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Ms. Marvel's Iman Vellani Knows Kevin Feige Is Lying About The MCU's Numerical Designation

Multiverses may be all the rage at the box office right now, but comics have been playing with alternate realities for decades, with many beloved storylines taking place across a broad array of dimensions. Now that a similar atomization is occurring within the MCU, Marvel Studios has been using its recent output to introduce new audiences to the concept, a campaign that began in earnest with "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." In that film, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) finds himself in another reality, where that universe's version of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) is a researcher studying the multiverse. She tells him that her universe is Earth-838, while the main MCU timeline he came from is Earth-616.

To make sense of the multiverse realities, Marvel designated a number for each. For example, the main continuity of Marvel comics takes place on Earth-616, while the universe in which Neil Gaiman's "Marvel 1602" storyline takes place is Earth-311. These diverging realities created a huge amount of narrative space for Marvel to experiment with storylines in the form of one-offs, tie-ins, special events, and more. It also allows the MCU to exist in its own continuity.

Enter Iman Vellani, who has proven herself to be as much of a superhero nerd as Kamala Khan, the character she portrays in the upcoming Disney+ MCU series, "Ms. Marvel." The show has already racked up praise from critics, and Vellani is set to appear in next year's "The Marvels" as well. It appears Vellani has been keeping a close eye on Marvel's multiverse continuity, and she's got a bone to pick with Kevin Feige regarding Christine Palmer's assertion that the MCU is Earth-616.

Iman Vellani says the MCU is not Earth-616

In a red carpet interview with Deadline, Ms. Marvel star Iman Vellani made a bold claim: no matter what Kevin Feige wants fans to believe, the MCU is set in Earth-199999 (via Deadline on Twitter). "I don't believe that the MCU is 616," the actor said. "As much as Kevin Feige can make us think that it's 616, it is 199999."

Vellani's remarks stand in direct opposition to claims made by the Earth-838 version of Christine Palmer in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." In that movie, Palmer tells Doctor Strange that his reality, which is the reality of all previous MCU movies, is Earth-616. Of course, given that the main reality of Marvel comics already has the designation Earth-616, that creates an obvious contradiction. So, who should fans believe?

It turns out Vellani knows what she's talking about. "The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #5," published in 2008, reveals that the MCU does indeed take place in Earth-199999. With that being established, the question of why "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" would lie to audiences remains a mystery. Vellani's claim that Feige is trying to trick fans suggests that there may be a bigger plan in the works as Phase 4 of the MCU continues. On the other hand, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" might have been a retcon, switching the official designation of the MCU to Earth-616 in the hope fans would simply go along with it. A third possibility is that the MCU's timeline has already diverged without telling us. For the time being, it might be a good idea for fans to take anything an MCU character says about the multiverse with a grain of salt.