Due to TVA and Sylvie’s self-realization, fans now know what the upcoming decade of MCU storytelling will be about. After all, the MCU has fantastically illustrated it in the form of the Sacred Timeline branching out into the endless chaos that is essentially the Multiverse.
Now, Loki was all about exploring one’s identity and self, but the greater purpose of the show was to introduce audiences to the concept of timelines and what the multiverse will bring to this new decade of MCU storytelling.
Fans have been told for a long time that WandaVision was all set to be important for the MCU’s future. But how it was going to be important wasn’t known till the finale of the show. However, now that question has been answered.
So, all thanks to WandaVision and Loki, fans have now witnessed the very first stones being laid out for what could be the biggest event of Marvel till now (yes, even bigger than Avengers: Endgame). This event is called Secret Wars.
Know that in the comics, there have been multiple Secret Wars. But the first one took place in 1984 and was written by Jim Shooter, then Editor-in-chief. It all began when a huge mechanical ring showed up in Central Park and drew a large group of heroes who felt like it was calling to them. When these characters showed up, they all got transported to a place known as Battleworld.
This whole thing was being orchestrated by a new villain known as The Beyonder. He manipulated both energy and matter on a cosmic scale. So this Battleworld was brought into existence through his powers and was full of alien technology and weaponry. So it was like a fancy coliseum.
As for what characters were brought into this world, know that almost every possible hero group and more were summoned. This included The Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc. Also, The Beyonder brought in some villains, like Doctor Doom, Kang the Conqueror, and Molecule Man.
This event initially didn’t amount to much besides random pairings of villains and heroes. But it did its job as the actual purpose of the event was to drive up the sales of Marvel’s action figures. In fact, it was so successful that figures which originated from it still sell nowadays.
The story ended after multiple separate battles unfolded, pretty much like a tournament. But in the end, Doctor Doom stole The Beyonder’s power- one that could grant omnipotence. Doom briefly wanted to use it. But instead, he ended the entire charade and the event.
But it wasn’t a fully one-and-do event. There were long-lasting effects of Secret Wars.
This event gave rise to Spider-Man’s black symbiote suit that would, later on, become venom and give rise to multiple symbiotes. Also, She-Hulk became a member of the Fantastic Four after this event, albeit temporarily. But that’s not all. Due to this, The Thing was stuck in space for about a year. Also, the event introduced new characters like Volcana, Titania, and Julia Carpenter’s Spider-Woman.
But obviously, this wasn’t the end of it all. The event did well, and Marvel wanted to replicate its success. So they made a sequel titled Secret Wars II. But that didn’t get the success of the first one. However, this is how the follow-up event began- The Beyonder visited Earth again. But this time, he wanted to understand humanity.
But since the Earth’s Defenders had a previous unpleasant experience, to say the least, with him, so they were less than enthusiastic about seeing him again. As expected, this resulted in multiple conflicts. To make matters worse, there just wasn’t any real purpose of the event since memories got wiped and dead characters came back either way. So basically, The Beyonder undid any damage done.
In the end, many readers thought that the event was just too bloated to even function properly at a basic story level. But since the first one was hugely successful so Marvel tried to capture that magic again and again.
They tried to do various renditions of the story, ranging from expanding on the already present mythology to a kid-friendly retelling of the first event. But they didn’t stop there. They also made series titled Secret Warrior and Secret War that had nothing in common to the first event but just the similar notion of heroes coming together to fight an unknown enemy.
However, years later, Marvel Comics struck gold again, and they were able to create a setup to carry out the right follow-up to the Secret Wars event.
The foundation for this new sequel of Secret Wars was being slowly built and developed for years across Jonathan Hickman’s runs of New Avengers and The Avengers. Note that he introduced a key concept in his runs- Incursions. So let us explain Hickman’s Secret Wars to you.
In the comics, alternate earth versions located within the Multiverse would vibrate out of sync and as a result, breach the parallel universes. The issue with this was that it would eventually destroy both universes. But there was a way to prevent it all. It could be done if the invading Earth got destroyed first.
As expected, this was a huge ethical dilemma for the Illuminati, who were among the first to realize that these incursions were taking place. So the question was- Was it worth it to have genocide on a massive scale if it saved two universes?
