If there’s one thing fans have been dying to know over the SDCC weekend is: what is next for our Marvel heroes? The current Phase 4 slate of Disney+ streaming shows and slew of movies have throttled on to great success but those looking for deeper narratives have been questioning the overall direction for the upcoming Marvel Phases.
Well, as announced at SDCC 2022, Phase 5 and Phase 6 will build toward two major Avengers movies, titled The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Collectively, Phase 4 to 6 will be known as The Multiverse Saga. Whilst little is known about both projects, we know a good place to start – the original Secret Wars comics. That said, here’s all you need to know about Secret Wars and what that means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
What is The Kang Dynasty?
The Kang Dynasty is the Infinity War to Secret Wars‘ Endgame. It gets its name from a 16-part Avengers storyline written by Kurt Busiek. Running from 2001 to 2001, the story sees Kang coming back from the 30th century and taking over the entire Earth – destroying the United Nations headquarters in the process. The Avengers try to stop him but as usual, it comes with a great cost.
The Kang Dynasty feels like a film that Marvel has been building toward throughout Phase 4. Loki introduced a variant of Kang the Conqueror, He Who Remains, in the season finale and the variant, played by Jonathan Majors, hinted that there are other more dangerous variants of himself, hence the trajectory towards a multiverse. It was previously announced that Majors will also play Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. With season two of Loki now in production, the time-traveling conqueror, or versions of him, is likely to be a threat in the series too.
We’re still almost four years away from The Kang Dynasty, and it seem inevitable that the big bad will successfully take over the Earth (or many Earths,), causing the Avengers to band together once again – as of now we have Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk /Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Captain America/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) leading the super team.
Phase 4 has also introduced new heroes that could pretty much form the new Young Avengers too, including America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Kid Loki (Jack Veal) and the latest, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). If not, there’s always the likes of Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and newcomers Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and Moon Knight/Marc Spectre (Oscar Isaac) who would definitely step up to help save Earth too.
On a side note, one of the original founders of Young Avengers is Iron Lad, a younger version of Kang who wanted to do good. In another storyline, Kang’s identity is also that of Nathaniel Richards, a descendent of Reed Richards, Richards is of course one of the Fantastic Four, and a planned movie is slated to kick-off Phase 6 of the MCU. Coincidence? We don’t think so.
So if this is what may happen in The Kang Dynasty, what about Secret Wars then?
What is Secret Wars?
If The Kang Dynasty sees the might and potential fall of Kang the Conqueror, Secret Wars may be his revenge plan or the putting an end to the villain once and for all. It also helps that there is source material for us to refer and speculate what may happen in the movie.
And just so we’re clear – Marvel Comics has reused the Secret Wars name many times since the 80s’ but were referring to the original 12 issue maxi-series.
Before Thanos and the great Endgame story (which we preface, turned out very differently from Thanos’ comic book storyline), Secret Wars was the biggest crossover event in comics history. The story ran from 1984 to 1985 and sees a cosmic entity known as the Beyonder, who has become fascinated by the presence of superheroes on Earth and kidnaps Marvel’s A-list heroes by teleporting them to an artificially constructed planet called “Battleworld,” where he orders them to fight to the death against a number of villains led by Doctor Doom.
The simple premise was major event for Marvel Comics then, as it is famously known as the storyline where Spider-Man picked up his black costume, which of course, turned out to be the Venom symbiote. It also sees She-Hulk replacing The Thing as a member of Fantastic Four, some interpersonal drama among the X-Men, and The Hulk sustaining injuries that restored his uncontrollable rage-version.
Behind the scenes, toy company Kenner requested Marvel Comics roll out a massive comic book series for its upcoming range of licensed toys, giving fans the crossover they never knew took place.
What Does This Mean For The MCU?
Perhaps, instead of introducing the Beyonder, Kang the Conqueror will be the one to take our heroes and villains to the battleworld. Kang is a highly anticipated villain who has been hyped as the next big bad after Thanos – maybe, even more vicious than Thanos. This is especially since his name is in the title of the fourth Avengers movie. We can also anticipate the movie to be packed with surprises and cameos in the way Infinity War and Endgame brought a large band of heroes together to defeat Thanos.
That said, there are plenty of ways this could go. Remember, right after Thanos showed up at the end of Avengers, most fans assumed the MCU story would follow the comics and have Thanos falling in love with Death. While that was considered, Marvel Studios took a different approach, and Infinity War and Endgame ended up serving as largely original stories based on the Infinity Gauntlet comics run.
This track also allows the MCU to perhaps incorporate the subsequent Secret Wars comics into The Multiverse Saga, but that’s all speculation for now.
All in all, even if The Kang Dynasty and Kang the Conqueror are just a stepping stone to a much bigger villain for Secret Wars, fans are definitely in for a treat (well, fingers crossed).
Are The Russo Brothers Directing The Movies?
Fans have the Russo Brothers to thank for the spectacle that is Infinity War and Endgame. Thus far, no other superhero event – Marvel or not – has been able to top the work of these two brothers. Unfortunately, they will not be directing the upcoming Avengers films.
That might be disappointing news to fans, but it also allows perhaps a different perspective on the adventures of both the Avengers and the villains in the new phases without the Russo brothers’ involvement, with 2025 still a long distance away.
When will The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars be out?
As per Marvel Studios’ announcements at SDCC, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is slated to release on 2 May 2025 whilst Avengers: Secret Wars will take to the screens on 7 November 2025.