Marvel's Secret Wars Shouldn't Just Be A Movie, It Should Be A Full Phase Of The MCU

Secret Wars cover
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

After many years of waiting, Marvel fans are finally getting a big screen version of Secret Wars. Given the enthusiasm that comes with Marvel Cinematic Universe crossovers and the important history of the event in the comics, it’s long felt like an inevitability, and now we are just a few years away from seeing it happen. At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, it was officially announced that Avengers: Secret Wars is in the works, and it’s presently scheduled to be the blockbuster that concludes the MCU’s Phase 6 and what’s been dubbed The Multiverse Saga.

The fact that the cinematic event is coming is exciting, and it has inspired a great deal of speculation ever since last July – but I also can’t help but feel like the idea of having the entirety of Secret Wars play out in a single feature film is thinking too small. Avengers: Secret Wars is a good place to start, but if Marvel wants to fully deliver on the immense potential that exists with the material, it should only be a beginning. Instead of being a crossover blockbuster that is designed solely to unfold in the aftermath of 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, it should be a movie that is designed to conclude with a massive cliffhanger and launch a special and unique new phase of the MCU.

Taking inspiration from the 2015/2016 Secret Wars event from the comics (instead of the 1984/1985 version), Avengers: Secret Wars is a movie that should – despite the best efforts of the titular team – end with the destruction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity as we know it. In its place could be constructed a new kind of patchwork reality called Battleworld – and within that on-screen reality, filmmakers can take all of the beloved established characters and tell any kind of story with them that they want to tell. And once all of that fun is done, just like in the comics, the canon can be reconstituted into something similar to but different than the MCU as we know it now.

Secret Wars 2015 Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

How 2026’s Avengers: Secret Wars Should Set Up Battleworld For Phase 7

In Marvel Comics in 2015, the prime universe known as Earth-616 was hit with a cataclysmic event when it literally collided with the parallel Earth-1610 (better known as the Ultimate Universe). Amid mass chaos and death and other alternate universes being destroyed, a temporary solution was forged with the creation of Battleworld: a world made up of the remnants of all the destroyed universes where multiverse variants of heroes and villains could survive.

Specific elements from Secret Wars in the comics wouldn’t work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a canon with an established history of taking liberties with adaptations), but broad strokes from the event could be perfectly utilized in the unfolding of the blockbuster Avengers: Secret Wars. Between Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, groundwork has already been laid in the continuity about the apocalyptic threat of an incursion event (a.k.a. parallel universes smashing together), and the intensity of that threat is only going to grow as the multiverse collective known as the Council of Kangs sets about trying to conquer all of reality.

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will presumably be the film that sees Earth’s Mightiest Heroes try to stop that effort, and they may very well be successful – but Avengers: Secret Wars could be the follow-up story that sees them dealing with extreme consequences. It could follow the eponymous superhero team as they make last ditch efforts to try and stop an incursion event from happening, but, in a conclusion that rivals the shocking end of Avengers: Infinity War, their efforts would be in vain and the universe would be destroyed (perhaps with the MCU crashing into the X-Men movie universe or the different Spider-Man universes). Fortunately, life could go on with the creation of a big screen Battleworld.

Battleworld in Secret Wars 2015

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

How Battleworld Can Play Out On The Big Screen

The beauty of Battleworld in 2015/2016’s Secret Wars is the extreme variety in storytelling that it invited. As part of the massive crossover and in parallel with the main nine issue event series, dozens of limited series were launched that had writers and artists telling stories set within the different regions of the patchwork world. Many were based on beloved arcs from the past (such as Old Man Logan, Planet Hulk, House of M, and Spider-Verse), but others were based on brand new and original ideas. Battleworld provided fun reading for every kind of Marvel fan and allowed for extreme creativity unbound by preexisting canon or demand to set up specifics for the future.

That idea applied to the big screen as part of a full phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the aftermath of Avengers: Secret Wars could be phenomenal. Between sequels, the launching of new movie series, and all of the Disney+ shows, the continuity has become pretty damn complicated since the launch of Phase 4, and executing Battleworld could be a way to fix that. For a couple of years, Marvel Studios could solely focus on making great, independent comic book movies/TV shows that don’t have the pressure of adding to a bigger picture – and that’s an appealing idea for many reasons.

Not having to deal with complications from the larger MCU could invite filmmakers into the fold who might otherwise be reticent to be a part of the Marvel machine. It could even be an opportunity to redeem alternate universe versions of characters (i.e. Ben Affleck’s Daredevil or Nicolas Cage’s Ghost Rider) or perhaps even open the door to making sequels that never got made (i.e. Spider-Man 4 starring Tobey Maguire). Creative possibilities are endless, and it could bring a special spark back to the franchise.

Secret Wars II Marvel Comics title

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

How An Avengers: Secret Wars II Could Fix Everything And Launch A New Era For The MCU

Perhaps even better than the awesomeness that could come out of a Battleworld phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be what comes after. In the comics (without getting into spoilers), the 2015/2016 Secret Wars ended with characters making efforts to get the universe back to normal… albeit with some key changes. For example, Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from the Ultimate Universe, sticks around in Earth-616. A new era was forged for the continuity, dubbed All-New, All-Different Marvel. It’s a kind of facelift that the MCU could use at this point.

Marvel Studios could conclude the Battleworld phase on the big screen with an Avengers: Secret Wars II, and through those events the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be rebuilt… albeit with some key changes. For example, a reboot could introduce the idea that mutants have been around for decades, therefore entrenching the X-Men into the canon with zero heavy lifting. Any continuity errors, messiness or weirdness from the past would become irrelevant. Marvel could move forward keeping everything that fans love and erasing anything we all want to forget.

All of this is just speculation, but I sincerely hope that we see some variation of this idea come to pass on the big screen. It would not only be an exciting development for audiences to see unfold, but one that would benefit the long-term health of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a franchise.

While keeping fingers crossed along with me, you can learn about everything that the MCU has in store for us in the coming years with our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides. And for a look back into the last 15 years of film and television, check out our ranking of the Marvel movies and our construction of the existing Marvel timeline.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.