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So according to the Marvel Multiverse (the different universes the various Marvel franchises operate their characters within), the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU, where the live action films take place) is continuity Earth-199999 and Ultimate Spiderman is Earth-1610.

Whilst Marc Webb's The Amazing Spiderman (2012) is clearly fashioned after the Ultimate Marvel universe, it is not canonically/overtly established and acknowledged as such by Marvel Entertainment, as the franchise is owned by Sony.

However, the cartoon Ultimate Spiderman, which is also overtly overtly set in the Ultimates Universe, features Agent Phil Coulson: a character created specifically for the MCU and appearing nowhere else in any Marvel Multiverse.

Agent Coulson

To further entrench the association, Coulson has the likeness of and is voice-acted by Clark Greg, the same actor portraying him in the Live action MCU.

This, it seems, is the first and only time the MCU has crossed over outside of its own universe, and into another (pre-established) one from a different medium.

Has the MCU ever overlapped into another property that isn't directly beneficial to its own continuity, anywhere else?


I'm aware that the basic function of the Ultimate universe is for Marvel to have control a representation of all their cinematic characters, even those outside of their Marvel Studios productions (The most vertically integrated and thus most lucrative), so it's fairly common for characters to show up in Ultimates.

However, the MCU seems to try to function in a one-way Microclimate: The MCU can borrow from other properties, but other properties can't borrow from the MCU. It locks IP down in an iron grip that way, I suppose.

I'm aware that Disney (who own Marvel Entertainment) produces the Ultimates series, so there is promotion of brand synergy (which is obviously why this has happened), but I'm wondering if it's ever happened anywhere else?

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2 Answers

You've got a lot of properties listed here, so for the sake of clarification, let's break them out.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is where the films produced by Marvel Entertainment / Disney take place. This includes current films Iron Man (1, 2, 3), Captain America, Thor (1, 2), The Avengers, and the Hulk film starring actor Ed Norton, as well as several smaller films which are distributed with these films (the Phil Coulson shorts, the one with the Chitauri item, and the Mandarin short). Upcoming films for this universe include, but are not limited to, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers 2, Captain America 2, and Ant-Man. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series is also considered a direct part of this universe. The MCU properties will interact with each other, but will likely not interact with anything else. Marvel Entertainment may license Marvel to produce comics explicitly set in the MCU, such as a prequel or side-story; these comics will state such a fact, but based on observations of other such products in the past, it is unlikely media external to the films/television show will be referenced by the films/television show.

The Marvel Comics Universe (MU) is where all of the standard Marvel comics take place. It has versions of everyone and even added a Phil Coulson analogue. It has crossed over into the Ultimates Comic Universe through cross-dimensional portals. Notably, its version of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Maria Hill, is used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Ultimate Marvel Comic Universe (UU) is a "hard core" version of the standard Marvel Comics, and their premiere super team, The Ultimates, is the inspiration for at least the Samuel Jackson iteration of Nick Fury and some concepts used in the Cinematic Avengers. It has crossed into the standard Marvel comics universe through cross-dimensional portals. You may be misuing the term "The Ultimates", which refers to the Avengers team as they exist within the UUC. It is not a term used elsewhere in any of the other universes.

The Ultimate Avengers animated universe from the "Ultimate Avengers" cartoon series featured a version of The Avengers which followed the story set by the Avengers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but was cancelled when Disney acquired Marvel Comics. It had not, and likely will not ever be due to its nature, be referenced in the films.

The Avengers Assemble animated universe is comprised of the "Ultimate Spider-Man", "Avengers Assemble", and "Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H." animated cartoons, all taking place in a separate animated Marvel universe which is based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even referring to The Chitauri aliens from The Avengers, but as these cartoons have an inherent silly nature to them and diverge from the film universe, they will likely will not be acknowledged within the context of the films.

The Amazing Spider-Man Cinematic Universe is from Sony and features Andrew Garfield as Amazing Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man 1, 2) has not crossed into any other properties.

The Spider-Man Cinematic Universe is also from Sony and features Toby MacGuire as Spider-Man (Spider-Man 1, 2, 3) had a spin-off cartoon on MTV called "Spider-Man: The New Animated Series", which followed the trilogy film storyline. It was not referred to by the film series.

The X-Men Cinematic Universe is from FOX and features the X-Men (1, 2, 3, and First Class) and Wolverine films (1, 2) references its own films, and will likely explain where each sits during X-Men First Class, but otherwise has not crossed into any other properties.

Other Properties: The Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four, Blade, Daredevil (and Elektra) and other Marvel film properties are stand-alone except where their own sequels are concerned. Blade: the series television show attempts to extend the Blade cinematic timeline.

There may exist "easter eggs" in some properties, most especially sourcing from the comics and cartoon properties, extending into the other properties for one-off encounters, but these incidents would likely not ever be acknowledged canonically by the receiving properties.

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"it's version of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Maria Hill, is used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe." so Ultimates established the Shield Hierarchy/Presentation of the MCU, by showing it first? was the Ultimates simply published first (but possibly conceived of after pre-production of The Avengers) to create synergy, or is there sufficient evidence to suggest they Created the version of SHIELD and the MCU copied it? –  John Smith Optional Feb 9 at 16:01
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Marvel Comics Universe (MU) created the Helicarrier S.H.I.E.L.D. Ultimate Universe (MUU) created the Sam Jackson Nick Fury and an updated S.H.I.E.L.D. with cooler helicarriers. Cinematic Universe (MCU) co-opted Sam Jackson Nick Fury for Iron Man. MU adopted the look and feel of the MUU S.H.I.E.L.D. and created characters like Maria Hill and Victoria Hand used by the MCU. The MCU is an amalgam of ideas from both the UU and the MU. You would have to be specific about each individual idea to nitpick which exact one is specifically sourced from which specific comic universe. –  JoshDM Feb 9 at 16:10
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For example, Phil Coulson is a product of the MCU and a version of him was subsequently created for the MU S.H.I.E.L.D.; he has no analogue in the UU. Victoria Hand first appeared in the MU and showed up in the MCU via the AoS TV show, but does not appear (but may exist) in the UU to my knowledge. –  JoshDM Feb 9 at 16:13
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UU established Nick Fury as looking like Samuel Jackson. MCU used Samuel Jackson as the only Nick Fury. At one time during "Secret Invasion", the MU had classic Nick Fury use a hologram to disguise himself as a Samuel Jackson look-alike for a while. The MU later introduced Nick's son, Nick Fury Jr., during the "Battle Scars" comic series; Jr. is essentially the Marvel Cinematic Universe Nick Fury and has taken his father's place at S.H.I.E.L.D. This is the same series that introduced Coulson to the MU. –  JoshDM Feb 9 at 16:44
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Here is a diagram of the current studio license holders: imgur.com/gallery/DnXShSd –  JoshDM Feb 10 at 2:22
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As far as I know, nobody confirmed coming from Earth-199999 have crossed over to other Marvel universes. However, the opposite have happened; according to the Marvel Wikia, the Young Avengers visited the MCU while looking for the character Speed, in Young Avengers Volume 2 #8. In the same issue there's also an Easter egg, showing Earth-616's Loki's passport which shows that he's visited a few Marvel alternate universes-among these, the MCU. However, I'm not sure if this passport is canonical, but if it is, this means the main universe Loki have visited the MCU.

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This is interesting! It falls back into that whole one-way referencing valve again: Other properties can reference the MCU, but the MCU distinguishes itself from involvement in other properties... –  John Smith Optional Feb 9 at 15:39
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