The MCU's Secret Wars Line-Up (As We Already Know It)

Avengers: Secret Wars is happening, and it will be the final MCU Phase 6 movie, as well as the 6th Avengers movie. Like Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Secret Wars will be a huge crossover event that pulls heroes from every MCU entry to battle Kang the Conqueror (the MCU's confirmed Thanos replacement). The 6th Avengers movie will be a loose adaptation of the Secret Wars comics released in 1984 and 2015. The MCU already boasts most of the heroes and villains it would need for a comic-accurate take on the story, but as it did with Jonathan Hickman's Infinity for Infinity War and Endgame, it will almost definitely put its own spin on things. The final lineup for Avengers: Secret Wars is pure speculation this far ahead of 2025 (and with so many MCU Phase 5 and 6 movies and Disney+ shows to come). However, the original comics provide good insight into who might appear in Marvel's long-awaited MCU Secret Wars adaptation.

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In the mid-1980s, the company published a 12-issue miniseries titled Secret Wars, which encompassed all the major cornerstones of the Marvel Universe. In a move that was considered unprecedented at the time, Marvel united characters associated with Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men. By using a cosmic being called the Beyonder, Marvel created dream teams of heroes and villains, pitting them against each other in a dimension of his own creation called Battleworld. Over the course of the story, Doctor Doom emerged as the primary threat, as he ended up stealing the energy of the Beyonder and using it to become all-powerful. The concept was revived for the 2015 Secret Wars comic, except this time, heroes from across the entire Marvel Comics multiverse were pulled to Battleworld, including characters like Miles Morales from the Ultimates universe and fan-favorite What If...? scenarios like Marvel Zombies. Doctor Doom was once again the villain, this time in his now-infamous God Emperor Doom form.

Related: The MCU’s Perfect Multiverse Endgame Is Now Secret Wars

Marvel has confirmed that it's building toward a big-screen MCU Secret Wars adaptation of the groundbreaking stories that changed the lives of many of its characters. Avengers: Secret Wars already promises to be a game-changing MCU event, especially since it directly follows on from Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, the movie which will no doubt bring Loki's Kang tease to a head. How The Kang Dynasty will transition into Secret Wars is still a mystery, as the original comics of the two aren't linked (Kang isn't a major player in either Secret Wars book). As of now, Marvel lacks several key players from the original Secret Wars comic, most notably from the X-Men, who play a key role in both. But, of the 39 characters selected by the Beyonder in Marvel Comics to participate in the conflict in Secret Wars 1984, a large chunk of them already have a presence in the MCU. Here’s what the Secret Wars MCU lineup could be if Marvel wants to mirror the fan-favorite Secret Wars 1984 Avengers team.

Captain America

falcon and the winter soldier sam wilson captain america poster

While Kang (or a being of a similar level of power) could theoretically pull a young Steve Rogers variant out of the Multiverse, this scenario is unlikely to ever happen now that Chris Evans has moved on from the MCU. Instead, his place in MCU Secret Wars can be filled by his successor, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Sam Wilson, formerly Falcon, has been officially confirmed as the new MCU Cap and will star in Captain America: New World Order after taking up the shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Depending on what happens in Captain America 4, his fellow heroes may find themselves depending on Sam to lead them in a battle of cosmic proportions.

Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in WandaVision

Years before Carol Danvers adopted the Captain Marvel mantle, the title belonged to Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who was an active member of the Avengers when the Beyonder brought her to Battleworld. Monica was introduced to the MCU as a child in Captain Marvel, but it wasn't until WandaVision that she gained powers. A variant of her mother, Maria Rambeau, was the Captain Marvel of Earth-838 in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The MCU has shown very little of the Earth-616 Monica, and it's likely The Marvels will significantly flesh out her story in time for Avengers: Secret Wars. After all, The Marvels will focus on her team-up with Ms. Marvel and Carol Danvers and raises the possibility that Monica may become Captain Marvel. If so, Secret Wars can act as the next step in Monica’s superhero journey by having her represent the cosmic side of the MCU.

