Avengers: Secret Wars Will Be the Riskiest Team-Up in Marvel History

Too big to fail.

Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanssen, and Sebastian Stan in Avengers: Inf...
Marvel Studios

For the past five years, Marvel’s been working overtime to solve one dilemma. How do you top Avengers: Endgame? So far, no tactic has managed to stick. Going back to square one and introducing new Avengers left its cinematic universe unfocused and crowded. Marvel’s attempt to give those new characters their own Thanos also backfired on every level. It took way too long to establish an Avengers-level threat in Jonathan Majors’ Kang, and by the time the character gained a foothold, Majors was convicted of reckless assault and harassment. Marvel swiftly cut ties with the actor, and its multiverse era has been in limbo ever since.

The studio has yet to share its recovery plans, but insiders have hinted at a massive retooling behind the scenes, and Marvel’s scaled-back release slate reflects that. It will take much more for Marvel to recover its place in the pop culture pantheon, but the studio may have an ace up its sleeve.

Deadline reports that plans for Avengers: Secret Wars are finally taking shape. While another Avengers film (formerly known as The Kang Dynasty) is technically coming out first, there’s much more riding on Secret Wars, and Marvel is apparently pulling out all the stops for it. Per Deadline, the film will swing for the fences in adapting its comic book source material. Over 60 MCU characters could reprise their roles, and there’s also talk of making Secret Wars a true ensemble piece, giving a larger number of characters equal footing in the adventure.

Secret Wars could double the number of characters we’ve seen in a single MCU film.

Marvel Studios

In the comics, Secret Wars follows the destruction of the multiverse itself. Multiple realities converge into one realm, where heroes and villains from every corner wage a massive battle (in Jonathan Hickman’s 2015 run, which could influence the film, they’re mostly fighting Doctor Doom). In theory, we could see deceased characters return, from the original Avengers to Thanos himself. Secret Wars could also feature variants of characters we know and love. Think Spider-Man: No Way Home on a much larger scale.

The idea of a sprawling crossover event has been driving a lot of hype for Secret Wars, but executing a faithful comic book adaptation won't be easy. Avengers films are hard to get right, and the team has only grown since its last outing. Infinity War and Endgame had their hands full with 40 characters, and though the films succeeded in giving their core Avengers group a satisfying arc, they had very little room to do it. Chris Evans, who led one team as Captain America, only had seven minutes of screen time in Infinity War before Endgame gave him a proper sendoff.

Perhaps Secret Wars’ ensemble approach will fix the screen time inequality of the Avengers films. It won’t be easy — especially for a movie that could feature multiple villains alongside its heroes — but if it succeeds, maybe Marvel can finally escape its Phase 5 slump. If it fails, however, “superhero fatigue” might become chronic.

Related Tags