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A number of questions/answers on the site list the MCU continuity as Earth-199999. Such as This one. But the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness film specifically references the origin Universe for the familiar MCU heroes as 616. Previously I've seen 616 referenced as the original comic book continuity.

Has something changed? Is the most recent Doctor Strange or MCU Phase 4 more generally in a different continuity to previous films?

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    616 is the main comics universe designation. 616 has also been mentioned a few times in the MCU but mostly as Easter eggs. 199999 used to be the MCU’s designation but Marvel seem to be pushing for it to be 616 as well just to confuse matters for no apparent reason.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 11, 2022 at 11:56
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    Related: (Movies & TV SE) Is Marvel Cinematic Universe Earth-199999 or Earth-616? Jul 11, 2022 at 12:27
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    The simple answer is there are two designation: in-Universe it is 616, out-of-Universe it is 199999.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 11, 2022 at 12:29
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    Don't think too hard about it. There would be infinite universes that are otherwise identical except for having different naming schemes for other universes.
    – chepner
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:45
  • @chepner yes that probably explains why 838 calls itself 838 when apparently it's the one naming stuff. Plus marks for not naming themselves #1.
    – Jontia
    Jul 11, 2022 at 14:40

2 Answers 2

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The whole "Which universe is this?" bit seldom ends with hard answers. A lot of that has to do with the fact that comic book universes are notoriously fluid and often go through "resets" that coincide with new writers, etc. This is pretty evident when you look up Earth-616 (comics)

The reality of Earth-616 has gone through eight different incarnations, all triggered by different instances of multiversal renewal, which constitutes in the destruction and re-creation of everything there is.

616 has always referred to the continuity that Marvel comic books are taking place in. Earth 616 shares our "real world" history to some extent (World War II, etc).

The numbers have allowed for the telling of other stories in other universes. When the MCU started out, people referred to it as Earth 199999 to avoid confusion (the MCU diverges greatly from the comics in some places). At least one official Marvel publication gave it that designation. The catch is that nobody in the MCU has ever referred to it as that in-universe. Their continuity is referred to as drumroll please... 616

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Nick Fury: Mr. Beck is from Earth. Just not yours.

Quentin Beck: There are multiple realities, Peter. This is Earth Dimension 616. I'm from Earth 833.

And Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Christine 2: Our universe is 838. And we've designated yours 616.

What this means is that you now have the Comic 616 and the MCU 616. That's still confusing, so when someone says 199999, they unambiguously mean the MCU, which is still different from the comic continuity.

Put another way, there are multiverses of multiverses. Try not to let that concept drive you to madness...

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    Beck is of course either lying or getting his information from Selvig's research (which you probably want to add in here too as a more reliable source).
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 11, 2022 at 12:37
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    616 is also mentioned in Loki and something else I think but it's escaping me at present.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 11, 2022 at 12:41
  • @TheLethalCarrot I was wondering where I missed Loki having any mention of 616 but it's an easter egg that was easy to miss
    – Machavity
    Jul 11, 2022 at 12:47
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    This of course raises the question of who is group that ensures that the self selected Comic/MCU numbers are unique across the multiverse. (But I suppose may not be unique across the multiverses of multiverses)
    – Peter M
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:00
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    @Machavity the MCU is also a Multiverse now, not a Universe.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 11, 2022 at 15:00
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“616” universe, or the “Sacred Timeline”

Officially, the MCU uses the “616” universe, or the “Sacred Timeline” designations. These are the official designations given to the main MCU universe in the book Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline, which traces the history and chronology of the MCU events. In-universe, it is the Time Variance Authority (TVA), via Miss Minutes, that gives these designations.

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INTRODUCTION

Hey Y'all! I'm Miss Minutes, and welcome to the guidebook on the beings and events that make up the universe known as 616, also known as the Sacred Timeline. Here at the Time Variance Authority, our job is to keep tabs and protect the countless timelines that weave together our Multiverse. Some of these have small differences, like altered lunar cycles or events happening at slightly different times, or big ones—like everybody being made out of paint! Now, 616 may be just one thread in this vast Multiverse, but trust me, it's a wild one!

As for your second question, no, the main universe in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not in a different continuity from the previous films. It is still part of the same “616” universe, as stated in the same book.

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