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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

The MCU May Be Heading for a Major Reboot After Secret Wars

This week's Your Nerd Side Show:

Avengers: Secret Wars is one of the most highly anticipated films in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Currently slated to hit theaters in 2027, the film will bring an end to both Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga in one epic confrontation between the Avengers and an unknown enemy on Battleworld. While audiences still know very little about the upcoming sixth Avengers film, including who will direct the project, this hasn't kept them from theorizing about what may occur in the epic crossover event. Among the most prevalent theories out there is that Secret Wars will act as a complete reboot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The upcoming film is based on one of Marvel Comics' biggest multiverse events of all time, Jonathan Hickman's Secret Wars. The 2015 comic book crossover acted as a soft reboot of the Marvel Universe, kicking off a fresh era wherein certain things were changed to better serve future storylines. For example, characters from the Ultimate Universe, including Miles Morales, found themselves transplanted in Earth-616, allowing them to be present for future stories in Marvel's main timeline. This, coupled with recent complaints about the quality of the MCU's Multiverse Saga projects has led some viewers to claim that Avengers: Secret Wars is the perfect occasion to reboot the franchise and start fresh.

How Avengers: Secret Wars Will Reboot The MCU

There are endless theories about Avengers: Secret Wars and the effect it might have on the franchise--and the idea of an MCU reboot seems to permeate many of these suggestions. Secret Wars will be a massive multiversal event, likely tying together characters and storylines from multiple universes outside of the MCU, including Fox's X-Men movies and Sony's multiple Spider-Man franchises. Additionally, the film and its predecessor, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, will also feature the time-travelling Council of Kangs, who seek the conquer the Sacred Timeline and, by extension, time itself. With universes crashing into one another in massive incursion-level events, time-traveling conquerors making a mess of the timeline, and cosmic forces at play, it wouldn't be difficult for Secret Wars to rewrite the MCU timeline entirely in a soft reboot.

It is also expected the MCU's multiverse will end in Secret Wars, with jumping between different universes no longer being possible after the film. While it is unclear precisely how this would come about, it does make sense from a storytelling standpoint, especially since the multiverse's continued existence would only complicate future MCU sagas. If the universe is about to undergo a change this massive, a universal reset might be the natural result of the multiverse's collapse, giving birth to a new Sacred Timeline that is similar to that of the MCU with a few key changes. This would allow the MCU to start fresh with its third saga, no longer bogged down by past canon and the intricacies of the multiverse.

What An MCU Reboot Could Look Like

A reset would prove especially helpful for the MCU's upcoming X-Men reboot, which will finally introduce mutants to the franchise. By resetting the timeline, Marvel can retcon its history so that mutants have always been present, allowing the X-Men to co-exist alongside teams like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Furthermore, the MCU can use this opportunity to introduce new versions of old characters like Tony Stark, Captain America, and Black Panther, who have previously been written out of the franchise. Not every character would need to be recast, however, with relatively recent heroes like Tom Holland's Spider-Man, Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel, and Simu Liu's Shang-Chi making the jump over to the newly rebooted MCU.

A rebooted franchise could feature multiple new superhero teams that lead the MCU, working side-by-side to protect the world. In addition to the Avengers, the new MCU can introduce seasoned versions of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Inhumans, Thunderbolts, and more. This would result in a film and television universe that is far more similar to that of the comics, with hundreds of superhumans all co-existing together. Such a move would also allow select individuals from alternate universes to make the jump over to the MCU, including Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool. A new world can be introduced in Marvel's post-Secret Wars era while skipping over the years of set-up that would be required under other circumstances.

Does The MCU Really Need A Reboot?

While Marvel Studios has not confirmed a reboot, it is clear that Phase 4 and Phase 5 disappointed some MCU fans. In the midst of several very well-received projects, including Spider-Man: No Way Home, Loki, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, there are also been several movies and series that ultimately didn't land with most audiences, including Secret Invasion, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Although a few underwhelming projects don't immediately constitute the need to reboot an entire franchise, a fresh start would be the easiest path forward for the MCU. In so doing, the franchise could rewrite its entire history, wiping out everything that fans didn't like and keeping everything that they did.

However, as controversial as the MCU's post-Endgame movies have been, rewriting the entire franchise as a result could be perceived as the "easy way out" for Marvel. Rather than obliterating the timeline in favor of a soft reboot, the MCU might earn more respect by working hard to regain the public's favor. Contrary to what many naysayers may claim, the MCU is still far from becoming unsalvageable. In fact, it would only take one or two projects to tie together the franchise's many loose plot threads into one cohesive narrative. Nailing the remainder of Phase 5 and delivering an epic Phase 6 lineup would be more than enough to win audiences back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, perhaps rendering a reboot in Secret Wars ultimately unnecessary.

Marvel Studios has a massive decision ahead, as it faces an opportunity to reboot the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Secret Wars. An opportunity like this may not ever come again, making Phase 6 the last chance for a reboot of any sort. Even so, Marvel should be wary of taking the easy path out of its current slump, or risk alienating fans by rewriting too much of the franchise's beloved history.

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