We knew that the MCU was heading towards a finale in Avengers: Secret Wars long before Marvel confirmed the film’s title. We were already in the multiverse; that much was clear. Secret Wars was the only way to reconcile the loose ends and close the saga.
Once Marvel announced Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, alongside the titles of many Phase 5 and 6 projects, we also learned that we were in the Multiverse Saga.
Therefore, everything that’s happening right now in the MCU, the good and bad, will lead to Secret Wars. Even the incredibly bad Secret Invasion is part of the story. And I’m sure Kang will still be the overarching villain no matter which actor ends up playing the character.
With that in mind, a report claiming that Spider-Man 4, Deadpool 3, Shang-Chi 2, and Fantastic Four will set up Avengers: Secret Wars should not be surprising either. Of course that’s what’s happening. But I’ll explain why that’s exciting nonetheless. Some spoilers might follow below.
Avengers plot holes
While all the events between Endgame and Secret Wars will set up the latter, there’s a big problem with the MCU right now. Well, we have several issues, come to think of it. The quality of some of the Phase 4 and 5 projects and the special effects are some of them. But the big issue concerns the Avengers or rather the lack of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Marvel has been going out of its way to avoid bringing the Avengers up in these stories. To make us want to see these MCU movies and get to Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars without giving us Avengers interactions. That’s not how things work in these universes, and I’m talking about both real life and the MCU reality.
The Avengers are so big you can’t have them go missing in action only to explain outside of the movies and TV shows that the Avengers group does not exist after Endgame. It’s why I kept saying throughout Phase 4 that the Avengers are a big plot hole of the MCU after Endgame.
As much as Marvel wants to repeat the Infinity War–Endgame success with Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, it’s failing to provide the key connective tissue. That’s the involvement of Avengers or Avengers-related events. You don’t have to have all Avengers in the same story to provide that context.
The Avengers were a novelty during the Infinity Saga. We only started expecting the Easter eggs, the cameos, and the credits scene teasers along the way. And they all helped advance the story. Marvel needed fewer titles to get to the point, too. After all, there was no Disney Plus at the time.
The Avengers were also new to the MCU world, a universe that started to realize the potential of super-powered individuals.
But now their presence is expected. Both the fans require it, and the MCU universe. Ms. Marvel is a good example of that, by the way. She-Hulk too. The Avengers are hugely important for the world. And hugely absent.
You’d think that access to streaming would let Marvel dive deeper into the story than ever, including exploring ties to the Avengers. But that’s hardly what’s been happening here.
We’ve rarely seen Avengers try to intervene. At most, they team up, and it’s only a few of them at a time.
One example would be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where we’ve had more than one Avenger involved. And one of them was the villain. Then there’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, which featured a couple of them, though one was tied down for most of the time.
Pairing Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in Hawkeye is another example. Then we have Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The Marvels is the most recent crossover, which features Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). Interestingly, The Marvels is also one MCU project that gets us closer to Secret Wars. Just like No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness, while I’m at it.
But for the most part, the MCU has been telling standalone stories in the Multiverse Saga. We got to see superheroes in action on Earth or other galaxy places, which is great, of course. The Avengers can’t be together all the time.
Marvel went out of its way to pretend the events we were watching did not happen in a world where some of the remaining Avengers would be available to intervene. And it stopped itself from providing more meaningful links between the Multiverse Saga stories made so far.
The road to Secret Wars
That’s why a rumor saying that Spider-Man 4, Deadpool 3, Shang-Chi 2, and Fantastic Four will set up Secret Wars is exciting.
But the report from insider Daniel Richtman implies we’re going to get a more cohesive story. We’ll start seeing the links between the various movies and shows and the endgame, which is Secret Wars. It’s not guaranteed, of course, as this is just another rumor.
Again, this doesn’t mean featuring beloved Avengers cameos just for the sake of it. However, Marvel tried to bring up Avengers while marketing The Marvels during the actors’ strike. That was practically proof that Marvel hasn’t handled the Multiverse Saga well so far. Marvel felt it had to resort to Endgame nostalgia to sell tickets. There was little organic interest in The Marvels, although the actors’ strike didn’t help.
I would argue that The Marvels is one of the most important MCU titles so far when it comes to setting up Secret Wars. We’ve seen the incursions teased in Multiverse of Madness starting to happen. We’ve seen that big X-Men cameo that practically confirms the mutants are coming to the MCU. It all happened during a credits scene, and it’s part of the connective tissue missing so far.
There’s also Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Loki, which are key events for the Multiverse Saga. And Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has already explored the multiverse in No Way Home.
Loki, by the way, is above all else. It’s a must-watch to understand what’s happening in the MCU right now.
Deadpool 3 should further advance the multiverse story, with rumors saying it’ll explain how the TVA is recruiting a superhero army to fight Kang. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) will be on that team.
As for Spider-Man 4, Shang-Chi 2, and Fantastic Four, there haven’t been many leaks yet. Still, Spider-Man 4 will be a soft reboot. Let’s remember the world forgot who Spider-Man is. The Avengers will have to meet him again and recruit him once more.
All that is to say that I’m still excited about what the MCU could be while we approach Secret Wars, despite the state of the MCU since Endgame. But for that to happen, we need more interesting connections between the stories and characters.
We need these future Avengers to meet and interact before The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars happen. And above all, we need to see the overarching villain at play more. More than we saw Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the Infinity Saga before Infinity War premiered.