Avengers: Secret Wars Is Setting Marvel Fans Up For Disappointment

Avengers: Secret Wars Is Setting Marvel Fans Up For Disappointment
Avengers: Secret Wars Is Setting Marvel Fans Up For Disappointment
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Like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Avengers: Secret Wars is promising cameos and crossovers on a scale it can’t possibly deliver.

At Marvel Studios’ last Comic-Con panel, Kevin Feige announced not one, but two Avengers films to conclude the MCU’s ongoing “Multiverse Saga.” Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will arrive in 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars will arrive shortly thereafter in 2026. While The Kang Dynasty will surely bring the current crop of heroes together to face the new big bad, Secret Wars is promising an even more ambitious franchise crossover event. In the Secret Wars comics (both the version from 1984-85 and the version from 2015), Marvel heroes are transported to a planet called “Battleworld” for a big superpowered skirmish. The storyline doesn’t present much of an opportunity for clever plotting or nuanced character development, but what it does have in spades is the potential for cameo appearances harking back to beloved Marvel movies both in and out of the MCU.


The whole appeal of a Secret Wars film adaptation is the ability to mix and match Marvel movie franchises. As a narrative, it’s not particularly compelling; it’s more of a reset button. In the comics, this storyline has been used to rein in the Marvel multiverse when it gets out of hand by folding the most prominent worlds into each other. The actual story is little more than a battle royale between all the known superheroes and supervillains.

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The most likely reason why Feige is using a Secret Wars movie to cap off the MCU’s “Multiverse Saga” is so he can handpick the best parts of the multiversal canon and streamline them all into a single continuity before heading into Phase Seven. If that’s the case, it’ll be Feige’s last chance to pull off surprise interdimensional appearances like the familiar Spider-Men and Spider-foes in Spider-Man: No Way Home or the Illuminati members in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so he’ll be pulling out all the stops. There are unconfirmed reports that Feige has been calling every actor who’s ever been in a Marvel Comics screen adaptation to gauge their interest in appearing in Secret Wars.

There are rumors that Robert Downey, Jr. will reprise his role as Tony Stark for a multiversal cameo and, by the same token, Chris Evans could return as Steve Rogers. Tom Holland’s Spidey could be reunited with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men after No Way Home made them a superhero team unto themselves. Hugh Jackman could return as Wolverine, Wesley Snipes could return as Blade, Halle Berry could return as Storm, Nicolas Cage could return as Ghost Rider, Evans could even return as the Human Torch – the sky is the limit. Secret Wars could give MCU fans the castings that could’ve been, like Timothée Chalamet as Peter Parker, Saoirse Ronan as Wanda Maximoff, and Bruce Campbell as Mysterio.

The potential for bygone fan-favorites and tantalizing alternative castings to appear in Secret Wars is akin to the hype surrounding Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in the months leading up to its release. With the Battleworld setting, anything is possible: Henry Cavill could play Captain Britain, Caleb McLaughlin could play Miles Morales, Emily Blunt could join her husband as Sue Storm, Emma Stone could play a still-alive Gwen Stacy with the powers of Spider-Woman. Marvel Studios is setting itself up for another Multiverse of Madness-sized let-down. Like Doctor Strange’s second solo outing, the Secret Wars movie will have its own storylines and character arcs to deal with as the conclusion of the MCU’s Phase Six, but the promise of a surplus of cameos and Easter eggs will supersede the narrative at hand.

Even after providing a veritable smorgasbord of Marvel cameos with an Illuminati line-up consisting of Black Bolt, Captain Carter, Maria Rambeau’s Captain Marvel, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and John Krasinski as Reed Richards, MCU fans still felt disappointed by the Doctor Strange sequel because it didn’t have Deadpool or Tom Cruise as Superior Iron Man or Daniel Craig as Balder the Brave. As the Secret Wars movie draws closer and closer, each Marvel fan will develop their own headcanon regarding who will appear in the film, and if the final product doesn’t line up with that headcanon, they’ll be just as disappointed as they were with Multiverse of Madness.

Viewers couldn’t just take the Doctor Strange sequel on its own terms as an interdimensional chase movie, because too much was made of the multiversal cameos and crossovers that awaited fans in the second act. Secret Wars has both more room for cameos and more important storytelling to get through than Multiverse of Madness, so it has an even trickier line to walk. The burden is on Secret Wars to be the next Endgame, topping everything that came before it and providing an immense sense of finality, but it’s setting itself up to be too messy and sprawling to hit the same emotional beats that Endgame did. Suffice to say, Feige will have to be very careful with his approach to this movie.

Avengers: Secret Wars is set to be released on May 1, 2026.

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