Avengers Secret Wars is the biggest event MCU is headed for, and Phases 4 & 5 have started setting it up in 8 different ways. In Marvel Comics, Secret Wars first began as a major crossover story in the mid-’80s, complete with a Mattel toy line tie-in.
Marvel later followed it up in the 2015 Secret Wars story, which expanded the scope tremendously to encompass, Marvel’s entire Multiverse, with different universes merging in a Battleworld, and the fate of reality hanging in the balance.
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The second Secret Wars story will serve as the basis for Marvel Phase 6 Avengers Secret War, with Phases 4,5, and 6 collectively comprising a new MCU story arc titled the Multiverse Saga. While the Roadmap to Avengers Secret Wars has not been fully clarified, MCU Phases 4 and 5 have done a surprising amount of heavy lifting to get MCU there.
8. Variants being part of Avengers Secret Wars
A major part of Secret Wars, and by any extension in the Multiverse, there is a concept of alternate versions of characters appearing side by side. In the MCU, these are known as Variants. Each TV series like, Loki and What If and movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness each incorporate variants in different but crucial ways.
Spider-Man No Way Home in particular would prove to be a stepping stone in introducing the Multiversal variants in the MCU, by bringing Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man together.
With variants being such a big element of Secret Wars, the MCU’s adaptation of the story in Avengers Secret Wars could call upon any pre-MCU Marvel actors to join the battle. In the same way, MCU can introduce entirely new variants, as they introduced in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, multiple Doctor Strange variants.
Meanwhile, the multiverse-based story of Avengers Secret Wars will also call upon a villain with the power to move through the multiverse in ways that are unimaginable
7. The Celestials
Eternals would prove to be the MCU’s first movie with a truly polarized reception, with the film giving up much of the trademark humor and other hallmarks of the franchise. Even so, it is still an important part of Phases 4 and 5.
The Eternals are immortal being who existed on Earth since their Early days, with Celestials introduced as godly beings overseeing life throughout the universe since the beginning of time. The Eternals eventually come to rebel against the Celestials, and the scale of what the Eternals establishes seems likely to factor into Avengers Secret Wars.
Eternals did underperform and could get the attention previous MCU films use to get, Marvel has still not announced any formal plans for Eternals 2 or further appearance of Eternals and Celestials. However, a conflict of variants from across the multiverse and a villain intent on wiping out countless timelines is bound to draw the attention of both. Avengers Secret Wars could be the next movie where the Eternals and Celestials can be seen together.
6. MCU Established the Multiverse
The MCU would first begin introducing the multiverse as a key concept of the franchise’s future with Disney’s + Loki, which establishes alternate timelines, and essentially unleashes them from the control of the Time Variance Authority and He Who Remains (Kang’s variant) by the end of season 1.
Disney’s What if? would go even further by presenting alternate versions of past MCU events and characters. However, the 1-2 punch of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would properly establish the multiverse as integral to the MCU’s big screen future.
Admittedly, Spider-Man No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness played their multiverse stories relatively close to the chest, with neither extensively traversing from one Marvel Universe to another, with that said movies and TV series like Loki, What If?, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home make Marvels’s Multiverse part and parcel of the franchise.
With the multiverse being indispensable in Avengers Secret Wars, it is a big step in setting up the Avengers Secret Wars, but the MCU has also prepared for it another way.
5. Venom in MCU
In Spider-Man No Way Home we saw many villains from the web crawler superheroes past, non-MCU movies into the story, while Tom Hardy’s Venom would be a brief but nonetheless important tip to the MCU. Brought into the MCU in the end-credits of Venom Let There Be Carnage, Eddie Brock and alien Symbiote Venom decide to find Spider-Man in No Way Home’s end-credit scene, only for the two to be returned to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe almost as soon as they arrived.
Venom’s journey to the MCU also helps set up Secret Wars with the origin it reveals about Venom itself. As Venom explains in Let There Be Carnage, he originates from a Symbiote hive mind, which is how he identifies Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, despite him and Eddie Brock having never met Spider-Man not even in their universe.
This expands the multiverse by showing Venom as not only the main player but one with a particularly in-depth knowledge (presumably shared by Topher Graces Venom in Spider-Man 3).
This also means Tom Hardy’s or even Topher Grace’s Venom could potentially appear in Avengers Secret Wars, along with an entirely new MCU Venom thanks to the fragment of the Venom of the Symbiote left in the MCU in Spider-Man No Way Home’s end credit scene.
4. Kang is the main villain
After Infinity Saga (Phase 1 – Phase 3), the previous arch villain Thanos (Josh Brolin), was defeated and erased from existence in Avengers: Endgame, the franchise has begun setting up Kang as the main villain to pose a similar threat to all life.
Kang made its debut on Loki in the form of his He Who Remains variant would get the ball rolling, Kang was properly introduced in Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania, which displays a multitude of Kang variants in the movie’s end credit scene.
At the same time, Kang is also the first player in Avengers: Secret Wars to show how the story will be modified for the MCU.
In the comics, Secret Wars Kang is actually by Doctor Doom with Kang not being involved in the subsequent 21st Century Secret Wars story, in which Doctor Doom is a major villain. With Kang being positioned as the MCU’s new Thanos and Doctor Doom not having been introduced in the MCU till now, Kand’s role in Avengers Secret Wars is likely to change the story, as is commonplace in comics to movie story adaptations. Of course, Kang’s power of time and interdimensional travel makes him the best villain for MCU’s take on Avengers Secret Wars.
While the original X-men franchise would prove instrumental in kickstarting the modern superhero movie golden age, the right issues would prevent the X-men from joining the MCU until 20th Century Fox was brought by Disney.
Since the plans, for X-men’s MCU debut, have been underway, though with so many MCU movies and shows on the docket, exactly when that will happen is not fully clear. While the Thunderbolts might replace the X-men in Secret Wars, the movie might still serve as a launching pad to bring the X-men and mutants more generally into the franchise, and there is one big hint of how that might happen.
The surprise return of High Jackman as the Wolverine in Deadpool 3. Though Hugh Jackman had initially declared 2017’s Logan to be his final Wolverine Performance, his return in Deadpool 3 could be another universe variant with Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds declaring the movie is not related to the previous film.
With a mutant as renowned as Wolverine, being set to appear in the MCU through Deadpool 3, that could also be connected to Avengers Secret Wars, with the two working to properly establish the presence of X-Men and the mutants in the MCU.
2. Introduction of Illuminati
In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a major contribution to Marvel’s Multiverse would be its introduction of the Illuminati in an alternate reality from the MCU Doctor Strange and American Chavez’s accidental visit to Earth 838.
Under the direction of Sam Raimi, the Illuminati are around for a long, as they have been killed by Wanda possessed by Dark Hold, brutally murdering all the members in their efforts to reach her children in another universe.
Even so, the Illuminati add more multiversal variants into the equation, which further helps to set up Avengers Secret Wars. Despite, Illuminati being wiped out in the Multiverse of Madness, there is nothing to prevent other variants of each of them from appearing in Avengers Secret Wars.
Patrick Stewarts Professor Xavier in particular could be a prime candidate for such a comeback, Stewart having essentially played 3 different versions of Professor X in his tenure and going through 3 death scenes with each of them. With the scope of the multiverse battle of Secret Wars, a revised version of Illuminati could very well be on the table.
1 Spider-Man No Way Home showed the perils of the Multiverse
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a much more violent movie than Spider-Man’s No Way Home, the latter is also a major component, the latter is the major component of the road to the Avengers Secret Wars.