Michael Waldron, the film’s screenwriter, discusses the film’s Secret Wars setup. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness functioned as the conclusion of plotlines laid out in Phase 4 projects like WandaVision, Loki, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Secret Wars, Marvel’s upcoming multiverse event, was hinted at by the inclusion of “incursions” in relation to its multiverse as a whole, which suggests that Marvel is preparing the ground for it.
Secret Wars, a Marvel event book published in 2015, was the culmination of years of work by writer Jonathan Hickman on titles like The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and New Avengers. Battleworld, a world constructed from various pieces of the Marvel multiverse by Doctor Doom, is a central location in the series, which sees the Marvel multiverse completely destroyed and then rebuilt. A big Avengers: Endgame-style event film appears to be in the works with the MCU’s emphasis on the multiverse in Phase 4 and various references to incursions in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Michael Waldron discussed the decision to include infiltrations and the implications for a potential Secret Wars adaptation. To put it another way, Waldron likened it to how Marvel introduced cosmic elements into the MCU, starting with Thor and culminating in Thanos, with the reference to “incursion.” It’s interesting to note that this is Waldron’s second hint at Secret Wars; he was previously the head writer on Loki, which hinted at a multiverse war. The words of Michael Waldron are as follows:
“Well, I guess I think of it akin to it in the way that as soon as the MCU introduced the notion of space, of going to space, they teased Thanos almost immediately. There was Thor. And then Avengers was the first movie where there was a threat from the stars. And here comes Thanos. Obviously, there was a big build from there. So I think that maybe I always thought of the multiverse as kind of like, “OK, this is space.” You know, once upon a time, the MCU left Earth and went to the stars, now we’re going into the multiverse. So yeah we’ll see what happens with these incursions. They’re bad news.”
While it’s not surprising that the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom will be making their MCU debuts in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, it does make sense that the next few MCU Phases will be devoted to Secret Wars. The main storyline of Secret Wars does not feature Captain America or Iron Man, the two most important heroes of the MCU who have also left the franchise with other heroes picking up their original mantle. However, Secret Wars is very much in line with the current MCU. As a result, new characters such as the Eternals, Shang-Chi, and Ms Marvel will have a chance to shine in the upcoming film.
During Phase 1 of the MCU, The Avengers’ teaser made it clear that The Infinity Gauntlet and an adaptation of The Infinity Rings would be where all roads would lead. No clear path has been laid out for Phase 4, which has been teased in many different ways across the franchise from the team being formed by Contessa Valentina, Allegra de la Fontaine and now with the appearance of Kang, the Conqueror.
Using these threats, it appears that Phase 4 will continue to separate the characters from each other until Secret Wars, where all the storylines will eventually come together. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may be one of the most important films for the future of the MCU, according to Kevin Feige, who recently revealed that the next ten years of the MCU have been mapped out.