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Incursions explained, and what they mean for the MCU’s future

During Doctor Strange 2 the Master of the Mystic Arts learned of catastrophic events called Incursions - here's what the mean for the MCU's future

What are Incursions? Doctor Strange (Benedict Cmberbatch) watches house melt and Secret Wars art

What are Incursions? Doctor Strange 2 saw the Marvel Cinematic Universes’s Master of the Mystic Arts pushed to his limits to save the multiverse from disaster. But while Strange was working hard to stop a Darkhold corrupted Wanda from committing inter-dimensional child trafficking, Sam Raimi’s new action movie may have revealed an even greater threat than Thanos.

The Illuminati warned Strange of a mysterious and cataclysmic event known as an Incursion. This seemingly apocalyptic calamity caused the deaths of trillions and led the superhero team to execute their version of Strange for the crime of causing it. But what are Incursions, and what do they mean for the future of the MCU?

Well, we’ve done some digging into the concept and broke down exactly what Incursions are, what causes them, how you can stop them, and the intriguing possibilities these reality ending catastrophes pose for coming MCU movies. Read it while you can. After all, as the Avengers learned, everything dies, even universes.

What are Incursions in the MCU?

According to The Illuminati of Earth-838, Incursions are the collision of two separate universes which result in one (or both) of these realities being destroyed. While the exact mechanics of how this happens are left to the audience’s imaginations, we glimpse a world undergoing an Incursion towards the film’s end.

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Sinister Strange’s home reality appears to be coming undone and sucked into nothingness. Visually it looks very similar to what happened to Strange Supreme’s reality from What If…?

The exact cause of an Incursion is implied to be the presence of a being from a different reality. We know that the Earth-838 Strange caused one by Dreamwalking and The Illuminati seemed to believe the presence of Earth-616 Strange and America Chavez alone was enough to threaten their dimension.

What are incursions: Two planets collide

What are Incursions in Marvel comics?

In the Marvel comic books, the exact mechanics of an Incursion are better explained. Like in the MCU, they involve the collision of two realities, but they are not caused by interdimensional travellers. Instead, the Incursions are part of a sinister plan by a group of super-powerful being known as the Beyonders who want to wipe out all of reality.

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The Beyonders deliberately began the contraction of the multiverse, causing different planes of existence to collide with Earth in every reality as the centre point. When other parallel realities start to collide, there’s an eight-hour window during which the parallel world can be observed in the sky at a specific point on Earth.

The Incursion can be stopped during this time, which doesn’t seem to be possible in the MCU. This can be done by destroying one of the colliding Earths before they hit each other.

Doing so will save both realities, although one will have lost its version of Earth. Unlike in the MCU, Incursions in the comics slowly accelerate. Each Incursion causes the multiverse to contract more, causing more Incursions, compounding the problem.

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Eventually, in the comics, this led to the infinite multiverse being completely wiped out. Although someone managed to save a few crumbs of reality and build a new strange world. If you want to know more check out Jonathan Hickman’s seminal Avengers run.

What are Incursions: Secret Wars cover

What Incursions may mean for the future of the MCU

This brings us to what Incursions may mean for the MCU. We don’t think Kevin Feige and the Marvel brain trust would have introduced Incursions in Doctor Strange 2 as a one-off reference. No, we believe they were introduced to set up the next MCU’s next big story arc, Secret Wars.

You see, in Secret Wars (The 2015 version at least), the person who managed to save reality from annihilation wasn’t an Avenger, an Eternal, or even Spider-Man. It was the Fantastic Four’s arch-enemy, the dangerous Doctor Doom.

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The exact specifics of how he did this aren’t important (he gets god powers), but basically, Doom manages to glue together the scraps of different dimensions into a new planet he names Battleworld. He then installs himself as the god-king of this new planet and calls it a day.

This doesn’t sit well with the few remaining heroes who survived the apocalypse, and they challenge Doom, eventually defeating him. Reed Richards takes on the god-like power the not so good doctor possessed and uses them to reboot reality forging a new multiverse in the process.

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Marvel’s been flirting with the idea of Secret Wars for a while now, with the Russo Bros – who directed Infinity War and Endgame – both saying they’d love to take a crack at it. Heck, even Benedict Wong told The Digital Fix he wanted to see the story done one day. We think it’s a perfect contender for a possible Avengers 5 – it’s epic, tragic, and heroic all at once. Plus it has the potential to smooth over a huge MCU problem.

By reforging different multiverses into one new cohesive ‘Sacred Timeline’ to borrow Kang’s terminology, we could retroactively bring mutants and the Fantastic Four into the MCU. It would also allow Marvel to pick and choose what they want to keep from the X-Men movies and what they want to reboot. So you can have your Deadpool 3 cake and eat it too while ignoring whatever the hell New Mutants was supposed to be.

If you want to know more about the future of Marvel check out our guides on Avengers 5 and the Fantastic Four MCU movie.