Hawkeye

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

Despite his unfortunate reputation as “the worst Avenger,” Hawkeye was one of the seven Avengers chosen by the Beyonder in Secret Wars 1984. Secret Wars can give him an opportunity to truly prove himself by having him fight alongside the champions of the MCU against some of its most menacing villains. Moreover, after the events of Hawkeye on Disney+, Clint could also be bringing his protege Kate Bishop along for the fight. Other characters, such as Echo, are also linked to Hawkeye and now have an MCU presence, so even if the original arrow-slinging avenger isn't present himself, the MCU has several options to make sure Hawkeye's possible Avengers replacements like Kate Bishop have a presence. Since Secret Wars is a multiverse-spanning event likely to contain many Variants, there's also the possibility for a Hawkeye similar to the robotic-armed version seen in What If...?, or a version from a reality where the Avengers never rectified the finger-snap, meaning Hawkeye is still the violent, grizzled alter-ego Ronin.

Related: How Hawkeye Can Set Up The Young Avengers

She-Hulk

Tatiana Maslany in She-Hulk

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is one of the most highly-anticipated 2022 Disney+ MCU releases, but what will Marvel do with Tatiana Maslany’s She-Hulk after the release of her TV series? Other heroes on the Disney+ shows are breaking into the movies, so it stands to reason that Marvel has similar designs on Bruce Banner’s cousin. One of the most exciting options for her character is a spot on its Secret Wars roster. Her power could be a great asset, particularly with the absence of or alongside Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. Interestingly, the original Secret Wars made several changes to the Marvel canon when it concluded, and one of the biggest was She-Hulk replacing The Thing in the Fantastic Four. With the MCU Fantastic Four movie slated for a 2024 release, there's a possibility that a second Fantastic Four movie in Phase 7, after Avengers: Secret Wars, could include Jennifer Walters instead of Ben Grimm.

Thor

When some assumed that Thor: Love and Thunder would be the end of Chris Hemsworth’s character, the actor made it clear that he’s not ready to part ways with the MCU just yet. Thor is of course a no-brainer for the hero team. Besides being an original Avenger and key player in Secret Wars 1984, Thor is also one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU Avengers. When up against major threats like Kang, Earth's Mightiest Heroes will need every single powerhouse on their roster, and Thor is perhaps the strongest of them all. This was evidenced by how quickly the tide of battle turned when Thor arrived on Earth in Infinity War (even though the good guys' celebrations turned out premature). Hopefully, Odinson remembers to go for the head this time if the opportunity presents itself.

Wasp

Evangeline Lilly in Antman and the Wasp

Interestingly, the leader of the Avengers during Secret Wars in the comics wasn’t Captain America – it was the Wasp, a.k.a. Janet van Dyne. The MCU Wasp, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) doesn’t appear to be on the same path, but Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could potentially elevate her to a new role in the superhero community. Kang is also lined up to be the villain in Ant-Man 3, so Hope will leave that movie with considerably more Kang experience than other, more central Avengers like Captain America and Hulk. As the MCU builds up towards The Kang Dynasty, it's Hope and Scott Lang that will be on the front line. Wasp's Avengers: Endgame role was pretty limited, but the positioning of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in the MCU release scheduled could mean Avengers: Secret Wars sees her join Sam Wilson in calling the shots against Kang and his multiverse-wrecking plans.

Spider-Man

Secret Wars 1984 is most famous for introducing something now integral to Marvel Comics – Symbiotes. No hero was affected by Secret Wars more than Spider-Man. A whole new chapter for him was opened up by his discovery of the black suit, which turned out to be the moment that set Venom in motion. Since the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene left behind a slither of Symbiote in the MCU, it's unclear whether Marvel/Disney will follow the comics and give Tom Holland his own Symbiote suit in Avengers: Secret Wars. Ironically, the black suit emerging in Avengers 6 is now in some ways less likely, since the movie is a multiverse-crossing affair and the Symbiote left by Tom Hardy's Venom is in Earth-616 (so wouldn't require any reality-hopping shenanigans for Peter Parker to encounter). It might be that Sony/Marvel is saving the Symbiote for a Tom Holland Spider-Man 4, especially since all future iterations of Spider-Man had the Battleworld aspect of Venom's origins written out. The Secret Wars source material is still the original appearance of the black Spider-Man suit though, so the door is open for its introduction in Avengers: Secret Wars.

