The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the coolest, biggest, and most entertaining things out there. It's got Iron Man, Spider-Man, basically all of the cool "Man" characters (outside of Super and Bat). But Marvel doles out its secrets in tiny bite-sized portions, leaving us scrambling after any and all clues. Normally, at very least, the titles of the movies are announced years beforehand, but with the next two Avengers movies, Marvel is playing it close to the vest. Originally, both had one title, but after that ended, Marvel has kept the second Avengers movie's title hidden... But why? What could it be? What movie could follow Infinity War? Well, the only answer seems to be Secret Wars.
Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina's 2015 Secret Wars event was the culmination of years worth of Marvel stories that ended with every single Universe in the Marvel multiverse being absolutely destroyed with nothing but one small planetoid left in the rubble. It was a place called Battleworld where characters from across the Marvel Multiverse came to fight -- hundreds of different Steve Rogers, thousands of Hulks, an entire squad of Thors. It was a huge climactic event that irrevocably changed the Marvel Universe forever. And that's exactly why it HAS to be the Untitled Avengers flick.
15 BATTLE OF THE PHASES
Marvel -- to put it bluntly -- really loves it when its heroes punch each other in the face. The characters have been doing it practically as long as they’ve been around. Whenever two heroes meet, instead of a handshake, it’s three punches to the face and a kick in the spleen. With Secret Wars you’d have the chance to have heroes fighting heroes but in a more interesting way.
When Secret Wars happened, it involved dozens of heroes fighting each other… and other versions of themselves. Imagine an older Iron Man fighting against the new hardened one, or maybe an alternate universe Iron Man flying into battle against the Avengers -- but a different group of people he’s never known before. It would be all out war on a scale that Captain America: Civil War could never hope to match. Honestly, what sounds better than that?
14 END OF AN ERA
Secret Wars -- the new one, not to be confused with its 1984 progenitor -- was the end of an era. At the close of its first issue, the entire Marvel multiverse blew up, with the Ultimate and the main Marvel Universe (616 if you're nasty) blowing up, leaving nothing behind. It was the definitive end of an era, which is just what this new Avengers film needs to be!
C’mon, this movie can’t just be aliens from space flying through a portal: it needs to be something epic, something that feels like it costs more, is worth more than all of the other adventures the Avengers have been through. It needs to be something more extreme than the Guardians have faced either and considering they’ve saved the galaxy -- twice! -- it’s got to be big... very, very big. End of the multiverse big!
13 MARVEL LOVES EVENTS
If there’s one thing Marvel loves more than characters punching each other, it’s event comics (with characters punching each other more often than not). The MCU has been designed off of, and ceaselessly stolen titles and plotlines from, huge event comics like Age of Ultron, Civil War and now Infinity Wars. Why stop there?
What possible chance is there that this new Avengers film won’t have an incredibly awesome, heart-stopping event title like all the others? Well, given the history we've just outlined, THERE IS NO CHANCE. So what event would work better to mark the end of an era than the comic about ending an era? We know it’s going to be an event title… it just makes the most sense for it to be Secret Wars.
12 EVERYTHING (INCLUDING CONTRACTS) ENDS
In movies, sadly unlike in comics, characters we know and love have to change. A large part of this is because the actors playing them are real people who also would love to do new things, play new roles, or just roll around in their huge piles of Marvel money. At the end of Avengers: It Doesn’t Have a Name Yet, a lot of heroes’ contracts will be up. So why not kill them off here? Where better than on Battleworld, fighting for the Universe? Of course, there’s also the nicer way.
At the end of the most recent Secret Wars series, most of the Fantastic Four family took off into the multiverse and haven’t been heard of since. Something similar could happen. Perhaps some heroes could leave Earth and go exploring other realms or even stay behind on Battleworld to protect the Earth. This would be a noble ending that wouldn’t end the chances of those characters coming back at some point.
11 RETURN OF RED SKULL
Another great thing about Secret Wars is that since it has a ton of multiversal content, Marvel won’t be restrained to using characters it has introduced and kept alive. So, for instance, we could get a lot of older villains reappearing. Did anyone say Red Skull? Yes, we all did, shouting it to the heavens with righteous indignation that such a vile (yet expertly-portrayed) villain was taken from us too soon.
