Amid rumors about Marvel Studios making a Secret Wars movie, it’s worth pointing out that the MCU already boasts most of the heroes and villains it would need for a comic-accurate take on the story. As the first wide-scale crossover in Marvel Comics and one that’s still held in high regard by comic fans, it’s not surprising that Marvel would have it on its radar.
In the mid-1980s, the company published a 12-issue miniseries titled Secret Wars, which encompassed all the major cornerstones of the Marvel Universe. In a move that was considered unprecedented at the time, Marvel united characters associated with Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men. By using a cosmic being called the Beyonder, Marvel created dream teams of heroes and villains and then pitted them against each other in a dimension of his own creation called Battleworld. Over the course of the story, Doctor Doom emerged as the primary threat, as he ended up stealing the energy of the Beyonder and using it to become all-powerful.
Now, it looks like Marvel may be building toward an MCU adaptation of the groundbreaking story that changed the lives of many of its characters. Jim Shooter, the writer who pinned the original story, claims he’s signed off the rights to Marvel, leading to all sorts of discussions about what the studio could have in the pipeline. As of now, Marvel lacks several key players from the Secret Wars comic, especially since the MCU hasn’t even used the Fantastic Four or the X-Men yet. But of the 39 characters selected by the Beyonder in Marvel Comics to participate in the conflict, a large chunk of them already have a presence in the MCU. Here’s what Phase 5’s Secret Wars lineup could be, based on the current state of the MCU.
While the Beyonder (or a being of a similar level of power) could theoretically pull a young Steve Rogers out of the timestream, this scenario is unlikely to ever happen now that Chris Evans has moved on from the MCU. Instead, his place can be filled by his successor, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Depending on what happens in Captain America 4, his fellow heroes may find themselves depending on Sam to lead them in a battle of cosmic proportions.
Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel
Years before Carol Danvers adopted the Captain Marvel mantle, the title belonged to Monica Rambeau, who was an active member of the Avengers when the Beyonder brought her to Battleworld. She doesn’t have this position in the MCU, though. That being said, her status could change in The Marvels. After all, the title of the film itself and the focus on her team-up with Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel does raise the possibility that she may take up the name. If so, Secret Wars can act as the next step in Monica’s superhero journey by having her represent the cosmic side of the MCU.
Despite his unfortunate reputation as “the worst Avenger”, Hawkeye was one of the seven Avengers chosen by the Beyonder. If his MCU counterpart doesn’t retire from being Earth’s Mightiest Marksman in his Disney+ show, Secret Wars can give him an opportunity to truly prove himself by having him fight alongside the champions of the MCU against some of its most menacing villains.
What will Marvel do with Tatiana Maslany’s She-Hulk after the release of her TV series? Other heroes on the Disney+ shows are breaking into the movies, so it stands to reason that Marvel has similar designs on Bruce Banner’s cousin. One of the most exciting options for her character is a spot on its Secret Wars roster. Her power could be a great asset, particularly with the absence of the original Hulk.
When some assumed that Thor: Love and Thunder would be the end of Chris Hemsworth’s character, the actor made it clear that he’s not ready to part ways with the MCU just yet. If Thor sticks around, he’d be a no-brainer for the hero team. In a way, he’d represent two different groups: the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Interestingly, the leader of the Avengers during Secret Wars in the comics wasn’t Captain America – it was the Wasp aka Janet van Dyne. The MCU’s Wasp, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) doesn’t appear to be on the same path, but Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could potentially elevate her to a new role in the superhero community. She didn’t have much to do in Avengers: Endgame, but the MCU’s Secret Wars could see her join Sam Wilson in calling the shots against the Beyonder and the villains.
No hero was affected by Secret Wars more than Spider-Man. A whole new chapter for him was opened up by his discovery of the black suit, which turned out to be a game-changer for the character and the moment that set Venom in motion. Sony’s Venom movies make Tom Holland’s character taking the same route feel impossible, but if the multiverse is at play in the story, it could be what lays the foundation for his arrival in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.
Deadpool wasn’t on the original team (nor did he even exist in Marvel Comics) when Secret Wars was published, but a later retcon established that he actually was one of the Beyonder’s picks. With Deadpool 3 expected to be an MCU film, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) could be the character who prevents Secret Wars from feeling like another Avengers movie. In order for it to maintain the feel of the comic, the movie needs characters who hail from different corners of Marvel’s world.
Secret Wars can be the culmination of everything that Marvel is doing with the multiverse in Phase 4, but for that to work, characters from outside the main timeline would need representation. Standing in for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies could be Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, a key Secret Wars villain. If he survives his official introduction into the MCU in Spider-Man: No Way Home, he could come back for another round with Tom Holland’s character in Phase 5.
Klaw (Andy Serkis) is dead in the MCU, but that doesn’t matter where the Beyonder is concerned. Using his abilities, he could effortlessly revive the Black Panther villain. As a character with a very unscrupulous nature, it’s not hard to imagine Klaw orchestrating a double-cross against the other villains on his team (for his own gain, of course).
Rhys Ifans’ Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man has supposedly been spotted in the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home. If he really is in the movie, he could return in Secret Wars and provide the villain team with an interesting “wild card” character that might just switch sides.
Unless the MCU officially introduces the real Enchantress from Thor and Avengers comics, the MCU can allow Loki’s Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) to take this spot. Her inclusion would diversify the roster by adding an Asgardian god to the mix, while also deepening Loki’s importance to the MCU’s future.
Theories about Ultron being brought back into existence by the Scarlet Witch’s power in WandaVision turned out to be false, but his chances of returning still linger. In the comics, the Beyonder used his cosmic energy to rejuvenate Ultron. If something comparable to that happened in the MCU, Secret Wars could fix one of the Avengers’ best villains and explore what happens when he teams up with other MCU masterminds.
To some, Titania (Jameela Jamil) joining She-Hulk sounded like an early hint at Secret Wars being in development. The superhuman villainess and classic She-Hulk foe is a Secret Wars’ original character and one of Doctor Doom’s minions in the comic. When taking into consideration the idea that not all of Secret Wars’ villains can be top dogs like Ultron and Doc Ock, it seems reasonable that characters such as Titania will be needed to fill out the roster.
Kang the Conqueror
A multiverse villain team wouldn’t feel complete without Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who could beat out Doctor Doom for the movie’s main antagonist. Not unlike Doom, the scheming, 31st-century time-traveler could set his sights on the Beyonder’s power. The comic version of Kang failed, but if the MCU character fares better, Secret Wars could very well be the movie where Kang succeeds Thanos as the big bad of the MCU.
More: Secret Wars Is Avengers 5’s Best Multiverse Pay-Off
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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