WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The first full trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home introduced Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck as an interdimensional traveler whose Earth had been destroyed by what he called the “elementals.” Or, as a visibly excited Peter Parker exclaimed, “You’re saying there’s a multiverse!?” It was the nerd word heard around the world, and with the trailer’s introduction of the “multiverse” concept to mainstream Marvel audiences, many — myself included — wondered if this might be the MCU’s next big thing.
Unfortunately, though not at all surprisingly, Beck’s claim about being from an alternate Earth turned out to be yet another illusion. The multiverse, the elementals, Mysterio — none of it was real. It was all a big lie meant to convince Peter, super spies Nick Fury and Maria Hill, and the rest of the world that Beck and his team were the real deal. Though as much as this plot twist fits with Mysterio’s comic book origins, and despite the fact that it works really well in Far From Home, it feels like a missed opportunity for Marvel.
Or, more specifically, the fact that the multiverse Beck spoke of does not exist may end up being one of Marvel Studios’ most puzzling creative decisions.
So, what’s the problem? Why should the fact that Beck lied about the multiverse even be an issue? As I explained in a previous piece about the matter, the multiverse could potentially offer Marvel a way out of the massive corner it has arguably written itself into after 11 years and 23 interconnected movies. Ever since Nick Fury surprised everyone in the Iron Man post-credits scene, every single entry in the MCU has existed in a delicate (and not always entirely consistent) causal relationship with the other films. If the Infinity Stones were explained in one movie, all six of them were sure to turn up in another.