Avengers: Infinity War left Marvel Cinematic Universe fans with a massive (and traumatic) cliffhanger, with Thanos having completed his Infinity Gauntlet and eliminating half of all life in the universe - including many of our new fan-favorite MCU superheroes. Today we got a look at the first official synopsis for Avengers 4, and it seems to reveal a storyline that could easily setup "Secret Wars" to be (one of) the next big MCU story arcs!
There is so much implied in the wording of that synopsis that it's almost overwhelming to try to unpack how it all correlates to both Marvel Comics history, and the unfolding events of the MCU. However, the part that jumps out for the purposes of a "Secret Wars" discussion is no doubt the section, "Our Beloved Heroes will truly understand how fragile this reality is and and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it."
We don't know how Avengers 4's storyline will play out yet, but there's been a lot of evidence that it will involve a time travel component, with our heroes traveling back to key points in MCU history to either steer events in a new direction, or pluck items (or people) they need from the past, in order to save the present. However the story goes, this synopsis seems to imply that there will be a lasting lesson, afterward: that reality is a fragile egg, and takes some hard choices (and hard losses) in order to protect it.
That brings us to Secret Wars. After the Infinity storyline that inspired much of Infinity War, writer Jonathan Hickman spearheaded the "Time Runs Out" storyline and the "Secret Wars (2015)" crossover event. Those two story arcs basically see the Marvel Universe's secret cabal known as "The Illuminati" working to stop incursion events that saw different Earths of the Marvel multiverse colliding. The final incursion was a collision between the main Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Universe (1610), and it ended in total destruction of the Marvel multiverse, with our heroes being spared by inter-dimensional lifeboats the Illuminati had built in secret.
Those lifeboats land in "Battleworld" a reality built by Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange, and Molecule Man (the living fuel and/or destructive bomb of each reality). Battleworld basically pulled elements from all the popular Marvel timeline imprints (Ultimate Marvel, Marvel 2099, X-Men's popular "House of M" and "Age of Apocalypse" alternate realities) and combined them all into one singular amalgamated Marvel Universe reality.
The connection to be made here is that Avengers 4 will reveal to the MCU heroes what Doctor Strange has known all along: that there are many realities out there, and the walls protecting and separating them are thinner than most people think. And with that knowledge, comes the burden of making some hard choices about sacrificing one reality to save another - an exploration we've definitely seen in the comics.
After Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers 3 & 4, it will be no surprise if an MCU Illuminati is formed in Phase 4; if the results of Thanos' actions begin "incursions" from other realities into the MCU (say that Fox Marvel universe?); and if we then start down a path toward a version of the MCU "Secret Wars" storyline that will provide a perfect way for Fox characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four to be imported into the MCU - or if Marvel can expand into other "realities" (read: brands) like a MCU 2099 imprint.
This isn't just speculation, either: Avengers Infinity War directors The Russo Bros have already hinted that "Secret Wars" would be a great property to adapt for the MCU - just more compelling hints that this Avengers 4 synopsis is setting some big things up for MCU Phase 4!
Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universemovies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.