Look, it’s not any major secret that the MCU is stuck in something of a rut right now. After such a strong, steady start, Marvel movies were flying without a hitch essentially up until Avengers Endgame.
Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has struggled to find a hit, and branching out into streaming hasn’t made things any better. Things have gotten overly complex and inaccessible, and rewatching the Marvel movies in order has become an increasingly insurmountable task.
The best Marvel characters have been killed off, and the mess of Marvel’s Phase 5 with its multiverse stories has made upcoming Marvel movies seem effectively directionless. The recent Daredevil season 4 chaos is the perfect example of how things just aren’t working.
But, looking to the horizon, that could be set to change. The author of the upcoming tell-all book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, Joanna Robinson, has spent years digging into the behind-the-scenes work that’s gone into the MCU and has uncovered some hints at the future along the way, and Avengers Secret Wars is the key to it all. Speaking on The Watch podcast (1:09:17), she said Marvel overseer Kevin Feige wants the new movie to serve as a “soft reboot”.
“That’s exactly what Secret Wars is. We have a quote from Kevin Feige sort of implying as much. Like, Secret Wars will serve as a soft reboot in which they can prune everything,” she said. Clarifying her comments, she explained, “That’s not to use a Loki-ism. [He’s going to] prune everything that’s not working and just keep what is, or bring back people you thought were gone forever.”
That won’t be a complete shock to anyone who knows the vague overview of the Secret Wars plotline. In the Secret Wars story, different realities collide (serving as the grand conclusion in the MCU of the Multiverse arc) seeing multiple versions of famous characters from many separate universes come together to restore reality. It is, effectively, the perfect jumping-off point for a soft reboot, and for the MCU that comes at the perfect time.
It could serve as the introduction of a new Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow, each recast with different actors (or perhaps even bringing back familiar faces, to some degree). Simultaneously, the studio will be able to erase characters and plotlines that haven’t quite worked out, while retaining what has the potential to establish this new MCU reality. Maybe, if we can get to this point, the MCU will once again be able to make some of the best movies of any given year.
This is all backed up by the final chapter of Robinson’s novel (via Screen Rant) which tells us that Feige plans to keep the MCU going for a very long time, but understands that he needs to rein things in and keep it under control. It reads, “As the MCU spilled over into streaming programs and the Multiverse Saga, Feige had to learn different lessons from the comics: how superheroes periodically needed to be rebooted, how to stop variants and spinoffs from spiraling out of control, how an annual mega-crossover event could unify a disparate line of characters.”
Being honest, that sounds like precisely the kind of shake-up the MCU desperately needs. There’s simply too much (the same problem that Marvel was confronted with in the comics) and it needs to refocus on plot lines and characters who really work. When the Avengers Secret Wars release date arrives, it sounds like we should be expecting a drastic change and perhaps some genuine improvement.
For more on the MCU, you can read our feature on what the Disney Plus shows need to change to keep us hooked and learn everything you need to know about Deadpool 3 or The Marvels.
Sticking with Deadpool, see how Ryan Reynolds is attempting to address a major MCU issue, before reading our Loki sesaon 2 review.