Spider-Man Far From Home - Mysterio

Superhero comics have always been a playground for the imagination, more so than any other creative medium. If you have a great idea for a dead character, there’s always a way to bring them back. If you have a great idea that shatters the laws of the natural world, well, grab the hammer and get to work. For better or worse, anything is possible in a universe inhabited by costumed heroes with super powers, and the film adaptations of these stories have only just begun to explore the real (and bonkers) possibilities.

The new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home nods toward a concept that should be familiar to comic book readers, but feels like new ground for cinemas. If what it’s suggesting turns out to be true, the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe just got a whole lot bigger in ways we were not expecting. And it means a crazy new era of possibilities for these characters and their world. Unless it turns out to be, well, something else. But we’ll talk about that too.

Note: We do not have access to spoilers from Spider-Man: Far From Home and if we did, we certainly wouldn’t run them. However, we’re making some educated guesses about a few aspects based on assumptions from released footage and knowledge of comic book history. So we may accidentally stumble across some actual truth about what lies ahead. So consider this a possible spoiler warning.

What We Know

In the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, super-spy Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals a startling piece of information about Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) – he’s from an alternate dimension. Another version of Earth. As he says specifically: “Beck is from Earth, just not ours. The snap tore a hole in our dimension.” To which Peter Parker responds: “Are you saying there’s a multiverse?”

If that made you raise an eyebrow, welcome to the club. Not only has the classic Spider-Man villain been given an apparent makeover as an ally in the new movie (more on that in a moment), his origin seems to have shifted as well.

This isn’t the first time the concept of a “multiverse” has been mentioned in the MCU. The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) first mentioned it in Doctor Strange, asking the title character as his spirt was sent on a tour through the cosmos “Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange?” Of course, that movie was about sorcerers with the ability to enter and explore alternate dimensions. By introducing the concept to the “street-level” heroes of this world, like Spider-Man, the possibilities now extend beyond the mystical characters. And they open up a number of doors.

Spider-Man Far From Home

One Possibility: The MCU Just Got a Whole Lot Bigger (and a Lot More Flexible)

In the realm of superhero comics, the multiverse is an excuse, or opportunity, to essentially do whatever you want as long as it’s interesting. Dead characters return to life. Alternate versions of classic heroes with different powers and personalities can show up. Characters can team up with themselves from another Earth. Heroes can venture into another timeline where vastly different events have created an unrecognizable world. The possibilities are literally limitless.

In the case of Mysterio and Spider-Man: Far From Home, the implication is that Mysterio came to our Earth after the universe-shaking events of Avengers: Endgame re-arranged the very fabric of the universe. If that’s the case, that gives Marvel Studios and its stable of filmmakers a chance to introduce all kind of new concepts and characters for the still-mysterious “phase four.” In addition to one-off characters like Mysterio, this messy merging of universes could pave the way for the introduction of new characters.

Think about it. If more than one alternate universe became overlapped following the Snap and the Un-Snap, maybe the likes of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, previously relegated to another universe (and previously under the umbrella of another film studio until recently), now exist on the core MCU Earth. And if timelines were different on these alternate Earths, this could mean certain core elements of those characters could remain intact. For example, the villainous Magneto is famously a Holocaust survivor in the comics and original X-Men movies, but a movie made after 2019 would have to grapple with his age. A version of the character warped from another dimension could still have that vital origin while existing in the 2020s without being nearly a century old.

Of course, that’s just one possibility, and honestly, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. A multiverse, and the merging of several universes, could allow for not only wild character continuity, but wild adventures through time and space that were limited previously to cosmic characters like Doctor Strange and Thor. This is exciting stuff!

Unless it’s all total bullshit.

Spider-Man Far From Home - Mysterio

Another Possibility: Mysterio is Full of Shit

Here’s the thing: Mysterio’s backstory in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Nick Fury’s apparent faith in it, could be a total lie. This reading of it rests entirely on knowledge of Marvel Comics history, and Mysterio’s comic book origins. While the MCU version of the character seems to be presenting himself as a powerful sorcerer from an alternate dimension who came to our world following a cosmic rewriting of the universe, the character who originated in the pages of classic Spider-Man comics could not be further from that.

Comic book Mysterio is a con man. A sham. A liar. A petty crook. A failed visual effects genius who uses technology and complex illusions to create the image of “real” super powers, when he’s really just some dude in a cool costume with a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He’s the kind of guy who uses literal smoke and mirrors to pull off crimes, creating elaborate, faux-supernatural events so he can rob banks and generally be a petty, arrogant doofus. So while it is entirely possible that the MCU version of Mysterio is a wholesale reinvention of the character, it is also possible that Nick Fury has believed a lie and that the “new ally” of Spider-Man: Far From Home is actually its chief villain, creating a series of cataclysmic events for personal gain and using the events of Infinity War and Endgame as an elaborate background story to explain his existence. This would actually be a delightful take on the character and a perfect fit for Spider-Man, whose core roster of villains tend to be street-level eccentrics and weirdos, not world-altering wizards from alternate Earths.

Still, this is the second time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has mentioned the concept of a multiverse. Even if Mysterio turns out to be a liar (and honestly, if I were a betting man, this is where I’d put my cash), the mere fact that it’s being brought up here as a possibility suggests something larger at play. Still between this and Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios is definitely tipping its hat toward the enormous possibilities of such a concept…and I also bet we’ll see it come to fruition in the years ahead.

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