This moral crisis caused a tonne of strife and resulted in The Avengers splitting up into multiple factions. And this divide happened just when the world required them the most. This left the Illuminati as the main team trying to prevent the incursions. The group even teamed up with Thanos along with the other villains in a desperate attempt to stop the end of all existence.
Needless to say that they failed. The Earth of the universe known as 1610, also known as the Ultimate Universe collided with Earth 616 and ended all of existence. Thankfully, in the background, multiple factors were getting prepared to change things.
For one, Reed Richards successfully created a Lift Raft before Earth-616’s end. This was something he hoped would allow passengers to survive the incursion and stay alive to see what might happen after. The passengers of this life raft were Captain Marvel, Star-Lord, Thor, Spider-Man, and Cyclops.
In the end, the raft was successful, but it was barely able to survive into the brand new existence- Battleworld. Battleworld is where everything was saved. It was a patchwork planet that comprised of continents that were just the salvaged universes squeezed into one part of the land.
For example, there was a country that was run by just the Thor police force. Also, there was one where The Avengers were formed back in the Old West, in 1872. In yet another place, the superhero Civil War had never really ended. You get the idea. This list went on and on. But this meant one thing- endless options to be creative.
But there were questions too obviously. Such as, how and why did Battleworld exist? The answer is because its God and Emperor, Doctor Doom wanted it to. Note that before the incursions happened, Victor Von Doom had totally overpowered The Beyonder and used that power to save the remains of multiple realities.
This allowed him to build this Battleworld patchwork planet. So in a twisted way, Doom was the one who saved all of existence. He was a hero.
The heroes who survived the raft, eventually got out and tried to piece together information about their current location and situation. Eventually, they came together and even convinced some of the other lands to rise against God Emperor Doom. This all led to a huge battle that involved an endless number of crazy moments as countries tried to end Doom’s tyranny.
The main moment in this struggle comes down to an emotional and personal fight between Doctor Doom and Reed Richards. But the question that everyone asked was- how was Reed Richards able to stand up against a being who is basically a God? The answer was in Doom’s powers.
Know that Doom’s powers didn’t come from just anywhere. They came from the Molecule Man (Owen Reece). He is one of the most powerful beings to ever exist. After all, he can manipulate, transform, and overall control the molecules of all energy and matter. His multiple variants played a key role in the incursions taking place and it was also how Doom found a solution to it.
So one would think that Doom would treat Reece well right? But that’s not what happened.
The issue was that Owen Reece wasn’t treated the best even though he was the one powering Doom. He was hidden inside the garden of Castle Doom and taken for granted. Not to mention that he wasn’t put in the best of conditions. So when Richards and Room fought, Reece obviously sided with the former hero.
As a result, he stripped away a huge majority of Doom’s power. So there wasn’t a fair fight at all. However, we should mention that the fight didn’t end in fisticuffs. For people who aren’t aware, Doom and Richards have a long emotional history with each other, and this has persevered through decades.
The big moment of the event happened when Doom accused Reed Richards of believing that he would have done better if he had the same powers. Reed conceded and said that Doom was right. He actually didn’t consider himself to be better. This worked, and once Richards conceded, Doom did the same thing. In the end, they came to an understanding.
This led to a solution where Molecule Man gave his powers to Reed. Due to this Battleworld could be destroyed. But more importantly, Reed Richards and his son Franklin would be able to reconstruct the entire Multiverse. And that’s exactly what they did, resulting in Marvel comics starting off anew.
This idea of a Secret Wars adaptation was actually teased by Thanos himself. Notice that at the end of Avengers: Endgames, Thanos realized his mistake. He said that a world that knew what once was wouldn’t ever be able to accept what has been done to it. So he would have to start from the beginning. Thus, creating a new world.
This is basically what the new Secret Wars did at the end.
Now, if the MCU adapts the 2015 Hickman Secret Wars, then there are multiple things that it will have to set up first as the building blocks of it. Thankfully, the first brick has been laid by Loki, and it’s the multiverse.
In the Loki show, the entire storyline was dependant on one idea- that the multiverse was unstable. However, the thing is- Loki showed the visual existence of a multiverse, which seemed to be pretty stable, even if went against the warnings of He Who Remains.
When He Who Remains explained this entire situation to Loki and Sylvie, he used some specific wordings for it. He said that in the 31st century, he discovered that there were parallel dimensions that were “stacked” on top of one another.
