The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been ubiquitous in the pop culture lexicon for over ten years now. It's an instantly recognizable name, but have you ever stopped to think about how the now-famous moniker came to be? Well, "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe" — a book which chronicles Marvel Studios' journey — just revealed the story behind it.
In one of its early chapters, the book delves into how Tony Stark's appearance at the end of The Incredible Hulk kickstarted the interconnected nature of the MCU. As detailed in the book, at the time the scene was unveiled to the public, the internet went into overdrive with speculation regarding how the studio's then-planned superhero slate (which included Captain America and an early version of Ant-Man) would pan out.
Naturally, such frantic speculation put the MCU's name at the forefront of such conversations, eventually solidifying it as arguably one of Hollywood's most recognizable terms. And, as Kevin Feige revealed in the book, he came up with the franchise's name to differentiate it from the Marvel Comics Universe:
"I wanted people to understand that this was a unique thing that we were doing. These are individual movies with their own franchises, and they are under this umbrella of a shared continuity, which hadn't been done before."
Admittedly, it's easy to follow the logic that led to the birth of the MCU's name, but its story goes a little deeper than that. Marvel Studios Producer Stephen Broussard further revealed that, just like Marvel Comics had its 616 and Ultimate universes, their intention was to give their burgeoning superhero franchise its own identity as a parallel world in the House of Ideas' tapestry:
"[We] said, 'We're doing something like that. Please consider the movies as their own parallel canon universe: The Marvel Cinematic Universe."
It's funny to think that, nowadays, the MCU is a lot of people's main authority when it comes to the Marvel Universe, as opposed to the comic books that originated the saga. As simple and fairly self-explanatory as the origin of the "MCU" moniker is, it's still fun to see what went into its creation.
With Eternals now in theaters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue later this year with Hawkeye, arriving on Disney+ on November 24, and soon after with Spider-Man: No Way Home, coming to theaters on December 17, 2021.