It’s almost too much to comprehend. Then, you add in the fact this is the first true comic I’ve read cover to cover in over ten years. Marvel’s Secret Wars is a lot to take in, especially if you’re coming into it cold. There are many characters I was unfamiliar with, background information I had to look up, it’s not a book I’d recommend diving into without some research or prior knowledge. I had to read most of it twice in order to fully grasp some of the concepts. But once I did, Secret Wars is quite fascinating.
And of course, with Avengers: Infinity War under a year away, the hype is building up for the events that are set to transpire as Thanos aims to complete his infinity gauntlet and rule Earth. My goal of reading Secret Wars was to get some insight for what could occur after the Infinity War. And after a lot of googling, reading into things a few times and taking some time to step back, I think I’ve got an idea.
I’ll do the first half of this without spoilers, but I’ll need to dive into spoilers at some point to fully grasp some of the ideas that jump into my head.
To understand where I’m coming from with some of these ideas, I’ll give you a quick recap on the plot of Secret Wars. Essentially, the Marvel Universe (current day) was a part of multiple universes, the multiverse, which has been touched on already in the MCU in Doctor Strange. However, in Secret Wars, the multiverse collapses and we’re brought into the book with two universes remaining, the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe. The story is driven by a war between these two universes, and eventually, they both destroy each other. However, the most unlikely of heroes (or possibly villains?) saves fragments of both destroyed universes to create a world of his own. Doctor Doom, with the help of Doctor Strange and Molecule Man are able to will their own world together, with certain things varied, multiplied and changed. For instance, there isn’t one Thor in this new world called “Battleworld,” there’s an entire army of him. There’s also an entire army of Hulks, and there’s varied concepts of Manhattan, Wakanda and the SHIELD on the planet as well. And it’s all run by Doom. Essentially, Mr. Fantastic (from both the Marvel and Ultimate Universe) save a handful of heroes from each of their respective universes to rise up together and take down Doctor Doom and his estranged world.
Now, with that in mind, there’s a lot of red flags that come to mind when we talk about taking this story and inserting it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Number one, they don’t have the rights to half the characters. The Secret Wars story revolves around Doctor Doom and Mr. Fantastic. While there’s tonnes of characters from many storylines, it all whittles down to Doctor Doom replacing Mr. Fantastic in his new world. There’s also some X-Men in the fold like Cyclops and Nightcrawler, who would also not be included in the cinematic version of this story. It should also be noted that there is no way that Marvel will stick entirely to the source material from Secret Wars, they will take elements and blend them into the current cinematic storyline, much like they did with Civil War. That being said, there’s definitely some key elements that the MCU will take from Secret Wars, and could use as their next “big conflict” in the fallout of the Infinity War.
The biggest thing that the MCU can take from Secret Wars is the concept of it all. After all, we’ve seen foreshadowings of death rearing its ugly head for some of Marvel’s biggest superheroes. What Secret Wars could do for some characters, is bring them back in an alternate dimension. It sounds very crazy for where we are in the current MCU, but eventually, there will be no more Iron Man stories to tell, or Captain America standalone films left to do. So, you kill them off with a bang in Infinity War (I don’t know that, but there’s a chance) and you have the chance to bring back the big names in alternate dimensions or realities. While they would still have to survive the events that transpire in the alternate universe/dimension, it would be a chance to revive certain characters and bring them back into the fold.
On the other side of the coin, we could see new characters be introduced through the new multiverse. We could see Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man, or a female Thor, or an army of Hulks like we see in the comics. There aren’t many standalone characters you can build solo movies off of, but still some dream characters that Marvel fans thought they’d never see.
So to begin my whole theory of a way to incorporate the Secret Wars into the MCU, lets just say that Thanos wins the Infinity War. Thanos destroys everyone and everything on Earth. Iron Man? Gone. Spider-Man? See you later. Nick Fury? Sayonara. However, in a last ditch effort, Doctor Strange is able to travel through dimensions and time to try and change the events that would transpire on Earth in the Marvel Universe. Somehow, Strange would have to save each hero one-by-one until he can fully change the events and overturn Thanos’ victory. Doctor Strange’s origin story opened up the idea of Secret Wars coming into the MCU possible. And if the MCU does bring elements from Secret Wars into the fold, it’ll be Strange at the forefront of it.
What further backs up my theory is that it’s rumoured that there will be two movies for Infinity War. It’s not clear if both will be titled as Part 1 and Part 2 or separate films entirely, but it seems like the story will seep from one film into another at the very least. My vision of how things will go down in the MCU is; the first film, Thanos reigns supreme. He dominates the Avengers and planet Earth, and it appears it will be his after all. Luckily, we get a glimmer of hope at the end of the film, as Doctor Strange manages to travel through dimensions and give us some hope that the war isn’t over by the end of the movie. The second film could be our heroes’ retribution. Strange rounds up our band of characters, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Thor, all of your household heroes through travelling dimensions and time to take back Earth. In the end, our heroes defeat Thanos (don’t have to kill him off if you want to save him for the next phase) and retake Earth, but not without its casualties might I add.
This would be the perfect lead into a Secret Wars story, much like what they’ve done with Infinity War, and play it up as “the huge event” that feels like the climax of years of films. While using the multiverse to save the Universe, contorting time comes with consequences and creates new issues for not only earth, but the galaxy, and the multiverse. These issues cause the multiverse to be broken down, much like in the comics. Until there is two, the Marvel Universe, and the Ultimate Universe. They see it as a war to end all wars, for one to stand triumphant. However, with the infinity gauntlet recovered due to an altering in time during the Infinity War, a given antagonist (preferably Doctor Doom, but Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, pick your villain) uses the infinity gauntlet to destroy both universes and create their own planet from the remnants. Then, you can read the comics for yourselves to see how things unfold.
Okay. Yes, they have to come to an agreement with 20th Century Fox, but with Spider-Man proving that Marvel can work with Sony and other companies, it isn’t a complete mistake to rule out that Marvel could be able to use the X-Men and Fantastic Four by the time these films would be released. And if you can’t get the rights in time, characters within the plot can be replaced, I just think Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom at the forefront of the story is something unique that we haven’t seen (and may never see) in the MCU.
Okay, I managed to get pretty far without spoiling anything, so I’ll keep this part brief.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SECRET WARS COMIC
Okay, so in the end of the comic, essentially, order is restored and with Molecule Man betraying Doctor Doom at the end of the film, Molecule Man and Mr. Fantastic restore a new universe, much like the Marvel Universe before the Infinity War and before the Multiverse collapsed. Only this time, the two universes (the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe) are squeezed together as one, or those that remain anyways.
Using this idea, MCU could create a whole new universe in the fallout of Infinity War or whatever comes after it. Now, I’m sure your brain has been scrambled by now, and Marvel would have their work cut out for them in terms of making this all make sense to a casual fan, but, it could be their last resort once they tell the tales of all their current heroes.
OKAY SPOILERS OVER, TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE QUICK.
In closing, if you haven’t read Secret Wars, go read it. Again, wouldn’t recommend it to you if you’re just getting into comics like me, but it’s a terrific story. Some of the concepts in the comic might be too far fetched for the MCU, but it’s hard to deny they’re not going to take some key concepts into their plans after the Infinity War. The Secret Wars ended nearly 75 years of continuity in Marvel’s comics, and began a brand new universe in Marvel. For the MCU, using the Secret Wars could move the MCU from “Phase 3” to “Phase 4” or even further down the road. Regardless, if you want to know where the MCU could take Doctor Strange and the Avengers after the Infinity War, reading Secret Wars will give you some ideas to how it’ll all play out.
Are you confused yet? Maybe I am too.