With the multiverse set to debut in upcoming Marvel Studios projects, one major Marvel world has been suggested to appear in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Spotlight recently confirmed that actor Jon Prophet will portray a character called “New Yorker 616” in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. Marvel Comics fans will recognize this number as the core universe where most major Marvel storylines take place. If the implication of this cast listing is correct, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange could be visiting the main Marvel Comics universe in the film. This could be potentially multiverse-breaking news if it pans out.
For those unfamiliar, Earth-616 is known as the core Marvel Comics continuity where most storylines take place. This is not to be confused with the MCU, which is labeled as Earth-199999. Although Earth-616 has had many incarnations and reboots over the years (it dates back all the way to 1939), it is traditionally established to be the tentpole timeline for Marvel Comics storytelling. The term “616” can be confusing as many Marvel universes have referenced the number and even claimed to be a part of the timeline. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio falsely claimed to be from that timeline, which does imply he knows about it. However, for the most part, Earth-616 is established as the main continuity in the comics.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the MCU and the 616 universe have interacted as the movies have been referenced in the comics on multiple occasions. Both Benedict Cumberbatch’s and Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayals have been humorously pointed out by their comic book counterparts in the 616 universe. If Earth-616 is aware of the MCU, a natural step could be for the two universes to meet in a future film or comic book. This could allow for a whole new round of superhero casting as well, given that the Marvel heroes would require comic-accurate suits (something that the MCU has a history of avoiding). A less likely and more ridiculous possibility is that the 616 universe is portrayed literally through a comic book lens, but that would be difficult to convey through film. Only time will tell.
Additionally, if the rumor pans out, Marvel fans might get to see some of the Marvel heroes in their classic outfits – like Thor’s wing-tipped helmet, Daredevil’s bright red suit, etc. The big caveat is that all of these possibilities are directly linked to one cast listing. It could be that “New Yorker 616” is simply a fun easter egg for fans as opposed to an actual New Yorker from the 616 universe. Furthermore, if 616 heroes made actual appearances in the Doctor Strange film, why didn’t they show up in the cast listing as well? Regardless, Multiverse of Madness has been clouded in secrecy, so the film will certainly take audiences on a unexpected adventure.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will star Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez. Sam Raimi (director of the original Spider-Man trilogy) is directing after Scott Derrickson dropped out. The movie is directly related to the events of WandaVision, the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, and possibly Loki. It will release only in theaters on March 25, 2022.