This stacking infers that there’s a tonne of weight on anyone, and if the right push is given, then the entire stack could collapse. So who might give this push? Obviously, someone hugely powerful is needed, and right now, the one character who wields that power is the Scarlet Witch.
We think that destabilizing the multiverse has probably already started thanks to Wanda exploring her trauma and grief. That power surge and her overall power up did a lot, and it will likely lead to the Doctor Strange movie- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This movie is all about the multiverse.
The title of the movie indicates that things will go wrong. Also, we should mention that since Spider-Man: No Way Home will be coming out before this, so it won’t be wrong to expect that the multiverse will play a major role there as well. After all, there are already rumors of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield showing up in the third movie of the MCU Spider-Man franchise.
So by the time Doctor Strange 2 arrives, something major will happen. We think that the main threat will be something like the Shuma Gorath. As such, it’s better to not hope for even any hints of incursions just yet. After all, the audiences require time to understand the multiverse and its concepts fully before any implosion occurs.
Also, do keep in mind that Secret Wars is likely to be MCU’s next Avengers: Endgame event. So obviously, this won’t happen overnight. There will be mini-events and team-ups coupled with character introductions before the MCU gets ready to tackle it. After all, things like Korvac, Annihilus, and Galactus have to be introduced first.
But the most important thing that has to be established first, is the Fantastic Four. And it has to be shown how important and huge their expertise is. For example, it has to be shown that Reed Richards can solve cosmic level problems. Not to mention the fact that Richards’ son Franklin ends up becoming one of the most powerful beings in existence.
Now, once the Fantastic Four have been established, then Doctor Doom needs to be introduced. Very much like Thanos, Victor Von Doom is a person who needs to be slowly built up over time. This is especially important if Marvel wants him to be God Emperor Doom in Secret Wars. The main thing is that viewers will have to connect and understand the emotional core of the character.
But MCU has experience doing that. They could make the audience understand Thanos’ motivations. After all, the mad titan thought that he was the hero of the story. Doctor Doom acts in the same way. But when written by a superior writer, the character is actually closer to being a hero than Thanos could even dream of. And it is this trait that makes the character so interesting.
He is always trying to prove himself, and this shows in how Hickman’s Secret Wars ended. So, now that we have our Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom, the MCU has to establish The Beyonder as well as Molecular Man. They are important for the event.
Now, it’s up to Marvel Studios to determine what kind of buildup they want to give them. They can even introduce them in the first part of the story if Secret Wars turns out to have multiple parts.
But these are just the basic building blocks. Other things like the X-Men and mutants will have to be dealt with. Right now, how the MCU will introduce mutants into their cinematic universe is one of the biggest questions.
As of now, Kang the Conqueror had just been introduced. So it’s safe to assume that he will be the overarching villain for multiple years. But it doesn’t seem like he will be the main villain that Marvel Studios are working towards in the long term. That is most possibly going to be Doctor Doom.
Right now, there’s no way to guess how Kang will get resolved, but it’s likely that he probably won’t have any major presence in Secret Wars or the elements that will go towards building it. Instead, he will get focused on in the coming years, but everything will get resolved somehow before the big Secret Wars event begins.
However, as always, there’s no guarantee that Marvel will take this path. After all, they might change things up. As such, it’s possible that Kang might become crucial to the incursions as well as the devastations caused. In fact, it probably won’t be wrong to say that the Kang Multiversal War will lead to the first Incursion in the MCU.
Basically, the entire Secret Wars idea will give Marvel an endless creative playground, and there are rumors already that they will be using it to its fullest. One rumor says that they might introduce Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark again as part of another universe.
Also, they have already started playing with the creative freedom offered by the multiverse in the upcoming animated What If…? Series.
Also, as one can imagine, it could spawn virtually countless Disney+ shows and comics that would explore these patchwork universes. W
Disney+’s streaming power combined with the expanded movie release quota of Marvel Studios, it’s almost a guarantee that the buildup to the next major event will be more expansive than anything fans have seen before.
Right now, the future of the MCU looks brighter than ever. And with careful planning and thoughtful characterization, we will have the next big event on our hands in no time. And thankfully, Loki has already given the groundwork for it. All that remains is for the MCU to build on it.
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