Related: Secret Wars Could Bring Venom Into The MCU Timeline Properly

Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds Deadpool 2 Once Upon a Deadpool

Deadpool 3 will be part of the MCU, but there's no release date yet. However, the confirmation of his migration to the Marvel Cinematic Universe opens up the possibility that Deadpool will be in Avengers: Secret Wars. Deadpool wasn’t on the original Marvel team (nor did he even exist in Marvel Comics) when Secret Wars was published, but a later retcon established that he actually was one of the Beyonder’s picks. Deadpool's presence on Battleworld was confirmed in the 2015 comic run Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars. None of the other heroes remember him being there, but it is canon. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) could be the character who prevents Secret Wars from feeling like another Avengers movie. In order for it to maintain the feel of the comic, the movie needs characters who hail from different corners of Marvel’s various franchises. Having Deadpool would bring in a character into the MCU from the X-Men movies when they were owned by Fox and would give Avengers: Secret Wars the massive scope it would need to truly pay homage to the original comics.

Colossus

Both because of and in addition to Deadpool, Avengers: Secret Wars is an opportunity to place another of the X-Men in the MCU – Colossus. Not only is Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) a key character in both Deadpool movies, he plays an important part in the original Secret Wars 1984 story. He even has a romance plotline, falling in love with an alien priestess and breaking Kitty Pryde's heart in the process (as they were a couple). Several X-Men took part in the Beyonder's Battleworld. If Marvel truly wants to leverage the multiverse and capitalize on the IPs Disney acquired from Fox, Colossus is a great option due to his central part in the Deadpool franchise and his links to the original Secret Wars comic book.

Hulk

Like most Marvel comics crossover events, the Hulk (Bruce Banner) featured prominently in Secret Wars. Just like his cousin Jen, Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) will also no doubt be included in the Avengers: Secret Wars lineup. Hulk will feature in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney+, so his likely role in Avengers 6 will probably become clearer after She-Hulk's solo series wraps up. In the Secret Wars 1984 comic, it wasn't Smart Hulk on Battleworld though, so already it's pretty obvious that the MCU Hulk will play a very different part in the big-screen Secret Wars adaptation. One thing known for sure is that Hulk's Infinity Gauntlet injury from Avengers: Endgame is fully healed.

Doctor Octopus

Spider-Man No Way Home Doc Ock

Avengers: Secret Wars will be the culmination of everything that Marvel is doing with The Multiverse Saga, but for it to work, characters from outside the main timeline need representation. Standing in for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies could be Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, a key Secret Wars villain. While his MCU stay in Spider-Man: No Way Home was brief, he could come back for a reunion with Tom Holland’s character in Phase 5. Secret Wars 2015 dealt with a multiverse incursion, where multiple Marvel Comics timelines were merged into one. If the Avengers: Secret Wars movie follows this idea, which the MCU seems to be gearing towards, Alfred Molina's redeemed Doctor Octopus could be a friendly face for Tom Holland's Peter Parker when the realities collide.

Related: 1 Raimi Doc Ock Idea Would've Killed Spider-Man 2 & No Way Home

Klaw

Klaw Age of Ultron

Klaw (Andy Serkis) is dead in the MCU, but that doesn’t matter when there's a multiverse full of Variants out there. Klaw was one of the several villains that took part in the Secret Wars 1984 Battleworld. The MCU could effortlessly reintroduce the Black Panther villain in Avengers: Secret Wars. As a character with a very unscrupulous nature, it’s not hard to imagine Klaw orchestrating a double-cross against the other villains on his team (for his own gain, of course). Andy Serkis is a highly regarded actor too, and many fans felt his stint in the MCU was far too brief. Klaw was a wasted character with much more significance in the comics than his relatively minor MCU role suggested, so breathing new life into Klaw (whose comic counterpart is literally living, self-aware sound waves) would be a great direction for Avengers: Secret Wars to take.

Lizard

The Lizard threatens Spider-Man in the Amazing Spider-Man

Rhys Ifans’ Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man returned as one of the universe-hopping villains in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Curt Connors also played a role in the 1984 Secret Wars, joining Doctor Octopus as the other representative of Spider-Man's rogues gallery in the landmark crossover event. His part isn't minor, either, and he befriends the Wasp before being wounded. When the animated 1990s Spider-Man TV show did its take on Secret Wars, the Lizard even switched sides, joining the heroes. If the MCU brings in the Lizard for Avengers: Secret Wars, they could follow a similar path to Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus in No Way Home, with Rhys Ifans playing a more morally ambiguous villain who questions his allegiance similar to his comic counterpart in Secret Wars 1984.

