Comics Reviews

Secret Wars Will Change the MCU but Which Story Marvel Adapts Is Crucial

Rumors and speculation suggest that the next Avengers film will be an adaptation of Marvel’s Secret Wars, but which one will fit best in the MCU?

While the acclaimed filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo brought their successful four film run with Marvel Studios to an end with 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the two directors are rumored to be helming a new Marvel Cinematic Universe. The siblings reportedly entered talks with Marvel Studios in 2020 to direct an unspecified feature film, with speculation pointing to the project being an adaptation of the epic crossover event Secret Wars. But with three different comic book stories published by Marvel featuring the Secret Wars moniker, which story would be best suited to bring to the MCU?

The original Secret Wars launched in 1984, written by Jim Shooter and illustrated by Mike Zeck and Bob Layton. An omnipotent being, known as the Beyonder whisked away the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, along with their extensive cast of villains with the simple instruction to battle each other for supremacy. The showdown took place on a composite realm, dubbed Battleworld, comprised of portions of planets around the cosmos. Despite Doctor Doom managing to seize a fraction of the Beyonder’s cosmic power, he and the villains were defeated, with everyone returning home in the aftermath, including Spider-Man in his new alien symbiote costume.

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Black Spider-Man costume from Secret Wars

The original 1984 story is the most likely to get the big screen treatment, with Shooter even claiming that he was approached by Marvel to secure the rights to certain characters he co-created, including the Beyonder. Joe Russo previously observed that he enjoyed reading the original Secret Wars comic as a child and would consider returning to Marvel Studios to helm an adaptation of the story. And with Secret Wars bringing together Marvel’s biggest superhero teams to work together, an MCU iteration of the crossover stands the chance of exceeding even Endgame‘s ambitious scope.

The success of Secret Wars prompted a direct sequel the following year with Secret Wars II, written by Shooter and primarily pencilled by Al Milgrom. The story saw the Beyonder come to Earth and attempt to live among the humans, with heroes and villains scrambling to stop the cosmic god from either inadvertently destroying the world or to take advantage of his omnipotent power. With Marvel Studios expanding its projects to include Disney+ original series, an adaptation of these events could make for an interesting television series after presumably introducing the Beyonder to the MCU in a feature film, with the premise as a sort of fish-out-of-water comedy.

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secret wars 2015

Another distinct possibility for cinematic adaptation is the 2015 crossover event Secret Wars, written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Esad Ribic. This version of the story saw all of Marvel’s various universes meshed together and reborn into a new incarnation of Battleworld ruled by Doctor Doom. A selection of heroes and villains survived this convergence, overthrowing Doom and restoring the multiverse. With the MCU steadily growing into a full-fledged multiverse, as evidenced by Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, these multiversal elements could come into play for a potential cinematic adaptation.

Marvel Studios is planning to bring mutants and the Fantastic Four into the MCU, with No Way Home director Jon Watts slated to direct the MCU’s first film starring Marvel’s First Family. A Secret Wars film would be the perfect way to not only bring the Avengers back together post-Endgame but also introduce them to both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Endgame set a bar for the MCU and the story best suited to top it while playing into Marvel Studios’ multiversal plans could be Secret Wars.

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