Marvel really wants people who’ve complained about the apparent lack of direction or focus in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to know there is, in fact, a plan — and yes, the Avengers will be re-assembled.
As part of the blitzkrieg of news Saturday during Marvel Studio’s Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, and after they had just announced their entire Phase 5 slate, Kevin Feige teed up Phase 6 and announced the titles of “Avengers 4” and “Avengers 5”: “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” followed by “Avengers: Secret Wars.”
“The Kang Dynasty” will hit theaters on May 2, 2025. “Secret Wars” will follow on Nov. 7, 2025, marking a shorter wait than the year between “Infinity War” and “Endgame.”
These two films will conclude what Marvel says Phase 4, 5 and 6 are all about: The Multiverse Saga. This is the new Infinity Saga, and it retroactively kicked off with “Loki,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
For those of you who don’t know, “Secret Wars” gets its name from Marvel’s groundbreaking miniseries “Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars.” It ran from May, 1984 to April, 1985, and happens to be the first company-wide crossover event in comics history.
The series was born when Marvel struck a deal with Mattel for a line of action figures. Mattel wanted a big splashy crossover event to hype the launch of the toys, so Marvel’s at-the-time editor-in-chief Jim Shooter came up with the idea, based on frequent requests from readers for some event involving all of Marvel’s characters.
The story is simple: A cosmic entity of unfathomable power becomes curious about Earth’s super heroes and super villains, and so he teleports Marvel’s A-list heroes to an artificially constructed planet called “the battleworld” and orders them to fight to the death. “I am from beyond! Slay your enemies and all that you desire shall be yours! Nothing you dream of is impossible for me to accomplish,” he tells them.
The simple premise heralded huge changes for the then-Marvel status quo. Most famously, the Battleworld is where Spider-Man picked up his black suit, which of course turned out to be the Venom symbiote. But the series also resulted in 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.
Of course the X-Men don’t yet exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe so if we had to guess, “Secret Wars” is how we’re going to meet them for the first time. Easy enough to have them kidnapped alongside everyone else for an echo of when Tony, Doctor Strange and Peter Parker put the Guardians of the Galaxy back in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
One thing though: The fact that Kang is the main villain of whatever Phase 4 and 5 turns out to be suggests it’s going to be him, or rather, one of the seemingly infinite time travel variants of Kang, who assembles the new version of The Avengers, instead of the Beyonder.
Speaking of Kang, “The Kang Dynasty” gets its name from 16-part “Avengers” storyline written by the great Kurt Busiek that ran from 2001-2002. In it, Kang, in a nutshell, comes back from the 30th century and actually manages to take over the entire planet earth — destroying the United Nations headquarters in the process. Of course, eventually The Avengers stop him, but at great cost.