We're all still waiting on that Avengers 4 trailer, but there's still loads more to come from the MCU. Avengers 4 may close the book on this iteration of the MCU, but a whole new saga is on the way! Ten years from now, it'll need its own epic conclusion on par with whatever Avengers 4 will be, and the perfect idea already exists in the form of Secret Wars, Marvel's massively successful 80's comic book event.
Anthony and Joe Russo have been working for over a year on their pair of Avengers movies to conclude Phase Three, and they are done directing MCU films once Avengers 4 is complete. However, not even the directors can resist the siren song of Secret Wars, and recently said that they would be willing to return to the MCU when it was ready to make a Secret Wars movie.
It makes total sense why the Russo Brothers, who grew up reading comic books, would be down to adapt the incredibly geeky Secret Wars. For those not up on their comic book trivia, Secret Wars is a 1984 comic book event that featured almost every major hero and villain in the Marvel universe. Officially called Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the 12-issue series found the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, and others teleported to an alien world by an omnipotent being known as the Beyonder to do battle with some of their biggest villains.
Back in the 80s, the idea that a movie adaptation featuring so many superhero characters is possible probably felt more like a dream... yet, in 2018, we all know it to be extremely possible. The MCU has been making team-up movies with The Avengers franchise, but I think that Avengers: Infinity War was the first film to truly embody the spirit of a comic book event. The Russos brought their A-game to Infinity War, drafting a movie that was massive in scale with over 20 essential characters, and that's a great warm-up for a story as nuts as Secret Wars.
It was one of the first stories to feature so many superhero characters at once on such a grand scale. It beat DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths (another influential comic book story) to shelves by about half a year.
Secret Wars lends itself to grand, blockbuster storytelling. Its got loads of action, characters and memorable moments like Doctor Doom becoming a god and Spider-Man finding the symbiote for the first time. It's a great story to end a Phase, as the heroes have to defeat their villains one last time in a no-holds-barred battle. It offers the opportunity for tons of fun and different character combinations, both for the heroes and the villains -- the latter of which rarely gets enough attention in the MCU.
For the most part, Secret Wars is a basic story. The heroes are pitted against the villains by a cosmic being with the winning team acquiring their heart's desire. It's that simple, and it makes for a solid backbone for a movie. Keep in mind that Infinity War was simply about Thanos collecting magic jewelry and the Avengers trying to stop him.
That simplicity allows for a couple of things. First off, it's easy enough for the audience to follow without getting lost in too much sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. It also allows the filmmaker time to dig into the characters and add whatever drama or complexities that they see fit. The Russos and other Marvel directors have proven themselves to be very good at keeping the basic elements of a comic book, but changing or adding things for the movie.
That's assuming that Marvel adapts the first Secret Wars story. Yep, that's right. Technically Secret Wars got two sequels and a high-profile spiritual sequel in 2015. Also called Secret Wars, it was a massive story that found the Marvel Multiverse all confined to one planet in an attempt to save all realities, with Doctor Doom as its omnipotent leader. It's very good, and I could see Marvel taking parts of it and mixing it with other elements of the original Secret Wars.
Realistically, we are probably still another ten years out before Marvel Studios is ready to tackle Secret Wars, but that works to its benefit. As mentioned above, Secret Wars has characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which Marvel legally doesn't have access to at this moment.
However, if you've been following the trades, you know that won't be the situation for very much longer! Thanks to the historic Disney/Fox deal, Marvel will gain access to the characters that Fox has been licensing. Secret Wars could be a true Marvel team-up movie featuring every major character that the studio owns. The scale is almost too big to imagine, and it would likely be toned down to logistically controllable levels for a Secret Wars film, but it's still epic.
Side note: This would mean that Doctor Doom would get to be in the movie, and he does some huge stuff in both Secret Wars stories. He straight up steals the power of the Beyonder to become a god.
That's not to say that Secret Wars is a perfect comic book. It hasn't aged super well, but maybe that's to be expected from a story that was written to sell toys. Mattel had the license to Marvel toys and pushed the publisher to create a story with all the characters together using new weapons and vehicles so that it could sell more merchandise. And it worked! While the story itself may be tougher to read nowadays, it still has an important legacy and a lot of good ideas that can be tweaked for a film.
I feel very confident saying that if Marvel movies keep moving at the current momentum, there will absolutely be a Secret Wars film (or two!). It's one of the most famous Marvel stories, and it's a favorite of Marvel Studios most prominent directors. The story captured the imagination of a lot of young readers back in the 80s, and a movie is poised to do just the same today.
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Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.