Why Secret Wars Needs to be the First Big MCU Multiverse Crossover
05/10/2019 05:34 pm EDT
The events of Avengers: Endgame have changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. In fact, it may not even be proper terminology to refer to as the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" anymore; thanks to Endgame's use of time travel and time theory, there are now multiple different timelines in what has truly become a "Marvel Cinematic Multiverse."
Now that the MCU (or MCM) has so many potential new franchises and storylines that won't be hampered by a single continuity, it's going to be much harder to find a way to bring all the various corners of the franchise together for the next Avengers: Endgame-style crossover event. However, Marvel Comics fans already have a way to bridge those many gaps, and it is by Marvel Studios giving fans an Avengers: Secret Wars movie event, somewhere down the road.
Phase 4: Diversification
Even before Avengers: Endgame arrived, Marvel Studios creators and executives like Kevin Feige were teasing that Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be focused on a diversity initiative. Many fans focused on the idea of Marvel Studios introducing new and more diverse characters and films to the franchise -- and with movies like Shang-Chi, Black Widow, Black Panther 2, and Eternals on the slate, it indeed seems as though Marvel Studios is indeed planning a cinematic universe that is much more inclusive to people of various races, genders, and even sexual orientations.
However, after Avengers: Endgame, it now seems that "diversity" in Phase 4 of the MCU could mean more than just a more colorful set of characters: it could mean all sorts of projects (TV and film) that wouldn't have made sense in the more strict continuity confines of the MCU, up until this point. Of course, once all of that expansion is done, fans will inevitably want to see the expanded universe once again streamlined in its connections. That's where one particular Marvel Comics storyline comes into play.
There have been two big installments of the "Secret Wars" storyline in Marvel Comics, over the years:
- The original '80s version by Jim Shooter.
- The 2015 version by Jonathan Hickman.
The original Secret Wars miniseries saw the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe transported to "Battleworld" by a being called The Beyonder. There, they were tasked with battling one another in different factions, for the prize of having their biggest and best wishes fulfilled by The Beyonder's powers. The conflict ended with Doctor Doom nearly stealing the Beyonder's powers, and the Marvel heroes being returned to Earth - many of the without memory of the battle they just fought.
The 2015 version of the story was much different, and imagined the collapse of the Marvel Comics Multiverse (the comics had since become convoluted by competing alternate dimension and timeline versions of heroes and villains). The story saw a small portion of the Marvel Multiverse and its characters preserved from extinction by the combined efforts of Doctor Doom, Molecule Man and Doctor Strange, who pull together various pieces of the alternate dimensions into one big amalgamated version of "Battleworld". It turns out that characters like Reed Richards, Black Panther, and some key others survived on interdimensional "life rafts" (aka ships where they were in cryostasis), and they awaken in Battleworld, and must break the tyrannical order and hierarchy that Doom has created, as the veritable god of that reality.
MCU Secret Wars
As you can see above, the two versions of "Secret Wars" could actually combine nicely into a major crossover film event to end Phase 4. The MCU is expanding into multiple realities, and the cosmic side of the franchise is particularly set to get much more expansive with franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Nova, Thor and possibly more. Cosmic overseers like The Beyonder, Galactus or The Living Tribunal seem inevitable - i.e., beings who won't like how the MCU heroes have started mucking with space and time and created a multiverse that didn't exist before. To prune those realities now growing out of control, a contest for survival would makes sense. It's an approach that Dragon Ball Super recently took with its "Universal Survival" arc, which has become one of the most popular in the series thus far!
Best of all, this Secret Wars crossover as a finale gives Marvel Studios so much more freedom to play with Phase 4. Instead of worrying how the X-Men and/or Fantastic Four get introduced into the Avengers' reality, they could be launched in their own separate timeline or dimension, free to build without tripping over continuity, and eventually getting imported into the main MCU timeline, as a result of Secret Wars trimming al the sprawling realities back into one streamlined one. It's a way to also finally clean up the dangling threads left by Avengers Endgame - and possibly to recast big roles like Tony Stark or Steve Rogers with new actors (playing, say, the Ultimate versions of the characters).
All in all, with the potential massive complications Marvel is now courting with its cinematic multiverse, this sees like an easy fix. What do you think?
Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel are now in theaters. Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters on July 2nd.
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