Diehard fans of incredibly specific continuity designations across the internet—and even diehard fan/actual Marvel Cinematic Universe star Iman Vellani—have repeatedly pushed back on Marvel Studios’ attempts to claim Earth-616 for itself. “I have this argument with Kevin [Feige] every time I meet him in person. It’s not all 616, the MCU is definitely 199999,” Vellani railed to Deadline in an interview last year to mark the launch of Ms. Marvel.
“You can’t take it from the Marvel comics canon, that was the main comics canon where all the main events took place. In that canon, Kamala is an inhuman, there’s Lockjaw, House of M took place with X-Men—where’s all that with MCU if it’s 616? I rest my case,” the actress continued. I really hope no one comped her a copy of An Official Timeline, for her own sake.
While for the most part none of this really matters, it’s interesting to see the push and pull of what Marvel Studios wants its version of these stories to be seen as: Earth-616 isn’t just a number or an Easter egg at this point, it is a seal of official, primary status. To be declared 616 is to be Marvel, comics or cinematic universes be damned. And perhaps to many fans across the world at this point, the movies might as well be that primary reality: there are infinitely more people out there watching MCU shows and movies than there are regularly reading the comic books that provide their source material. Even as that source material has waxed and waned on how it integrates elements from the MCU into its own ever-flexible canon, it would seem the MCU staking its claim on the Marvel that “matters” continues to be as inevitable as Thanos itself.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.