Enchantress/Sylvie

Unless the MCU officially introduces the real Enchantress from Thor and Avengers comics, the MCU can allow Loki’s Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) to take this spot. Her inclusion would diversify the roster by adding an Asgardian god to the mix, while also deepening Loki’s importance to the MCU’s future. It was confirmed in Loki that Sylvie's character, despite being a Loki variant, was heavily inspired by Enchantress (Sylvie Lushton) in the comics, who is not a Loki variant). Enchantress plays a relatively minor role in the 1984 Secret Wars comic, but since Sylvie in Loki was such a fan favorite, there's every chance her importance could be increased in the MCU's Avengers: Secret Wars adaptation.

Ultron

Theories about Ultron being brought back into existence by the Scarlet Witch’s power in WandaVision turned out to be false, but his chances of returning still linger. An Infinity Stone-powered Ultron variant was the chief antagonist in season 1 of What If...?, and fans have been clamoring to see James Spader voice Ultron again after his incredibly well-received portrayal in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Avengers: Secret Wars presents an opportunity to bring Ultron back to the MCU, and the Secret Wars 1984 comic sets a precedent for doing so. In the comics, the Beyonder used his cosmic energy to rejuvenate Ultron. Ultron then becomes a major thorn in the heroes' side, including injuring Hulk. It's not only the heroes who have to watch out though, as Doctor Doom also gets Ultron to kill Kang. If something comparable to that happened in the MCU, Secret Wars could fix one of the Avengers’ best villains and explore what happens when he teams up with other MCU masterminds.

Related: Doctor Strange 2 Sets Up 3 Opportunities For Ultron’s MCU Return

Titania

she-hulk show Jameela Jamil discusses how she found playing Titania

To some, the villain Titania (Jameela Jamil) joining She-Hulk: Attorney At Law sounded like an early hint at Secret Wars being in development. The superhuman villainess and classic She-Hulk foe is a Secret Wars’ original character and one of Doctor Doom’s minions in the comic. When taking into consideration the idea that not all of Secret Wars’ villains can be top dogs like Ultron and Doc Ock, it seems reasonable that characters such as Titania will be needed to fill out the roster.

Kang the Conqueror

The big bad of Avengers: Secret Wars will more than likely be Kang the Conqueror, especially since the movie directly follows Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. The MCU has been building towards Kang as the Thanos replacement since Loki season 1. However, while Kang is a major threat in the 1984 Secret Wars, it is first the Beyonder and then Dr. Doom who are the main antagonists. It could be that the prophesized war between Kang variants triggers an incursion event that's capitalized on by an MCU Beyonder (or Doom), who then creates the Battleworld for Avengers: Secret Wars. Or, Marvel could choose to use Kang in the Beyonder's place, elevating his powers beyond the comics and giving him similarly godlike, reality-shaping abilities. Either way, Kang the Conqueror is certain to be a key player in the MCU's Secret Wars adaptation.

Dead MCU Characters Who Could Return For The Marvel Secret Wars Movie

Because it will feature variants and characters from across the multiverse, several key members of the 1984 Secret Wars team who are dead in the MCU could make a return for Avengers: Secret Wars. A fair few of the most essential characters in the comic-book story arc have met their end in the cinematic universe's Earth-616, meaning they'd have to return if the MCU wanted to remain faithful to the original comic. Here is every dead MCU character that could return for Avengers: Secret Wars.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

Iron Man kickstarted the MCU in 2008, and after sacrificing himself in Avengers: Endgame, it would be fitting for Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark to return for one last hurrah at the end of Phase 6. An Iron Man return in Avengers: Secret Wars isn't just possible, it's essential if the movie is to stay true to the comic it's adapting. Unsurprisingly, Marvel mainstay Iron Man is central to the plot of the 1984 Secret Wars. There are doubtless Tony Stark variants out there who didn't die fighting Thanos, and it would be easy for the MCU to rope one in for Avengers: Secret Wars. However, with the introduction of Riri Williams in Ironheart, it's possible the MCU may substitute Tony Start for the new Iron Person legacy hero. Ironheart replacing Iron Man in Avengers 6 seems more plausible after the long-rumored Tom Cruise Iron Man variant in Multiverse of Madness didn't materialize.

