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The Community Fan Theory That Places It In The MCU

NBC's sitcom "Community" starts out normal enough, with a skeezy lawyer enrolling in community college to actually get that degree he faked and joining a study group. But peel back the layers and there are secret air conditioner societies, alternate timelines, and high-stakes campus-wide paintball tournaments. Fans argue it's even stranger. In fact, they wonder, what if the entire world of "Community" also took place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The theory begins with the fact that a lot of the "Community" actors have had cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On a meta level, this is because MCU directors Anthony and Joe Russo also directed several "Community" episodes, so they brought their previous actors into the fold. However, fans have woven a theory that connects the worlds of "Community" and the MCU, making them one and the same.

First off, there are a few hints throughout "Community" that suggest Greendale Community College is connected to a secret military base — in one scene, Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver) accidentally initiates an airstrike by calling the college supply phone number — so Reddit user LogicDog postulates that it's actually linked to a Hydra base. Here's how they broke the rest of it down.

The Community cast found new jobs in the MCU

About half of the core cast of "Community" show up in the MCU at some point. Danny Pudi, who plays Abed, has a cameo as Com Tech #1 in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee who comes face-to-face with Captain America, Falcon, and Maria Hill when they're unraveling the Hydra-SHIELD corruption. In the theory posted on r/FanTheories, LogicDog argued that Abed's romantic relationship with secret service agent Robin Vohlers in Season 2 could have been the connection that got him a job at S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jim Rash, who plays the zany Dean Pelton in "Community," shows up in "Captain America: Civil War," as an M.I.T. Liaison who talks to Tony Stark after he gives a speech to the students. One college administrator job to another isn't a huge leap, but user LogicDog added that if the secret Hydra base connected to Greendale was discovered, the Dean could have been given this job to keep quiet about it.

The most chaotic "Community" character, Ben Chang, the Spanish professor turned student turned campus security guard turned school dictator turned sandwich shop employee turned math professor, also shows up in the MCU. Ken Jeong has a cameo in "Avengers: Endgame" as a security officer at the storage facility Ant-Man emerges from the quantum realm into. With "security guard" already on his resume, it's easy to imagine Chang found a similar gig elsewhere.

Then there's Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley in "Community" and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in "Avengers: Endgame." In 1970, during the Time Heist, she shares an elevator with Tony and Steve Rogers, finding them to be thoroughly suspicious. As far as the theory goes, Brown's S.H.I.E.L.D. agent could be Shirley's mother or aunt, who just happen to share an uncanny resemblance.

Troy is... Miles Morales' uncle?

Donald Glover, aka Troy in "Community," has several connections to Spider-Man, as he auditioned for the part in 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man," and then was a key inspiration for the design of the character of Miles Morales when he wore Spider-Man pajamas in a "Community" scene, according to USA Today. In the animated Miles film, "Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse," there's an Easter Egg of that "Community" scene, as it plays on Uncle Aaron's TV in the background.

This brings it full circle back to the MCU, in which Glover actually is Aaron Davis, Miles' uncle, in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Aaron encounters Peter Parker as Spider-Man when he's in the middle of a shady weapons deal. Ultimately, he helps Spider-Man, because he doesn't want those alien tech weapons in the neighborhood where his nephew — Miles Morales — lives. In a deleted scene, he actually calls Miles by name. There's some hope we'll see him again in the MCU, if they introduce Miles, but there's confirmation yet.

As for how this appearance works with the "Community" theory, the last time we saw Troy was in Season 5 when he departed on a boat tour around the world with Levar Burton. However, a news segment in the next episode says they were captured by pirates. User LogicDog explained that after "gaining international notoriety" from this ordeal, "Troy changes his name, reconnects with some distant family, and tries to buy a gun so he won't be robbed again." It's a bit of a stretch, sure, but Troy does seem the type to enthusiastically don a caped outfit and become the Prowler — Aaron's alter ego.

Parallel universe Jeff shows up in Spider-Man 2

The last member of the main "Community" cast to appear in a Marvel movie is Joel McHale (Jeff), who doesn't show up in the MCU, but rather in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" as a banker. He's at the bank when Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) attacks. At one point, he sarcastically tells Peter's Aunt May, "Oh that boy of yours is a real hero," when Peter runs off in the midst of the crisis to don his Spidey suit. Oh, and he denies them a loan. Nice one, Winger.

How does McHale's banker fit into this theory? Well, the MCU and Community both have acknowledged that the multiverse exists. We already know Molina will reprise his role as Doc Ock in the upcoming MCU movie "Spider-Man: No Way Home." So, LogicDog argued that the banker is an alternate reality version of Jeff — one who didn't become a lawyer.

From there, it turns out that there are several other actors with small roles in both "Community" and the MCU, including Martin Starr, Michael Kenneth Williams, Patton Oswalt, Randall Park, and Aaron Himelstein. Conceivably, they could be the same characters in both media. Where can't a community college degree take you?

Kingo and Captain Marvel at Greendale

Finally, there are a couple major players in the MCU who appear in small roles in "Community." In two episodes, Kumail Nanjiani plays Deputy Custodian Lapari, who participates in the Season 6 Paintball Tournament. In the MCU, however, he's better known as the Eternal named Kingo, who's been on Earth for thousands of years. As depicted in "Eternals," these powerful beings split up centuries upon centuries ago after defeating the Deviants, to live however they wanted. Kingo became a famous Bollywood star for multiple generations, but being an immortal being, he probably experimented some as well, and maybe did a stint as a custodian at Greendale.

Lastly, there's Brie Larson, who plays Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel in the MCU, as well as a student named Rachel in three episodes of "Community." User LogicDog argued that Rachel isn't actually Carol, but a Skrull — the shapeshifting alien race Carol encounters in "Captain Marvel" — disguised as a human with her face. The Skrulls, they said, would know Carol is likely off-planet at this time, so her visage would be a safe one to hide behind. They added, "She & Abed bond over their love of Pop-Culture and media, which fits with how we saw that the Skrulls in "Captain Marvel" also had a love for Earth media and Pop-Culture." Plus, there's an easy connection between the Skrulls, Nick Fury, and S.H.I.E.L.D., that could have gotten Abed that S.H.I.E.L.D. job.

Finally, while user LogicDog admitted that "Community" may not necessarily take place in our main version of the MCU, it definitely is within one of the parallel universes that populate the infinite multiverse. They make a pretty compelling argument.