MCU Phase 4 has primarily been about superheroes passing their mantle to the next generation. However, a few titles such as No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness have teased what the next significant threat to the universe (or multiverse) could be.
If you’ve carefully watched the above-mentioned movies/TV series, you’ll see some strong hints pointing toward Secret Wars, the next Avenger-level event. Here’s a list of clues throughout Phase 4 that set up the Secret Wars storyline.
Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness made the concept of the multiverse and incursions canon. These two phenomena lie at the crux of the Secret Wars storyline.
1. Loki (Disney+ Series)
Loki introduced us to the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and depicted events outside the timeline of our universe. In the season finale, He Who Remains explains the concept of a single universe and the consequences of splitting it into the multiverse.
Despite this, Lady Loki (Sylvie) kills him and sets a chain of events in motion, the consequences of which remain unknown to us. Before he dies, He Who Remains also tells how it took him the longest time to bring the multiverse together.
He had met far more dangerous versions of himself who could end lives across universes. His words, ‘I’ll see you soon.’ foreshadowed something bigger than we’ve seen before.
This is the very first clue of the Secret Wars. Kang: The Conqueror is a variant of He Who Remains, and although he doesn’t play a significant role in the Secret Wars, he might appear as one of the smaller villains.
We will know more about him in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumannia because Kang is expected to appear in it in some capacity in the film. However, this would be part of Phase 5.
2. Spider-Man: No Way Home
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange played a significant role. He helped Peter Parker understand the concept of the multiverse and how if the universe’s barriers were broken/torn; there would be a catastrophe.
Due to the existence of the multiverse, we see the various Spider-Man villains appear in the film. Although they return to their respective universes, we see the sky tear and apparitions of different characters appearing from other universes.
This is our second clue which shows a phenomenon known as an incursion. However, we don’t realize this until much later in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
In this film, we’re introduced to the concept of incursion. Although we had seen it happen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we didn’t know it was called so.
First, John Krasinski’s Mr. Fantastic explains to Stephen how when the barriers between universes are broken or when two universes collide, it causes an incursion. Due to this, both of them would be destroyed and annihilated.
Second, Charlize Theron’s Clea appears in the post-credits scene to tell Strange that he has caused an incursion and needs to fix it. She tears open the universe, and the two enter a world that looks a lot like Dormammu’s dark dimension.
Besides this, one major clue is Doctor Strange himself. The character plays a vital role in the Secret Wars storyline alongside numerous others. So his constant association with concepts of time, space, and incursions, is an obvious hint at how significant his presence will be in MCU’s version of the Secret Wars.
4. Other Hints
In the last few years, the MCU has tried to regroup its superheroes and franchises from other studios. Among many, the most prominent ones are the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The superheroes from the two teams played a pivotal role in Secret Wars. In fact, the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom are in the center of it all (Quite literally!)
Currently, MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot and Deadpool 3 are in the works. Although none of this is part of Phase 4, the information indicates how the MCU is indeed moving towards Secret Wars, the next major Avenger-level event.
Before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released, people speculated that Phase 4 could end with Secret Wars. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case now. In fact, the MCU will take a long time to reach that part, and rightly so.
The various characters, stories, and plotlines involved require way more development. The MCU is just getting started, and Phase 4 is merely a tiny glimpse of what waits ahead of us.
The Secret Wars are some of Marvel’s best comic series. The scale at which the events are portrayed is far bigger than what we’ve ever witnessed in the superhero genre. Keeping this in mind, it’s only fair that the studio takes its time to build it.
Phase 4 is just the start of a long, long road that will lead us to Secret Wars. We’ll need to be patient and hope the journey is worth it.
6. About Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films and TV series, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
The franchise includes comic books, short films, television series, and digital series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.