Breaking Down the MCU’s Multiverse – Part Two: Same Character, Same Actor, Different Universes.

Fair warning: this series will contain spoilers for pretty much everything in the MCU, but specifically for the latest episode of HawkeyeSpider-Man: No Way Home, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

In part one of this series (now a multi-part series instead of a two-parter) we discussed the concept of the multiverse and how it came to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this next part, we are going to start defining some categories of characters and how they are used in the multiverse to ultimately try to determine how the MCU might be using the multiverse moving forward.

J. Jonah Jameson

  • Portrayed by: J.K. Simmons
  • First multiversal appearance: Spider-Man (2002)
  • First MCU appearance: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
  • Latest MCU appearance: Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

At the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and MJ (Zendaya) are swinging around New York City when they see a broadcast that outs Peter as Spider-Man to the entire world. Though most of the shock of that broadcast was mostly related to the fact that the world then knew who Spider-Man was, a good portion of the shock was attributed to who was giving the announcement: none other than J. Jonah Jameson played by J.K. Simmons, reprising his role from a non-MCU film.

This was a huge deal at the time, as it was the first time an actor from a non-MCU film reprised a role in an MCU movie. We had no idea what that meant moving forward, but at the time I remembered thinking that maybe it was a similar thing that was done in the most recent James Bond films, where they kept Dame Judy Dench as M from the Pierce Brosnan films simply because she worked so well as the character.

Then story details came out for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I thought that maybe this was the exact same J. Jonah Jameson from the Sam Raimi films, and he just hopped over to the MCU. We now know that this can’t be the case, because the events of Far From Home, where we are first introduced to J. Jonah Jameson, take place before cracks in the multiverse started to appear thanks to the events of Loki, What If…?, and No Way Home.

This means that this version of J. Jonah Jameson is a variant of the one from the Sam Raimi trilogy of films, and gives us our first category of multiversal characters: Same character, same actor, different universes.

Which makes sense if you think about it. The whole premise of the multiverse is that there are infinite universes that exist, with infinite versions of each person in the universe. We see in Loki that some of those variants (versions of the same character from different universes) differ by only small details from the version we know (think President Loki, portrayed by Tom Hiddleston); whereas other variants differ by quite a bit (think Alligator Loki, portrayed by an alligator).

Another example of this category of character is Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). The internet went crazy when it was revealed that the mastermind behind the events of the excellent Hawkeye series was none other than Wilson Fisk. We thought this was the first official confirmation that the Netflix side of the MCU was actually part of the MCU; previously it was only tangentially connected with slight references to the Battle of New York and a couple of name drops of Avengers.

However, there is no way the Kingpin we saw in the season one finale of Hawkeye was the same version that we saw in three seasons of Daredevil on Netflix. There were similarities, to be sure, but this version was ridiculously stronger, much more cartoony in his delivery, and outrageously dressed. The Wilson Fisk of Daredevil wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a white suit, red Hawaiian shirt, white hat, and a cane, yet that’s exactly what he wore in Hawkeye. Not to mention the fact that though Maya (Alaqua Cox) was so important to Kingpin in Hawkeye, she, nor the Tracksuit Mafia, were never once mentioned in Daredevil.

This means one thing: the Kingpin from Hawkeye was a variant of the Kingpin from Daredevil; which also means the events of the Daredevil TV show take place in a different, non-MCU universe.

So, what does this mean for the MCU? It means that they can cherry-pick things that worked from non-MCU films, namely actors, and incorporate them into the MCU proper, with none of the baggage carried over from their non-MCU appearances. Does this mean that their stories thus far have been pointless? Not at all, it just gives the MCU the chance to tell new stories with fan-favorite characters and actors without having to buckle under the weight of even more continuity.

There are other characters that fall into this category, including:

  • Matthew Murdoch/Daredevil (Charlie Cox)
  • Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy)
  • Several Loki variants (Tom Hiddleston)
  • Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg)

Next time we will take a look at variants of the same character who are played by different actors.

Make sure to follow Boss Rush on Twitter so that you can see when we post part two of this look into the MCU multiverse.

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

Featured Image Source: Marvel

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