MCU Multiverse, the end of “Everything everywhere at the same time” explained
Multiverses are so hot right now.
The concept of multiple – possibly infinite – alternate realities running parallel to our own is decades old; physicist Hugh Everett III is widely credited with developing the theory at Princeton in the 1950s. The multiverse has appeared in science fiction and comic books since then, and is most often used in travel stories in time like “Back to the Future”, where a timeline has been split or changed and needs to be fixed.
But the mind-boggling metaphysics of parallel intersecting and mutually influencing timelines has largely kept the idea on the fringes of mainstream popular culture.
Then, around 2016, the idea that we’re “living in the worst timeline” started to take a rather frightening hold on social media, accelerating in 2020 with the COVID pandemic. In this powerful environment, Hollywood has completely embraced the multiverse. This has been especially true for comic book adaptations championed by Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony, as each has reached some sort of critical mass in the face of the astronomical success of the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have simply been so many Marvel and DC movies over the past 40 years that the only way to tie them all together and be fresh while doing it is to shout “Multiverse!” And hope for the best.
OK, yes, it’s a bit more – or way more – complicated than that. But this complication can also be exciting, as anyone who’s seen the indie adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once” starring Michelle Yeoh can attest.
Still, keeping track of how all of these multiverses are supposed to work can be overwhelming – so we’ve done it for you! Below, you’ll find a handy guide to all of the greatest multiverses currently playing out in film and TV, and how to make sense of them.