It has been a while since Marvel Studios visited the San Diego Comic-Con, but after three years, they made a victorious comeback by discussing both their ongoing projects and the MCU’s future, which, we have to admit, is looking fairly bright.
Even the mere notion of Secret Wars was enough to jolt our senses into action and send our eagerness into overdrive, despite the MCU movies’ recent trend toward boredom. Kevin Feige claims that Secret Wars will conclude the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, and if Endgame is any indicator, it is going to be tremendously huge.
But what are the Secret Wars exactly? Who will participate in the fight? What makes it such a significant problem, specifically? This is everything we currently know about Avengers – Secret Wars, and we are going to break it all down in this video.
How did the Secret Wars concept take shape in the first place?
At first, this might seem a little absurd, but Mattel was the only source of Marvel’s biggest crossover event’s eventual success. Believe it or not, comic books were not as popular a consumer good in the 1980s as they are now. In reality, they were just beginning to gain popularity commercially, which meant that comics’ merchandising potential remained unrealized.
While Mattel had He-Man, one of the most popular original toys in company history, DC Comics had teamed up with Kenner to make toys in the licenced likeness of DC superheroes, and Mattel sought to shore up their lines to cash in on what they thought would be the next big fad. Thus, Mattel and Jim Shooter, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, began discussions about working together to develop a brand-new line of toys that would incorporate their influential works in fresh iterations.
In order to make this drastic shift in aesthetic to make some sort of sense to their comic book audience, Shooter and Co. worked with Mattel to develop a self-contained storyline that would help boost the toys’ sales. Little did they know that they were creating the biggest crossover storyline that Marvel Comics would have ever done at that point.
The original “Secret Wars” was a 12-issue mini-series that ran from 1984 to 1985 and managed to smash sales records for Marvel, despite being critically panned back then. Now, it’s considered to be one of the most iconic stories that Marvel has ever told, with Secret Wars having inadvertently influenced the events of the mainstream continuity, as being retold 3 decades later in a brand-new mould by Jonathon Hickman, whose run with Marvel has inspired most of the MCU films.
This 2015 version of Secret Wars was far more integrated with the overall continuity of Marvel Comics and would turn out to be even better than its predecessor, because unlike the 80’s, toy sales didn’t shackle Hickman’s creative process, which allowed him to craft a world that can only be described as a Marvel fanboy’s fever dreams brought into reality.
While the “first” Secret Wars was a light-hearted affair, the second one was a multiverse-threatening anomaly, and while both of them are iconic in their own right, we think that the MCU is going to be mashing up elements from every title that used the words “Secret Wars” in it to give us an entirely unique story with elements that we will still recognize from the comics. Having given you the low down on how the Secret Wars came about, let’s tell you what happened in them and how it might play out in the MCU.
The “First” Secret Wars (1984)
The first incarnation of the Secret Wars was more like a Roman-style gladiatorial tournament that was arranged by one of the most-powerful beings in the cosmos. The Beyonder was originally introduced as THE cosmic being of Marvel Comics. He came from the Beyond Realm, a place so huge that the universe would seem like a drop of water within it. The Beyonder came to the Marvel Universe out of boredom and after observing the super heroes – and villains – of Earth fight against one another with utmost amusement, he used his reality-warping abilities to create Battleworld, a planet that would end up becoming an elaborate death-game stadium.
The Beyonder told his “tournament participants” that they must slay each other and that the victor will receive any reward they so desire, as nothing was beyond the scope of his powers. This was the premise upon which the first Secret Wars were fought, with the participants being the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and solo heroes like Spider-Man on the heroes’ side and heavy-hitters like Doc Ock, Doctor Doom, Kang the Conqueror and Molecule Man forming their opposition.
Over the course of 12 issues, the two sides fight it out, with a few of them even challenging the Beyonder out of sheer hubris, and the first Secret Wars end with most of the heroes and villains returning to Earth safely while The Thing stays behind at Battleworld to study the cosmos for a calendar year. Secret Wars ended up causing some major changes to the main continuity of multiple Marvel titles, with She-Hulk getting involved with the Fantastic Four, the Hulk going feral again, the X-Men re-evaluating their priorities and Spider-Man gaining a certain gooey suit that we will talk about in a bit.
That’s the first Secret Wars explained in a nutshell, and while we think that specific instances from this saga will be adapted into the movie, we don’t think that this will be the entire premise of Avengers: Secret Wars. That movie is going to be pulling from the “other” Secret Wars which kicked off in 2015 and saw Stan Lee’s personal favourite antagonist in the driver’s seat; Doctor Doom.
