According to Marvel Studios, the MCU Phases 4-6 are officially called "The Multiverse Saga" - and it's clear certain stories lie at the heart of this epic timeline. It's long been clear the multiverse was key to the future of the MCU, but the scale of it all was only revealed at Marvel's San Diego Comic-Con panel 2022. There, Marvel unveiled their full MCU Phase 5 slate - and revealed their next endgame. Everything is building up to Avengers: Secret Wars, an epic named after a story in which the entire multiverse collided.

In truth, it's long been clear the MCU was headed for Secret Wars; this was the most logical endpoint for the multiversal focus, and the only question was really about the timing. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a major step along the way, even introducing jargon lifted straight from the setup for that story - notably incursions, the multiversal collisions that ultimately brought about the end of all that is. According to Doctor Strange 2's post-credits scene, the Stephen Strange of Earth-616 unwittingly caused an incursion of some kind, and that presumably involves his own universe.

Related: Everything We Know About MCU Phase 5 Now: Story, Timeline & More

Viewers have rightly complained that Marvel's Phase 4 has seemed relatively disjointed. Looking ahead to MCU Phase 5, that still appears to be the case, because it's difficult to see exactly how some of these stories fit into the Multiverse Saga. Still, the following films and Disney+ TV shows appear to be crucial to the MCU's overarching narrative.


Scarlet Witch in WandaVision

The first MCU Disney+ TV series, WandaVision was undoubtedly also the first step in the Multiverse Saga. It's notable for officially transforming Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff into the Scarlet Witch, a being who would unlock the multiverse in real-time, and it also introduced the term "nexus" - albeit failing to give a definition. WandaVision released to popular and critical acclaim, but looking back it serves as evidence of the lack of planning behind the MCU's Multiverse Saga - the Scarlet Witch arc isn't consistent, and it's still unclear what nexuses have to do with this particular story. Still, it's a first step along the road, even if the MCU did change direction a little.

Loki Season 1

Loki Episode 6 Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains

The Multiverse Saga continued to build up momentum on Disney+ in Loki season 1, which establishes the basic rules of the MCU's multiverse and sets up variants of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror as its primary villain. This reveals the timeline is naturally chaotic, and even the smallest decision - such as a person being late for work - has the potential to create a branching timeline. Unfortunately, the multiverse will naturally skew toward conflict and potential self-destruction as the inhabitants of different timelines discover one another, and the show gradually revealed this is because of different variants of Kang the Conqueror. The winner of the last multiversal war, He Who Remains, established the Time Variance Authority to prune branched timelines and retain just the one "Sacred Timeline," but by the end of Loki season 1 he was killed by Sylvie - and the branches began to spread out once again.

Marvel's What If...? Season 1

Captain Carter And Crew In What If Episode 1

Marvel's What If...? took advantage of the story possibilities offered by the multiverse, exploring branching timelines and revealing He Who Remains was right to believe the multiverse to be dangerous, when one variant of Ultron learned of other timelines, and became a threat to every reality. The science was still uncertain - some of the temporal mechanics discussed in Marvel's What If...? season 1 clash with those established in Loki, although the showrunners didn't seem to realize that was the case. Still, What If...? season 1 impacted the main MCU by setting up so many narrative ideas.

Related: Why Do MCU Phases Last Only 2 Years Now?

Spider-Man: No Way Home

An image of Peter 1, Peter 2, and Peter 3 standing on the scaffolding in the Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home was the next step in the Multiverse Saga, delighting viewers by taking advantage of the multiverse to bring three different iterations of the big-screen Spider-Man together for the first time. It offers the possibility that every previous Marvel film and TV series can be part of the same multiverse, meaning Secret Wars doesn't just feature the MCU - it can serve the same narrative role as the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths, drawing in characters from previously established franchises. The film surely positions Spider-Man as a key player in the Multiverse Saga (even if Spider-Man was absent from Comic-Con 2022), which makes sense. In the comics, the Spider-Men are connected to the Web of Life and Destiny that holds the very multiverse together. Marvel's SDCC announcements didn't contain any mention of Spider-Man, of course, because the film rights still sit with Sony - so these films wouldn't be for Marvel to announce. Still, it's almost certain Tom Holland's Peter Parker will be involved in some way.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

America Chavez and Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness served as something of a multiversal road-trip for Stephen Strange, introducing viewers to a new universe of Earth-838. It revealed traveling through the multiverse is a hazardous endeavor, with the potential to cause devastating incursions in which entire universes are destroyed. This raised the stakes of the Multiverse Saga, revealing just how dangerous Kang's multiverse war could really be. Although Scarlet Witch was killed (in theory), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hinted her rampage had caused real damage to the fabric of the multiverse, with a post-credits scene seeing Strange summoned to help deal with the problems that had been caused. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is also important in that it introduced viewers to Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez, a being apparently unique in the entire multiverse who possesses the power to punch portals between dimensions. She's sure to be a key figure in the Multiverse Saga.

Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania New Poster

Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania is the first film in MCU Phase 5, and it's clearly the next major step in the Multiverse Saga. It will see its various heroes investigate the Quantum Realm, and it's presumably there that they will come face-to-face with a comic book-accurate Kang the Conqueror. There's been some speculation Loki's Time Variance Authority is based in a Quantum Realm city glimpsed in Ant-Man & the Wasp, drawing the narrative threads together.

Marvel's What If...? Season 2

The watcher Guardians of the multiverse What if

What If...? season 2 will clearly continue to develop the Multiverse Saga, releasing sometime during the first quarter of 2023 - and Marvel has already signed up on a third season. The second season will feature another Captain Carter story, a timeline in which Odin battled the Mandarin, and one in which Steve Rogers somehow seems to have defeated Thanos before he could snap his fingers. What If...? season 1 actually launched a spinoff series, so it will be interesting to see whether season 2 is successful in the same way.

Related: What The Rest Of Marvel's Phase 4 Looks Like

Loki Season 2

Loki and Morbius at the TVA in Loki

The ending of Loki season 1 revealed a variant of Kang the Conqueror had already taken over the Time Variance Authority. It's currently unclear whether season 2 will pick up where season 1 left off, or whether those particular narrative threads will be picked up in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania. Still, whatever the case may be, it's clear this is going to be a crucial part of the Multiverse Saga and it's fitting the God of Mischief and chaos-maker Loki will be in the middle of it.

Agatha: Coven of Chaos

Agatha Harkness floating in the air in WandaVision

Witchcraft and sorcery have been strongly linked to the multiverse in the MCU, and Agatha: Coven of Chaos - due to release in winter 2023 - is the only sorcerous story confirmed so far. This will feature Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness, and a recent retitle suggests the story could pick up on the theme of Chaos Magic. In the comics, Chaos Magic was created by the Elder God Chthon, name-dropped in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the first demon in the MCU. The book of spells called the Darkhold may have been destroyed by Scarlet Witch, but its dark magic could still remain to further damage the fabric of the multiverse.

Marvel Zombies

Marvel Zombies logo

The first spinoff from Marvel's What If...?Marvel Zombies continues a timeline in which exploration of the Quantum Realm unleashed a zombie virus on the world. At first glance, this animated TV series - Marvel Studios' first R-rated release - seems as though it's simply an exploration of a variant timeline. But the narrative thread of the Quantum Realm may mean it has a tie to Kang the Conqueror, and it's even possible the zombie virus is one of Kang's weapons.

Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four is clearly being positioned as a crucial part of the Multiverse Saga, with Marvel confirming Fantastic Four will launch Phase 6 in 2024. In the comics, the Fantastic Four are a group of cosmic explorers who become some of Kang's greatest enemies. They're also strongly tied to the 2015 Secret Wars epic, which will serve as the climax of the entire Multiverse Saga. Marvel is yet to confirm any details about the new Fantastic Four, but they are potentially being set up as the MCU's greatest heroes.

Related: Now We Know Why Marvel Wanted Fantastic 4 Before MCU Mutants

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Kang from Ant-Man & the Wasp poster and Kang Dynasty cover

Phase 6 will include not one Avengers film, but two. The first, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, is clearly set up as a spectacular multiversal epic. It's named after one of the most important Kang stories in the comics, where he successfully conquered Earth, with the Avengers forced to serve as something of a resistance movement. It's likely the differences between the comic book and MCU versions of Kang mean this will only serve as loose inspiration.

Avengers: Secret Wars

Avengers Secret Wars Kang SR

The Multiverse Saga will come to a head in Avengers: Secret Wars, titled after another comic event - one where all of Marvel's different timelines collided into one reality called Battleworld. In the comics, this was ruled by Fantastic Four foe Doctor Doom, but it's possible Marvel will switch things up in the MCU, with Kang as ruler of the entire multiverse and all the various heroes desperately attempting to overthrow him. If the MCU version of Secret Wars is anything like the comics, it will be even greater in scale than Avengers: Endgame.

More: Why MCU Phase 4 Is Ending With Black Panther 2

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