- The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has finally been officially designated as Earth-616, as stated in the Marvel Studios timeline guidebook.
- Previous references and Easter eggs hinted at the MCU being Earth-616, including a mention by Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
- The MCU was initially labeled as Earth-19999 in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z, but the recent timeline confirms Earth-616 as the official designation.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s numerical universe designation has lacked consistency throughout the franchise, but now the “Earth-616” vs “Earth-19999” debate finally has an official answer. In the Marvel Universe – encompassing all Marvel media, including movies, comics, video games, TV shows, and more – an “Earth-[number]” system has been used to keep the expansive multiverse in order. For example, the beloved X-Men: The Animated Series takes place on Earth-92131 in the Marvel Multiverse, the main Marvel Comics continuity is Earth-616, and Earth-96283 is home to the Raimi/Maguire Spider-Man trilogy.
As such, it seems like picking a number would be easy enough for the MCU. After all, now that the franchise has featured cameos from other established Earths, the MCU’s movie timeline is clearly part of the wider Marvel media multiverse. However, landing on a specific Earth designation has proven anything but easy as the MCU has repeatedly bounced around being two different numbers. Now, an official answer is finally at hand – though it may cause more confusion than it removes.
The MCU Is Officially Earth-616
The awkwardly named Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline is finally out, and it definitively answers several questions about MCU canon. Among them is the official name for which Earth the MCU takes place in. Earth-616 is used repeatedly throughout the book, but it’s first and most clearly brought up by Miss Minutes’ introduction to open the book, which clearly claims, “I’m Miss Minutes, and welcome to the guidebook on the beings and events that make up the universe known as 616, also known as the Sacred Timeline.”
Prior Evidence For The MCU Being Earth-616
The first major reference to the multiverse in the MCU came in Doctor Strange when the Ancient One questioned Strange’s place in the grand scheme of multiple realities. Since then, and for many, sooner, the question of how the MCU fits in with the hundreds of previously established universes across Marvel’s media empire has been an appropriate one. One Easter egg and two direct mentions seemingly confirmed that the MCU is Earth-616, but those claims we far from fool-proof.
First, way back in the MCU Phase 1, Erik Selvig dropped the first Earth-616 tease. As he manically explains some visions and theories of the universe, “616 Universe” is written and underlined on his chalkboard. It was far from a direct claim about the MCU’s status in the multiverse, but it was followed up by Quentin Beck, AKA Mysterio, in Spider-Man: Far From Home. The villain, still pretending to be a hero, explains that he came from a destroyed reality and that the MCU’s universe is Earth 616. While much more direct, Mysterio’s multiverse story is a complete fabrication, so his universe designation has no actual merit.
The most solid statement came in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where the inhabitants of Earth-838 specifically call Stange’s home reality Earth-616. This claim seems harder to argue with, but even it leaves holes. While Earth-838 may call the MCU Earth-616, it’s not explained how they would know what it’s called in the grand scheme of the multiverse. It’s equally possible that it’s their name for the MCU Sacred Timeline but not its official one.
Why The MCU Has Also Been Called Earth-19999
The MCU started with one of its best movies, Iron Man, in 2008, and an official guide of the Marvel Universe was released the same year. Titled Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Vol. 5 it designated the MCU as Earth-19999 before the movies could claim otherwise. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse follows a similar suit and refers to the MCU as Earth-199999. That’s one extra “9,” but it’s too close not to just be a misspeak by Spider-Man 2099. It makes sense, as the movies clearly aren’t the same as the universe of Marvel Comics.
However, given that the most recent official MCU timeline very clearly states that the franchise is Earth-616, it seems a definitive answer has been given. It’s unclear why or how both the Marvel Comics universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe share the same Earth designation, but perhaps a reason for the numbers can be fleshed out in future multiverse-centric projects. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not, the debate over Earth-616 or Earth-19999 for the MCU is finally over.