Related: Who Is Ironheart? MCU's New Iron Man Explained

Mister Fantastic (John Krasinski)

John Krasinski's long-awaited debut as Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ended quickly when Black Bolt failed to release a Wanda-killing whisper from his mouth. Despite being turned into Reed Richards spaghetti, The Earth-838 Mister Fantastic could find his way to Avengers: Secret Wars. The MCU Fantastic Four movie is slated to release prior to the next Avengers film, so the MCU will have its First Family back by the time Battleworld is formed. Whether or not it will be John Krasinski in the role is uncertain, but even if it isn't, his Multiverse of Madness variant could still appear. Earth-838 still has its Infinity Stones and an uncorrupted Wanda, and Kang is known for time travel, so there are several ways the Krasinski variant could come back to life. All cards are off the table when it comes to this specific deceased MCU character, but given Mister Fantastic's integral role in the 1984 Secret Wars, it's almost certain that a version of him will be in Avengers: Secret Wars.

Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart)

Few actors feel as born to play a role as Patrick Stewart when portraying Professor Charles Xavier. First appearing in the 2000s X-Men series, Stewart is still the iconic Professor X over two decades later, most recently as the Earth-838 variant in Multiverse of Madness. While this version of Charles met a similarly swift exit from the Doctor Strange 2 Illuminati, there are as many options to bring him back for Avengers: Secret Wars. Outside of the Kang and Secret-Wars teases, the other big buildup in the MCU has been towards the introduction of the X-Men. While suspiciously absent from the Phase 4-6 release slate, a future MCU X-Men movie is inevitable. Having Patrick Stewart return at the end of Phase 6 as Charles Xavier in the Secret Wars adaptation would be a seamless way to get the emergence of Mutantkind in full swing.

Absorbing Man (Brian Patrick Wade)

A veteran of Battleworld who's also made an MCU appearance that many forget is the Absorbing Man, a.k.a Carl Creel. While the show is no longer considered canon by most, Creel (played by Brian Patrick Wade) was a key antagonist in several seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He was also referenced in background props like posters in seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Daredevil on Netflix. With Daredevil season 4 coming to Disney+, it could be that Absorbing Man is restored to the MCU after his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. death. His character makes for some great special effects opportunities, and Avengers: Secret Wars could be a way to bring him in without having to untangle the mess that is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.S.'s canon status. Absorbing Man was in the 1984 Secret Wars, so the source material warrants considering the possibility. Absorbing Man isn't a leading antagonist in Secret Wars 1984 though, which would make him a suitable option if Marvel needs a familiar face to kill off as a demonstration of the Beyonder/Kang/Doom's strength.

What If Marvel Adapts Secret Wars 2015 For The MCU?

If Marvel adapts the 2015 Secret Wars for the MCU, then all bets are off in terms of the lineup. It will likely include most characters from Phase 4, 5, and 6, but literally anybody seen in the MCU so far could show up. The 2015 Secret Wars event included pretty much every character in all the Marvel Comics canons. In this version of Secret Wars, there is no Beyonder. Instead, the various Marvel comic universes collided, and the only reason all of existence wasn't snubbed out entirely was Doctor Doom holding reality together using magic and sheer willpower. While the 1984 Secret Wars has a more straightforward lineup of characters, it does seem that The Multiverse Saga is shaping up to present an Avengers: Secret Wars that's closer to the 2015 version.

Related: Phase 4 Sets Up A Controversial Comic Plot (Without Its Biggest Problem)

The importance of variants is a big clue since in God Emperor Doom's Battleworld there are multiple versions of most characters (his personal police force is made up of every Thor from across reality). However, it's worth noting that none of the MCU movies so far have been direct comic adaptations. The participants and events of Captain America: Civil War, for example, bear very little resemblance to the Civil War comic, in which Spider-Man publicly unmasks for the cause and Captain America is killed. It's likely that Marvel and Disney will draw from both versions to tell their own unique story, and when Avengers: Secret Wars hits screens it will mark the third Battleworld that Marvel fans experience rather than a movie version of the Beyonder's or Doctor Doom's.

2022-08-06T10:47:27.000Z

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