(Warning: spoilers for Thor: The Dark World and potentially other parts of the MCU lie below. But seriously, if you haven't seen that film, go watch it now.)
It's a known fact that the MCU is currently the biggest connected universe in film at the minute. Y'see, without rivals such as DC competing (as of yet), its broad reach into each and every one of its cinematic installments goes pretty much unchallenged. Way to go, Mr Feige.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise, in that case, that they may be planning to take their already colossal universe to the next level - and introduce the popular Sci-Fi theory that is "The Multiverse".
The idea of the multiverse exists strongly in Marvel Comics, and there are a variety of different 'dimensions' in which things are always slightly different to the next universe. For instance, remember that last time you tried to use telekinesis to magically move the TV remote into your hand and it didn't work? In the multiverse there's an alternate reality in which the controller did magically drift into your hand. Cool, huh?
Well, anyhow, now that you understand the basic premise, I'm gonna ask you all to cast your minds back to Thor's latest solo film, Thor: The Dark World. In it, we see all kinds of awesomeness (mostly involving a hammer), and a slightly deranged Dr Erik Selvig, who's not-so-slowly recovering from his possession in the first Avengers film.
Anyhow, he ends up - after a series of mistakes - giving a lecture about the nine realms that appear in Thor's second film to a bunch of senior citizens, of which Stan Lee is one. Aside from the comedy of the scene, what's written on the black board behind Eric has some real comic significance, which, luckily for you, I'm about to walk you through.
So, first of all, here's that blackboard I was telling you about:
Confusing stuff, right? Well, fortunately, Marvel has left some straight English on the wall here - and it's that straight English that's important.
First of all, look up and left from Mr. Selvig's head slightly. Underlined twice are the words "616 Universe". In the comics, the 616 Universe is the "normal" universe, that all our loved superheroes live in, and it's also the one we're seeing brought to the big screen. Just a little easter egg there.
Secondly, look to the right of Erik's head and you'll spot the words: "The Fault" and "The Crossroads". The Crossroads are an interdimensional junction expected to come into play in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, so you'll find out all about that soon enough. What's even more interesting, however, is the mention of The Fault. Mystery...
In the comics, the good ol' Guardians of the Galaxy run into a tear in space. In their line of work, that's all pretty normal. That is, until they discover that this peculiar tear leads to an alternate universe named "The Cancerverse", a reality in which death simply doesn't exist, and everyone inside it has therefore gone crazy. I mean, the Hulk in that world has horns. No, for real.
And it's not only that that's been referenced in film, no, not at all. In the picture below you can see the blackboard area where the doctor would otherwise be standing, and you can see that there is written "nexus of all reality!"
The nexus of all reality really is not as cool as it sounds. In fact, it's just a muggy swamp somewhere in Florida. However, that very swamp is the location in which all possible universes coincide, and it is guarded heavily by a powerful creature known as the Man-Thing.
To further back up the cinematic importance of this nexus, the Man-Thing has already been referenced in Agents of Shield, during the twentieth episode of season one. It is made known that shield are keeping an eye on the creature.
What's more, when asked about the possibility of introducing alternate universes into the MCU, Kevin Feige said this:
Well, there's a lot of opportunity[...] for that kind of thing to happen. We obviously have a few cosmic movies coming up (Doctor Strange, GOTG 2, Thor 3) and it sure would be fun to explore.
So there we have it. What do you guys think? Are we set to see the MCU have some alternate realities appear? Take the poll, or leave your thoughts in the comments! Until next time guys :)