The Multiverse Created The MCU’s Best Spoiler Barrier

WARNING: This contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The MCU has never been bigger in terms of the number of characters and releases, but the saga has found its best barrier against spoilers: the concept of the multiverse. While the idea of a live-action version of the Avengers was initially more exciting for those who already knew the Marvel comics, the MCU quickly evolved into a blockbuster franchise that draws the attention of all sorts of demographics. The interconnectivity and the usually solid MCU timeline make it so that audiences always want to keep up with the saga’s latest releases, but it also inspires plenty of rumors, speculation, and search for spoilers.

Superhero films, especially those placed in a franchise as big as the MCU, naturally draw the audiences’ interest for spoilers – mostly because the Marvel and DC Comic books have decades of storylines and characters that viewers wish to see on screen. That had been the case since the first Iron Man film and other previous superhero movies, but the advent of social media and the gigantic impact of the MCU on pop culture made the search and discussion of spoilers something much bigger.

Related: Loki Season 2 Can Tell The Multiverse Story Doctor Strange 2 Failed To

Curiously, unlike the discourse around shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead – to which viewers were keen on avoiding spoilers– recent blockbuster films have sparkled the audiences’ interest in knowing what characters might appear next, or what events from the comics will be adapted. The number of superheroes - active Avengers or not - established through the first decade of the MCU, the several theatrical films and Disney+ Marvel series being released each year, and the arrival of new major characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four had the potential to make Phase 4 the most spoiler-welcoming era of the franchise yet. However, the concept of the multiverse, which started to be front and center in the MCU after shows like Loki and What If…?, opened up the franchise to so many possibilities in terms of crossovers and cameos that distinguishing an actual spoiler from what is pure wishful thinking or speculation has become more challenging.

The months leading up to Spider-Man: No Way Home, for example, saw dozens of rumors surrounding not only the return of Garfield and Maguire as Spider-Man, but also many possible lineups for the film’s “Sinister Six”. While much of what had been spoiled about No Way Home was true, a lot was just speculation, such as Rhino or Mysterio appearing. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness went through a similar phenomenon, in which many Marvel cameos were expected – but no one was sure of which characters were actually going to appear. Tom Cruise playing a variant of Iron Man, Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool, and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man were all rumored to appear in Doctor Strange 2 at some point – and yet neither of those were real spoilers.

Avoiding spoiler-centered discussions about a movie has become an almost impossible mission for the major studios, but the MCU can spin on that by opening its universe to the most unexpected characters and events. After Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire returned in No Way Home, John Krasinski played Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange 2, and Patrick Stewart reprised his role as Professor X despite Logan, showing that almost anything is now possible in the MCU. Therefore, not even those who like to follow spoilers might be able to anticipate all of the surprises the MCU has in store for Phase 4 and beyond.

Next: Is Doctor Strange 2 A Better MCU Multiverse Movie Than No Way Home?

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