Avengers 5 could be a "Secret Wars" movie that writes Spider-Man out of the MCU. The last couple of months have been tense ones for Marvel fans; the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home was overshadowed by the end of the partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, and even the Spider-Man cast were expecting to carry on with just Sony. Fortunately, the two rival studios returned to the negotiating table, and agreed to two more movies involving Tom Holland's wall-crawler that will be part of the MCU. They include Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 and an as-yet-unidentified MCU cameo.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted that the new deal could allow Sony to fulfill one of their long-term objectives; incorporating Spider-Man into their villains universe, which was successfully launched with Venom. "[Spider-Man] also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes," he observed, "so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold." Since then, there have been reports that Feige plans an endgame that will write Spider-Man out of the MCU, presumably seeing him jump to an alternate dimension where he can cross paths with Venom and the like. If this is accurate, then it means the new Spider-Man deal comes with a time limit. These could be the last days of Spider-Man in the MCU.
It's reasonable to assume that Spider-Man's last appearance in the MCU will be a big deal, and there's a lot of speculation that it could be Avengers 5. Could this be inspired by the "Secret Wars" arc in the comics?
Secret Wars Was The Ultimate Marvel Multiversal Event
Written by Jonathan Hickman and with art by Esad Ribic, 2015's "Secret Wars" event was probably the biggest story Marvel Comics has ever published. It envisioned the collapse of all time and space into a single fused reality, ruled over by Doctor Doom, who was attempting to keep this last fragmented world stable. The Multiverse's last survivors all lived on this so-called "Battleworld," which included zones based on many of the most prominent Marvel alternate timelines. In the end, the Fantastic Four successfully broke through Doctor Doom's control, and the tremendously powerful Franklin Richards recreated the Multiverse proper. "Secret Wars" was a stunning epic, and it had a long-term impact on the Marvel Comics universe. Some characters, like Miles Morales, jumped from one reality to another; new alternate versions of Mjolnir were left in the mainstream Marvel Universe; and even entire places, such as Weirdworld, made the jump.
There's been lots of chatter about the possibility of doing a Secret Wars movie in the MCU. Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, writers of blockbuster hits such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, have openly said they'd love to write a Secret Wars film. The Russo brothers - who directed those two films - have also said they'd return to Marvel for Secret Wars. There hasn't been any official comment from the likes of Kevin Feige, but it certainly sounds as though there have been conversations about the possibility at Marvel Studios.
The Multiverse Is Crucial To The MCU's Phase 4
The Multiverse may have been a hoax in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but the "real deal" is clearly important to the future of the MCU. The Multiverse was subtly introduced through the Thor films, and played a pivotal role in 2016's Doctor Strange. Avengers: Endgame developed the idea further, introducing a range of alternate timelines. Significantly, Doctor Strange 2 is called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and will feature Scarlet Witch in a prominent role, possibly rewriting her to give her abilities a Multiversal edge. There have been reports that Disney+'s Loki TV series will end with the Loki of another timeline making his way into the mainstream MCU, complete with Mjolnir, explaining how Jane Foster wields the hammer in Thor 4.
Doctor Strange 2 director Scott Derickson recently shared a comic book panel on social media that suggests how he interprets the Multiverse. In order to explain its concept of the Multiverse, Doctor Strange #21 envisioned Earth as at the center of an infinite sea. Alternate Earths are essentially just one swim-stroke removed from the center; the further away you go, the more the laws of nature change, and there are even pocket universes such as Mephisto's Hell or Odin's Asgard. The Dark Dimension is one of the more distant, and inimical to conventional life, with more spatial dimensions than our standard universe. This portrayal corresponds well with the MCU as a whole, and gives a sense of just where Marvel seems to be going.
Marvel is well-known for planning ahead, and they typically operate to a detailed five-year plan. Given that's the case, it's reasonable to assume the studio is building up to something; and the most likely possibility is a Secret Wars event, possibly as Avengers 5.
How Secret Wars Could Write Spider-Man Out Of The MCU
This would be the perfect way to write Spider-Man out of the MCU. As noted, in the comics, the "Secret Wars" event ended with some dramatic changes to the main Marvel Universe timeline, with characters, objects, and even places shuffled from one reality to another. The MCU's version could work the other way round, with Peter Parker written out of the MCU and introduced into a new timeline altogether. Done rightly - perhaps with Spider-Man emerging as the one who somehow saves the Multiverse - it could be a final, triumphant end to Spider-Man's MCU story. This would fit perfectly with Feige's comment that Spider-Man has "the superpower to cross cinematic universes." That could be exactly how Peter Parker's MCU journey is intended to end.
Surprisingly, there is comic book precedent for Spider-Man being crucial to a Multiversal story. In the comics, spider totems are tied to the Multiversal Web of Life and Destiny, which binds all time and space together. On Battleworld, the various spider-powered heroes all sensed that something was wrong with Doom's reality, and they became natural insurgents, fighting to restore a degree of normality. It's interesting to note that Sony is reportedly interested in developing this idea, with recent surprising news of a Madame Web film in development. Madame Web's precognitive powers are based on the ability to sense the various strands of the Web of Life and Destiny. It could be that Sony is considering this because they know that, when the dust settles from Avengers 5, they'll have access to Spider-Man - but will also have the Web of Life and Destiny introduced as a plot point as well.
At the moment, the reports that Spider-Man will be leaving the MCU are unconfirmed. But it's certainly worth noting that Marvel appears to be heading in a direction where that could be achieved with surprising ease; meaning it really is possible that Avengers 5 could be Secret Wars, explaining how Spider-Man jumps from one reality to another.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022