When Red Skull first “died,” a huge legion of fans insisted he was gone but not dead and would soon return; something many fans thought would be fixed in Winter Soldier. It’s obvious why -- because he’s so cool (and SO evil). With Secret Wars having a multiverse slant to it, Red Skull could come back, a good Obidiah Stane could come back, there could be a girl Loki -- more villains for everyone!
10 COOL CAMEOS
In addition to the multiverse opening up the possibility to villains, it would also open the door to endless cameos. Maybe we could see a Tobey Maguire Spider-Man swinging around or, who knows, even a David Hasselhoff Nick Fury. But -- better yet -- this would provide Marvel with a key to showing other Marvel franchises that Marvel Studios doesn’t own yet.
What we’re getting at is this: if you want Wolverine to fight alongside the Avengers, why not introduce the idea into something as grand as Secret Wars? This would enable him to pop in for a split-second cameo without endangering his rights, or folding the character FINALLY into the MCU. If you don't think this will be perfect, you are wrong. Sorry about that.
9 OPEN THE MCU
Of course in addition to all the cool villains and cameos, there’s another awesome thing that would happen if Secret Wars spilled the multiverse into the MCU. We would finally get a multiverse in our MCU. Imagine how many endless stories you could tell if you weren’t restricted to the same Universe. DC has doe this in its DCEU, thanks to all of the TV properties and movies, so why not Marvel?
You could even introduce some of the weirder characters -- like Spider-Gwen! -- into the MCU by having them travel between dimensions. Plus, with multiversal travel a possibility, it could make stakes higher and you could bring in new villains from other worlds, making them seem an even larger threat than before. It wouldn’t be just the universe at stake -- but all Universes.
8 COSMIC EARTH
So far, the Earth hasn’t had much experience with the cosmic side of the Universe. Sure, Doctor Strange had to fight a demon from another Universe and there’ve been quite a few aliens, but there’s no communication with other beings currently. Earth doesn’t have a team devoted to dealing with extraterrestrials and no one is working off-world.
However, with Secret Wars, all of that could change. If the entire multiverse was threatened and then the heroes of Earth saved it, that would bring them a lot of attention, ramping up the threats a dozen-fold! Also, Thor wouldn’t be the only alien who regularly shows up on Earth. Using Secret Wars as template for the next Avengers film would provide an easy way for Earth heroes to realize that they need to expand and connect with other cultures "out there," so they can be ready for whatever the next threat is.
7 INFINITY GAUNTLET (TIMES TEN)
The Infinity Gauntlet -- in the comics -- has the ability to change everything: literally everything. Much like its most notable wearer Thanos, it is one of the most powerful tools in existence and has the power to fight (and often kill) a God. If Thanos has it, that’s a problem, and if Thanos doesn’t... that might be an even bigger problem.
Both Secret Wars deal with godlike beings called Beyonders who were so powerful that -- essentially -- they created the multiverse in order to do experiments on it. They’re also responsible for Cosmic Cubes -- aka the Tesserect -- which means that the Infinity Gauntlet is tied to them as well. The Beyonders are responsible for both Secret Wars occurring, so if Thanos uses the gauntlet it could bring their attention as well. More than that, though, the gauntlet and Thanos are both key components to Marvel cosmic, but having a bigger stick saved in the power closet would make the threat level progression truly legit.
6 EVERYTHING CHANGES
According to the daddy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Fiege, after the next, untitled Avengers movie, everything will be different. Well, what makes things more different than colliding every single universe together and then battling on top of the remains? Secret Wars was used to mark an end of one huge era and the beginning of another. It would work perfectly to do the same here.
More than that, having the entire Universe end -- and begin again -- would change the MCU more than anything has since the Battle of New York, and far surpassing it. Who would be steady in the face of an infinite sea of possibilities cascading out of every decision and visible but just barely out of touch? Secret Wars would mean changes for everyone involved, and that's a good thing!
