The keys to the multiverse are in the possession of Michael Waldron. It was announced today that the multi-time Marvel Studios writer would be scribing Avengers: Secret Wars, the sixth movie in Earth's Mightiest franchise. This comes off the immediate heels of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which Waldron penned, as well as Loki Season 1, which also saw Waldron fulfilling lead writer duties. Both of his Marvel credits thus far are directly intertwined with the multiverse, as Doctor Strange 2 provided a soft launch into the complex concept while Loki Season 1 introduced fans to The Multiverse Saga's big bad, Jonathan Majors's Kang the Conqueror.
While the climax of that Multiverse Saga has yet to arrive, Marvel Studios has been planting seeds for the coming conflict across Phase 4. All six episodes of Loki explore the world of variants and sacred timelines, but it was the show's premiere installment that gave fans their first in-depth glimpse at what lies ahead.
After the 2012 Loki Variant is captured by the Minutemen, he is transported to the Time Variance Authority to stand trial. As he's waiting, the animated assistant Miss Minutes pops up on a nearby monitor, helping catch the trickster up to speed on what exactly the TVA does.
"Long ago, there was a vast multiversal war," Miss Minutes explains. "Countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy, nearly resulting in the total destruction of, well, everything."
Miss Minutes then attributes the peacetime success to the Time-Keepers, which fans know ended up being a fake cover for He Who Remains, one of Kang's variants.
"But then, the all-knowing Time-Keepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline, the Sacred Timeline," Miss Minutes continued. "Now, the Time-Keepers protect and preserve the proper flow of time for everyone and everything."
Regardless of who was responsible for organizing the chaos, Miss Minutes concluded her oratory syllabus with the same grim warning about what comes if variants get out of control.
"Sometimes, people like you veer off the path the Time-Keepers created. We call those Variants," Miss Minutes continued. "Maybe you started an uprising, or were just late for work. Whatever it was, stepping off your path created a nexus event, which, left unchecked, could branch off into madness, leading to another multiversal war."
Whether one happened long ago or not, a "multiversal war" is exactly what Secret Wars is. In the Marvel Comics crossover event of the same name, Secret Wars pits Earth-616 against Earth-1610, the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Marvel Universe, respectively. This clash of universes, known as an incursion, results in the destruction of both and the consequential creation of "Battleworld," an amalgamation of fragments of post-collision universes where heroes from across the multiverse wage war against one another.
While it's unclear if Waldron was being eyed to scribe Secret Wars at the time of Loki Season 1's production, his written monologue for Miss Minutes seems to be the direct groundwork for what will transpire in Avengers 6. To go even further, the past "multiversal war" that Miss Minutes teased could have been the incursion that Sinister Strange caused off-screen in Multiverse of Madness. Even if he didn't know ahead of time, Waldron has had the bigger Marvel picture in mind from his very first MCU writing credit.
Avengers: Secret Wars arrives in November 2025.