The “Second” Secret Wars (2015)
Hickman’s Secret Wars felt much more like a grand cosmic mystery because, well, it was. Time Runs Out is not just the name of an episode from Loki; it is also the title of an event that directly precedes the 2015 Secret Wars. In it, the Beyonders – the race of beings from whom the Beyonder came – mess up the entire multiverse by making Earth 616 collide with Ultimate Earth in an effort to destroy all of known creation. In the aftermath of the said cosmic destruction, one man emerged as the ultimate existence in the New World – Dr. Doom.
Using the remnants of the cosmic energies left behind by the Beyonders, he stitched together those parts of the multiverse that still remained into an enormous, singular planet called Battleworld. Here, he gathered every hero and villain from the remnants of the Multiverse and created a feudal society with barons and fiefdoms and Doom as the God-Emperor at the top of the pecking order.
Only 2 other beings remembered exactly what went down at the precise moment of the Multiverse’s destruction by the actions of the Beyonders, and it is their efforts that help “the good side” take out the mad Latverian despot and knock him off his scavenged perch. This version of Secret Wars was an even greater crossover than the first one, as it featured a far more diverse and colourful cast of characters and had even more lasting consequences on the Marvel Multiverse’s continuity than its predecessor.
Sitting here and breaking down this entire event might just spoil what can become the most ambitious Avengers movie till date, so we’re not going to do that; not exactly that, anyway. Instead, we’re going to try to guess just how the MCU’s version of Secret Wars is going to play out.
Possible plot of Avengers: Secret Wars – Explored
Given the fact that the MCU prefers adapting material from Hickman’s run with Marvel Comics, we think it’s safe to say that the Secret Wars we’ll get in the movies will be largely based on the 2015 version. With that in mind, let’s talk about the premise of Secret Wars 2015, which was introduced in Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness; and that is Incursions. The 2015 Secret Wars emerged from the ashes of an incursion that was engineered by the Beyonders between Earth-616 and Earth-1610: the main and ultimate continuities respectively.
As a result of the said incursion, heroes from both universes ended up fighting each other in an attempt to protect their own realities and inadvertently allowed Doom to soak up all the cosmic powers left for the taking and fashion Battleworld out of them. We know that Incursions are a thing in the MCU; in fact, in the post-credits scene of Doctor Strange 2, Dr. Strange goes off into the Dark Dimension with Clea to stop one of them from taking place.
And, as far as we can tell, they are setting him up as the next Iron Man-type figure for the MCU’s heroes, which is why we see Wong interacting with many of the rumoured members of the new Avengers team, like Shang-Chi. And if any of you have read the 2015 Secret Wars storyline, then you know just how integral Strange is to that story. So, Doctor Strange will emerge as the primary protagonist heading into the conclusion of the Multiverse Saga, something that he helped kick off all the way back in No Way Home.
But that’s the big goodie of Secret Wars and the mechanism for how Battleworld will be created explained. Why will all of this madness end up taking place? Three simple words: Kang Multiversal War. Kang the Conqueror is being set up as the biggest bad guy of the MCU heading towards Phase 5. His sole appearance in the finale of Loki season 1 was enough for us to understand the sheer scale at which he operates, but there’s something very interesting that He Who Remains tells Loki and Sylvie before they end up killing him.
He says that the last Multiversal War nearly destroyed the entire Multiverse, and had it not been for the centuries of effort that He Who Remains had put into creating the Sacred Timeline, there would be no reality left for them to stand within. But now with that cautious and foresighted version of Kang being killed, it seems like his variants will be able to finish the job that He Who Remains prevented from being completed the first time around.
Avengers: Secret Wars isn’t the next Avengers movie in the MCU; it takes place after Avengers: Kang Dynasty, both of which will be released in the same year, 6 months apart. Judging by the title of the 5th Avengers movie, it’s clear that that film is going to be focusing on Kang’s Multiversal War. It’s quite possible that Kang Dynasty will follow the template of Avengers: Infinity War and give our heroes a crushing defeat before giving them the chance to make things right.
More likely than not, Kang will end up destroying the Multiverse, and its remnants are what we will see in Secret Wars. As for who will create Battleworld in the MCU, there can only be one person, isn’t it? And his name, ironically enough, is Doom. Avengers: Secret Wars is going to be the last movie in the Multiverse Saga and will tie up all the events of Phases 4 through 6. And what does Phase 6 kick off with?
Drumrolls please – the Fantastic Four reboot. It is impossible for the MCU to include Reed Richards into its continuity and ignore Victor von Doom, because their rivalry can be considered to be the foundation for everything Marvel Comics is. Doom is the most-iconic Marvel villain, period. Don’t let the MCU’s polished presentation of Thanos fool you into thinking otherwise; Dr. Doom is a few notches crazier and smarter than the Mad Titan, and is the perfect candidate for being revealed as the true big-bad for the Multiversal Saga.
