Home and, through Christine Palmer, confirms that Doctor Strange is indeed from Earth-616.
This moment complicated many things for the fans who always thought that MCU was established on Earth-199999. Everything we knew before is now completely different.
Thankfully, the recent trailer for the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse animated movie centered around Miles Morales’ journey set the record straight.
Miguel O’Hara in Across the Spider-Verse dismisses Doctor Strange and Mysterio
In the upcoming animated movie trailer, Miles Morales goes with Gwen Stacy (Spider-Woman) to join Spider-Force, a group of Spider-Men across the Multiverse who team up to defeat the enemy. Miles meets the leader of the Spider-Force, an alternate version of Spider-Man from the future, Miguel O’Hara, known in the comics as Spider-Man 2099.
According to Marvel Comics, Miguel O’Hara is a Spider-Man from Earth-928, the movement’s leader. In the trailer, Miguel O’Hara is seen quite upset, and during his frustrated monologue in front of Miles and Gwen, he references Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man 2099 says how annoying “Doctor Strange and that little nerd back on Earth-199999,” are referencing the mess they made in the Spider-Man: No Way Home movie that caused chaos across the Multiverse.
Although some fans think Miguel O’Hara mentioning MCU is just an easter egg, I think the creators wanted this to confirm that MCU is truly established on Earth-199999 and that Dr. Palmer and Mysterio only mentioned Earth-616 for the sake of the reference.
Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite known for referencing many things from the comics, and it seems that MCU will stay in its designated universe.