5 EVERYTHING EVOLVES
Another great thing about Secret Wars is that when it ended, the Universe had to be put back together again… and when it was, things changed while at the same time shining a fresh light on what existed before. While we all pretty much adore it now, the MCU wasn’t always as loved. It had Iron Man 2, it had The Incredible Hulk, and even aside from those two films, there have been some missteps. With the chance to reboot the Universe in continuity, Marvel Studios could change it however the studio wanted.
This provides Marvel an amazing opportunity to make it all different -- introduce more heroes and perhaps most importantly, recast actors. We already mentioned that a lot of actors' contracts are up, but that doesn’t mean their characters need go away -- especially not if the characters’ Universe is rewritten. Couldn’t that mean that they would look a bit different too? After Secret Wars, Marvel Studios would have the chance to do the softest of reboots on the MCU -- making it even better.
4 IT'S A [SPOILER]
Now, we’ve been calling it Avengers: It Doesn’t Have a Name Yet... but it does actually have a title. The problem is that none of us know it yet… because it’s a spoiler. Yes, the title is being withheld from us because if we found it out, it would ruin the ending of Infinity War. You know what might be considered a huge spoiler? If you knew Infinity War ended with the entirety of time and space exploding. That could be considered a huge spoiler.
That, of course, is what happens in Secret Wars. If the title really is Secret Wars, then knowing that would tell you -- at least in broad strokes -- what’s going to happen in Infinity War: someone is going to use the Infinity Gauntlet to change things, someone is going to try to set it right, something bad is going to happen, chaos, madness… Battleworld. Then, Secret Wars.
3 THOR CORPS
The Thor Corps is a large, multiversal police corps that is inhabited entirely by Thors. It’s objectively the coolest thing to happen to any comic ever. But it also would help solve a small problem that seems to be developing. Judging by the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, Mjolnir isn’t going to be in a great place by the time Infinity War comes around. But what’s a Thor without his hammer? Well, that’s where Secret Wars comes in.
During Secret Wars, one of the Thors dies and throws his hammer hard enough that it travels past the battlefield. Eventually, our Thor (well, one of them -- the unworthy Odinson dude version) finds it. This would be an excellent way to get Thor’s power low enough that things seem to be a threat and also an amazing moment for the MCU. Imagine it -- a whole field of hammers, left there by the dead Thors. The Avengers come and Thor, Natasha, and Captain America all grab hammers and fight. It’s enough to bring a tear to your eye just thinking of the possibilities!
2 THANOS: THE INFINITY HERO
Corvus Glaive (pictured left) is one of the newer members of the comic book realm. He works with the Cull Obsidian, members of Thanos' Black Order, helping him destroy entire worlds. But more importantly than that, eventually -- along with Thanos and some other members of the Cull Obsidian -- he becomes a member of the Cabal, a team dedicated to first preventing Secret Wars and second reversing it once it does happen. What does that have to do with the next Avengers movie? Oh, well, he was seen on set (or someone who looks and acts just like him at least).
The most likely explanation is that he’s there as part of Thanos’ team trying to put together the Gauntlet, but we still don’t actually know why. In some comics, Thanos isn’t actually a villain -- he’s almost a hero. That would make sense, with some comments saying Thanos is the main character of Infinity Wars. What if he’s not trying to destroy the Universe but use the Infinity Gauntlet... to save it?
1 ONLY PROPER ENDING
Of course, above all the other reasons for having Secret Wars, is that nothing quite matches the beauty, the splendor, the weird comic book-y magnificence of its creative team managed majestically created. It is arguably the best event comic ever made, at least in recent years. Nothing less but the best for the MCU right? From Civil War to Winter Soldier to Extremis to Planet Hulk, Marvel has taken nuclei of ideas and built them up into amazing things: Secret Wars would be no different.
There’s simply nothing that would work better as a capstone to this first movement of the Marvel Universe than for it next move to be Secret Wars; an epic, all-encompassing explosion of cinematic splendor that would, like many of the Marvel joints before it, change everything. And we don't just mean superhero films, but in the action movie genre -- this would change things... forever!
What do you think? Will Secret Wars come to change the landscape of the MCU, or is this just our excitement getting the better of us? Let us know!