And it is also possible that certain elements from the original Secret Wars might be adopted for this movie as well, in particular, the cover of issue #8 which sees Peter Parker don the symbiote suit for the first time. The MCU’s love for 80’s culture could see the Beyonder enter the storyline looking like his Secret Wars 2 self, but that remains to be confirmed. On the other hand, the zombie-verse introduced in Marvel’s What If… and Infinity Killmonger and most of the stories told in that animated series can end up becoming canon to the main MCU continuity, if Marvel Studios plays their cards right.
In fact, apart from these pieces of speculation, we don’t have much else to offer you in terms of theorization. Yes, we’d like to bring up Agatha Harkness and her Coven of Chaos and Loki Season 2 and Ant-Man: Quantumania and a billion other things, but for now, this is what we’re sticking with. Having discussed the basic plot that Avengers: Secret Wars might follow, we’d now like to transition to the prospective cast of the film.
Who Will Show Up in Avengers: Secret Wars?
Based on the trajectory of the MCU and the actors who have been a part of it so far and will be in the future, we feel rather comfortable in saying that Benedict Cumberbatch will be a confirmed presence in Secret Wars. He is the lynch pin of the storyline, and it’s therefore a no-brainer to include him in it.
Apart from him, we can also see appearances from Chris Hemsworth’s Thor Odinson, Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, and John Krasinki’s Reed Richards, as all of them are key players in the Secret Wars storyline. If the rumours about their couple-casting are true, then Emily Blunt might just end up becoming the MCU’s Invisible Woman, who is also important to the Secret Wars effort.
Other characters that could show up from the ones we’ve seen so far from Marvel Studios are Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Tatiana Maslany’s She-Hulk, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Anthony Mackie’s Captain America, Tenoch Huerta’s Namor the Sub-Mariner, the New Black Panther, Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, heck, even Jonathon Majors as yet another variant of Kang the Conqueror. The possibilities are truly endless given the scope of Secret Wars itself, but suffice it to say that it will be a crossover event at the level of Endgame, if not higher, simply given its premise.
In Endgame, the epic superhero team-up only occurs towards, well, the movie’s Endgame. If we are correct in anticipating the storyline of Avengers: Secret Wars, then they won’t have the exposition time needed to just chuck in a bunch of ensemble scenes given how intricate and Game of Thrones-esque the original storyline itself was.
It is more likely that we will see the entire MCU family working with each other in the most unexpected of ways to figure out how they are going to avoid their doom; both metaphorically and literally. But here is something that we can guarantee to you – Secret Wars will be the culmination of every Marvel story ever told on the big screen, and that includes the Fox films. Because in the comics, storylines like Age of Apocalypse, Days of Future Past and Civil War served as precursors to the formation of Battleworld.
The first two of those three storylines have already been adapted, but Secret Wars gives Kevin Feige the perfect excuse to kinda absorb all the scattered Marvel IP into one consolidated piece of artwork that aims to please all walks of Marvel fans. Whether it actually happens or not is up for debate, but it is a possibility, and one we will not dismiss until we see the movie ourselves.
Speaking of which, that might take a while, because as of this moment, Avengers: Secret Wars doesn’t come out for at least 3 years. Slated for a November 7, 2025 release, it will be amongst the final embers of the Multiversal Saga and Marvel has a lot of time to set it up and do it right. Between now and November 2025, literally dozens of MCU projects will be out, and we will be free to theorize the nitty-gritty of things when that time comes; but for now, we must satisfy ourselves with approximation and informed guesses.
If you can’t tell already, Secret Wars has been in the works for quite some time. It has been nearly half a decade since rumours of its existence as a solo Avengers film started floating across the nerd circles, but now that we finally have confirmation, we feel both vindicated and extremely excited. Secret Wars is one of our personal favourites from Marvel here at Marvelous Videos, and we absolutely can’t wait to see what the MCU does with it. Our only note to the creators would be to ditch the current formula that they are applying to Phase 4 films and TV shows because that tone and pacing is simply going to crumble under the weight of Secret Wars.
And besides, Dr. Doom does not do jokes, so we can’t wait to see him get into an ego contest with Spider-Man; and if every other character serves as comic relief in their own films, then that takes away Peter’s charm, doesn’t it? Anyway, we hope all our rambling has thoroughly conveyed the extent of our anticipation for Secret Wars, and we will keep you updated on all new information about it as and when it breaks. Let us know what you think about this announcement in the comments below.