BY MATT TUCK
Marvel Studios may be preparing for an MCU Secret Wars, and Loki could have just set the stage.
THE RUSSOS’ BIG TEASE
The rumors and speculation have been churning for Secret Wars for a year.
After Endgame broke global box office records, Joe and Anthony Russo announced they were done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The lauded directors of four of Marvel’s biggest hits - Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame - were moving on with their careers. That is, unless they get to direct one particular Marvel Comics adaptation: Secret Wars.
Last year, the directors spoke with IGN, explaining the intrigue of a massive crossover the likes of which Infinity War could not compare. “To execute something on the scale of Infinity War was directly related to the dream of Secret Wars, which is even larger in scale,” Joe Russo said in the 2020 interview.
Since the comments caused a stir on the internet, nothing else has come from either Russo or Marvel. For over a year, all was quiet on the Secret Wars front until Loki dropped what could be a massive hint.
WAR OF THE MULTIVERSE
During the first episode of Loki, the God of Mischief found himself outside the confines of reality within the headquarters of the Time Variance Authority. There, Miss Minutes explained the job of the Time-Keepers (but in actuality, it was He Who Remains/Immortus/Kang) was to preserve the Sacred Timeline. Where did this Sacred Timeline come from? A multiversal war between timelines that nearly destroyed the entire Multiverse.
Following the conclusion of Loki, it is safe to assume that the multiversal war Miss Minutes spoke of was an interdimensional battle between an infinite number of Kang variants. He Who Remains, then, got his name by being the last variant standing, thus keeping the other timelines at bay in order to maintain relative peace between universes.
When Sylvie killed He Who Remains, he warned that she was opening the door for his many variants, all of whom are more evil and vengeful than him. That means Sylvie’s actions throughout the series have shaken the MCU to its core. First, she created the time-bombs that caused multiple branches across the Sacred Timeline. Then by stabbing He Who Remains, she created yet another timeline that allows the infinite Kang variants to begin a new multiversal war that could once again reset the Marvel reality.
The stage is now set for another war of the Multiverse, and it appears that is where the MCU is now headed. Ever since Thanos was snapped out of existence, the MCU lacked the same direction as the earlier phases with the Mad Titan as the linchpin. Not only did Loki establish Kang as the next universal threat, but the multiversal war is coming, and it could pave the way for a power even greater than that of the Time Master’s, the Beyonder.
One important detail to note is that the Beyonder is already coming to the MCU. Laurence Fishburne has been cast as the Beyonder’s voice in the upcoming Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. While a cartoon may not seem important in the grand scheme of blockbuster movies and massively successful Disney+ series, an animated kids’ cartoon could quietly introduce one of Marvel’s most powerful beings.
In the comics, the Beyonder first appeared as a white light and a voice in 1984’s Secret Wars #1. He then transported a team of heroes and villains to Battleworld where he waited to see which side would emerge victorious.
Could it be that, in the MCU, this war between opposing factions to decide the fate of the Multiverse was conducted by the Beyonder? It would be fitting for this to be the reason for casting someone of Fishburne’s caliber to a cartoon with the idea of a greater purpose ahead.
For years now, fans have floated many theories and speculation on how Marvel Studios would incorporate Doctor Victor Von Doom into the MCU. He has already been seen in three different Fantastic Four movies, all of which were forgettable. In the comics, Doom has been a key figure in all three Secret Wars, and it would be hard to imagine him being left out of an SW adaptation.
Since the original SW, the Beyonder has been established as a controlling force in all the Multiverse. Every time we have seen the Beyonder, Doom is there to steal some of that power for himself. In some cases, he even grays the line between hero and villain as he seeks to dethrone the Beyonder and end his destructive games.
One of the most popular versions of Doom came from the 2015 version of Secret Wars. After finally taking power from the Beyonders (this version had more than one), the Multiverse was collapsing, which sounds an awful lot like what Miss Minutes had described. Doom stepped in and took the power for himself, becoming God Emperor Doom in order to save what he could of the Multiverse. He then forged a new reality from the remains of the dying universes, and it turned out to be a Game of Thrones-type adventure.
Replace Doom with either Kang or Immortus, and we could have the basis for an MCU version of Secret Wars looming on the horizon, but I feel certain fans would prefer to see God Emperor Doom.
MARVEL SUPER-HEROES’ SECRET WARS #1
When it comes to Secret Wars key issues, there is no replacing the classics. For decades, the only issue in the series that was truly coveted among collectors was SW #8, the first appearance of the alien costume that would become Venom. As the MCU tends to do, the prospect of new faces has elevated other SW comics to key status, namely SW #1. This issue features the first appearance of the Beyonder, who could very well be a major presence in the multiversal war that is looming.
For the past three years, this issue had been slowly gaining respect, at least for a 9.8. In 2019, it averaged $167, but the past 90 days have seen the fair market value rise to a whopping $714. That will be small change if the Beyonder is moved into the live-action realm after he debuts in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
MARVEL SUPER-HEROES’ SECRET WARS #10
Another issue that is heating up is SW #10. As far as the story, there is nothing especially significant that makes it a key. This is mostly valuable for the cover art, and a Secret Wars adaptation in the MCU could see this image on the big screen in one fashion or another.
Over the past year, prices have nearly tripled for the 9.8. Just last year, the FMV stood at $120, but the past three months have seen the average jump to $300 with a high of $476. Throughout June, it was consistently earning $400 or more.
SECRET WARS #2
As unlikely as it may seem, it is nonetheless fun to imagine God Emperor Doom (or perhaps God Emperor Kang) taking control of the Multiverse. That would make SW #2 from 2015 a very hot issue as it was the first appearance of God Doom. There have not been many sales for this issue, but that could change in a hurry. At a 9.8, it has averaged $108 over the past 12 months, though the last sale was in January for $46.
SECRET WARS #3 COKER VARIANT
As best I can tell, this is the first cover appearance of God Emperor Doom. Technically, this is cover 3E and was a Tomm Coker incentive variant. In the age of cover hunting, this could be a great pickup, especially now while prices are low. No one has purchased a graded 9.8 since 2019, and it sold for only $19 then. You can’t even get it graded for that cheap.
THE SECRET MULTIVERSAL WARS
After the events of Loki, anything is possible in the MCU. No matter how far fetched an idea may seem, there is nothing off the table. Could the coming War of the Multiverse be an adaptation of Secret Wars? The prospect is too intriguing to ignore.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.