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As Marvel extends deeper into The Multiverse Saga, one thing has become more and more clear about the umbrella term used to describe the collective output of Marvel Studios over the past decade-and-a-half: 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' just doesn’t really seem to fit anymore, does it?
After all, the entire point of the Multiverse Saga is that there is more than one universe in play. That’s been the case since Avengers: Endgame, back in 2019, when the Avengers traveled not just through time, but ultimately through space itself by accidentally creating new timelines — new universes — in at least two separate events (Loki escaping capture in the flashback 2012, and then Thanos crashing the timeline from the year 2014). Since then, the Loki TV show, and at least three movies (Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and The Marvels) have visited alternate universes, and the upcoming Deadpool 3 is rumored to see the inhabitants of one universe entirely outside of the MCU crossover with the main setting.
All of this is to ask, should we start using the term Marvel Cinematic Universes, plural, now? Perhaps so; even outside of the Multiverse Saga, things like X-Men ’97, What If…?, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man are set in entirely separate worlds from the mainstream Marvel stories, so it would certainly be a more accurately descriptive term. Or should we use Marvel Cinematic Multiverse, instead? If nothing else, that maintains the branding of the Multiverse Saga as a whole…
The obvious solution would be to let Marvel Studios decide for itself; the problem with that idea is that, judging by the back and forth (and then further forth, and then even further) the studio has publicly demonstrated over the matter of whether or not the Netflix shows count as part of the so-called Sacred Timeline, any answer would stand the risk of being contradicted within a matter of weeks. Maybe it’s best if we just handle this one ourselves.
No matter how many universes there are, we still want to help you keep track of them all with our guide to watching the MCU (or whatever you want to call it) from start to finish.