Everybody has heard about Schrödinger’s cat. And for the most part, people manage to picture the concept really well. To actually understand it is to take it a step too far, however. #QuantumPhysicsAreHard But that is not the point of this short essay – if I may be allowed to call it so. All you need to know is that the cat, as long as it remains in the box and no one checks inside, is simultaneously alive and dead. It’s that simple. Or is it? Yes. Yes, it is. At least for us, right now. You may be wondering where I am going with this, but relatively to the title chosen to crown this post, the point I am trying to make should begin to get more clear. If it does not, keep on reading, I swear it will neither be (too) long nor (too) complicated.
— WARNING! potential marvel related spoilers ahead, for those of you who have not been alive these past few years WARNING! —
Captain America: Civil War saw a brief apparition from Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-man, as a part of the main canon of the MCU back in 2016. Then, about a year later, Spider-Man: Homecoming reintroduced the character as an integral part of the MCU, after more than a decade in the hands of Sony (for what were good, very good, and then less good years. And then better ones to be honest). So the beloved character was back and in good shape and his own universe was coming back to life with him, in the form of movie follow-ups to that apparition in the MCU, in the form of a great animated movie, and even a very good video-game. And, as I saw it unfold before me, as I lived this sort of small renaissance for the character, I must admit I really enjoyed it.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-man is the first superhero live-action movie I ever saw, before Batman, Superman or Daredevil. I loved the 90s TV show (I’m too young to have known any of the previous ones) and I became enamored with Spider-man 2’s Gamecube adaptation with its very wide map, its great slinging physics making it so satisfying to move around, and some of my now favorite characters in that universe: Black Cat, with whom I fell in love (her black suit, silver white hair and provocative charm); and Mysterio, who will always, despite being a villain, hold a dear place in my heart, along side The Phantom Menace’s Qui-Gon Jinn, as one of the coolest characters from my childhood (the dude has a ridiculous but oh so cool B-movie villain type suit, and holographic powers! What can I say, magic is magical).
Now, this bit of backstory wasn’t necessary per se, but I felt like I had to give it to you, dear reader, so that you would better understand my point of view.
So, as I was saying, Spider-man sort of came back into the world’s good grace over the last few years. And, when Avengers: Infinity War rolled in, and he died *wink wink* at the end, everyone was sad. Me included. I did not shed a tear for poor Peter – I don’t cry a lot, the last time a tear rolled on my cheek was when I re-watched the episode where Marschall’s dad died in HIMYM, and I hadn’t cried in years before that – but I did feel the emotion of the scene, and it was good. The movie was surprising, in many ways, not all great, but overall it was a very pleasant experience. And having that feeling of doom at the end, even if for only a moment, as we all know they are going to make things better in Endgame, was indeed satisfying.
But Spider-man died. Poof! He bit the dust. Or, actually, the dust bit him. And that is where I want to go, with this. As of Infinity War, Peter Parker is dead. And having that information, along with the names of others who have passed (King T’challa and Nick Fury, among others), was perplexing. I didn’t quite believe they would keep him dead, they couldn’t all be definitely dead, they had to come back somehow. To be honest, I feared this knowledge would ruin the movie to come, but, in retrospect, it didn’t. The how they would come back, and the who would actually come back (as I have a feeling some might not) or, at least, who would take their place in death, were questions that kept me interested and entertained over the months. It was very cool to read and discuss theories, to learn how that story-line had gone down in the comics, what was different, what seemed to be hinted in the progression of the movies, in the teasers, the trailers, etc.
Then they announced Spider-man: Far From Home. And they said it would be direct sequel. And that frustrated me. I would like to say it frustrated me real bad, but eh, I must be getting old and disinterested in everything because it was more like a mild inconvenience. But still an inconvenience compared to Infinity war. Now we knew. Spider-man was going to be alright. It didn’t ruin Endgame, but it did take away some of the suspense, at least for me. They also announced Mysterio would be in it, which I found cool – as I really like the character – and then, later, that Jake Gyllenhaal was cast for the role. It managed to hype me up, but not as much as I was for Endgame (and I wasn’t that hyped for that one either at the time).
But then, Venom came out and I went to see it. Now, I had heard about the project and that it wouldn’t really be connected to the MCU, just a stand alone movie [one to try to jump-start a franchise, but a standalone none the less], still, I had hopes. Sony and Marvel (Disney) had managed to find a common ground with Homecoming, why not there too? Sadly, it was not to be. Venom is alone – and perhaps it did disserve the movie – and it seemed to be set to remain that way. Seemed.
Now, don’t take my word for granted, this is just a wild idea, a theory, one in which I don’t even believe wholeheartedly, but which I find interesting enough to share.
I say it seemed, because, as you may – and by now, should – know, there were two scenes during and after the credits of Venom. The first one, and least interesting here, introducing Carnage, seemingly out of nowhere. To this day I still don’t know how I feel about that – both about the character being there and its introduction, and about Harrelson as the actor behind it. The second, the more interesting one here, this one :
A teaser of the then upcoming Spider-verse movie – a very good one by the way, go see it, it is absolutely worth it! I had heard about the project and I was hyped about it, I just never expected to see that footage after Venom.
It did not change my life, but it did make me think. What if…? Then I saw the Spider-verse movie and it was… great. Really great. But, to stay focused on the point I am trying to make, it put in place the notion of alternate universes (showing a number of them to us through the different characters) and it was a collaboration between Marvel and Sony, meaning they were perhaps, just maybe, making a literal middle ground between the MCU and Venom’s universe with this one. And that was what made me think even more. What if they had done it, the madlads? What if, this simple caption at the beginning of the scene at the very end of the credits of Venom was supposed to mean a lot more than it did? Some time passed, and I don’t remember if I saw parts of the teasers/trailers for Far From Home before or after Into the Spider-verse, but after becoming privy to that information and mulling it over, the hype sort of hit me, and the full extent of the theory – which I spent far too long to build up and which I am going to expose right now – came to me.
Now, one final thing before I explain it. What motivated to write this [I realize it now] huge-ass thing is this video, from Austin Mcconnell, where he exposes a theory of his in which he says the Far From Home movie is not real and is simply some misleading promotion stuff designed to make us think Endgame is going to happen another way than it actually is… Personally, I don’t really believe that, although after part of the trailer footage from Infinity War (with Hulk appearing in it, for example) not being featured in the movie at all, one can wonder.
I don’t really feel this is the case though. It might be, but I don’t think so. My heart tells me Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is really going to happen. It has to happen. Please. I want Mysterio… Anyway, I don’t think this theory is right, but mine is strangely sort of related to it. So, without further ado, here is the madness I propose:
What if Spider-man, Peter Parker, the one from the MCU in Infinity War & Endgame, is not the same as the one in Far From Home? What if Far From Home, takes place in an alternate universe? One with a different Peter Parker and different characters and different events?
I know it is far-fetched, and very weak as a theory, but imagine what a surprise it would be! Spider-man still gone at the end of Endgame, never to come back (maybe), and a different yet very similar one very much alive, in a different universe, with a more or less different timeline… Or even another version of this: our Peter Parker transported to that alternate universe but without really realizing it and having to struggle to come back (or, yet even to come to terms with the fact that he can never come back). The prospect of that feels really cool, it does in my mind at least. We’d have a true sad moment with Endgame, and a strange melancholic follow-up with Far From Home, all this with more serious consequences and without ever seeing it coming. (Well, except for this right here, of course.)
And that could mean a whole new set of open doors: one between MCU’s Spider-man and Sony’s Venom, and even, perhaps, connecting all of it to the Spider-verse… So many possibilities, so many ideas, and so much hype! Now, I don’t know if that is what will happen, I don’t know which of the two theories between Austin Mcconnell’s and mine is the most outlandish, I don’t know how far Marvel and Sony are willing to go with this, but just imagine… what if?
Thank you for sticking with me until the end despite the outrageous length of this “short piece of an essay”, I hope you enjoyed the trip!
So yeah, this is sort of Schrödinger’s Spider-man, because as long as we don’t watch the upcoming movies, Spidey is alive and dead simultaneously.