For over 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a fixture in popular culture, a success story that other companies have tried (and failed) to emulate. With no shortage of interconnected stories and a clear set of overarching ideas, the blockbuster franchise is built for exploration and examination.
While Marvel and Disney are generally very protective of their films, they’re known to drop several teases at once with little to no context. Some of the more recent bombshells were the reveals of several key entries in the forthcoming Phase 5 and 6 of the MCU.
While most of these movies now have titles, there is still so much we don’t know. Here are the most pressing questions we have about Marvel Phase 6.
1. Where is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man?
Tom Holland’s presumed absence throughout Phase 5 will surely be felt as we move deeper into the Multiverse Saga. As much as we want to see him again, we also know how intentional Kevin Feige and his creative architects must be in figuring out where/how Spidey can appear next. This begs the question: Will we see Holland’s Spider-Man again before Phase 6 wraps everything up?
Spider-Man: No Way Home ends on a somber (and faintly hopeful) note. After sending the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, the Lizard, Electro, and Sandman back to their respective realities, Peter Parker finds himself utterly alone. The cost of his mistakes is high; getting his enemies home means erasing himself from the memories of his loved ones. It’s a heartbreaking trade-off that simultaneously opens the character up to countless new possibilities and throws his MCU future into question. They can do anything with him, which also means they can leave him be.
2. Who Will Be the Villain of Fantastic Four?
The long-gestating Fantastic Four movie remains shrouded in mystery. Jon Watts had originally signed on to direct the MCU’s take on Marvel’s First Family before dropping out in April 2022. Soon after, Matt Shakman replaced him. Now, we’re even more in the dark about who’s involved, what the film is about, and who will play the titular heroes. But the most compelling question (in my mind) is: Who will the villain be?
Annihilus, the insect-adjacent ruler of the Negative Zone, remains a solid option, but I suspect that Marvel will want to kick things off with a more accessible and recognizable villain. Doctor Doom, maybe?
Unfortunately, we won’t have the answer to this for a while, especially after the MCU’s recent release date shifts.
3. Will We Finally Get The X-Men?
This is another question on many fans’ minds, one that the recent Deadpool 3 announcement made an even hotter discussion topic.
But how likely is it that the X-Men will show up in Phase 6? It’s difficult to say because Marvel is already setting up so many character arcs and plot threads. Sure, introducing Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel as the MCU’s first mutant was a solid step in bringing the rest of the beloved team into the fold. And yeah, having Wolverine in Deadpool 3 is another strong indicator that mutants will be part of the franchise moving forward. But building an X-Men team will take time and energy that Phases 5 and 6 may not have.
There’s no doubt that the X-Men would be a welcome addition to the MCU. At this point, it’s just a matter of how, when, and why.
4. Which Secret Wars Story Will Marvel Adapt?
Secret Wars was little more than a rumor for years. Now, with the announcement that Avengers: Secret Wars will close out Phase 6, many are wondering which Secret Wars story will hit the big screen. There are three Secret Wars stories that are ripe for adaptation.
The first is the original Secret Wars arc, which former Marvel writer/editor Jim Shooter commissioned in the early 1980s. The story ran for 12 issues between May 1984 and April 1985 and featured art by Bob Layton and Mike Zeck.
The second possibility is Secret Wars II, the commercially successful follow-up that saw Shooter attempt to create his greatest work. I won’t get into whether or not I think he stuck the landing, but I will say that Marvel Studios most likely won’t adapt this book.
The third (and most likely) candidate is the 2015 Secret Wars event series. Secret Wars and Secret Wars II could theoretically work as event flicks, but the fact that we’re neck-deep in the Multiverse Saga makes the 2015 story far more plausible. That book, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Esad Ribić, featured a multiverse-wide catastrophe on a size and scale that Marvel and Disney would surely deem fit for translation to the silver screen.
5. Where Can Marvel Go From Here?
This is a big one. Sure, it isn’t something we have to think about for at least a few years, but it’s a solid question. After tackling the multiverse, what can they possibly cook up that feels fresh and exciting? By the time the curtain closes on the Multiverse Saga, we will have seen the Avengers cross paths with Kang the Conqueror, the Thunderbolts, and countless other characters we haven’t caught wind of yet.
After Secret Wars, a reset may be the best call. I’m not sure how well casual fans would take that but I also can’t see how much bigger Marvel can go. Maybe the answer shouldn’t be to go bigger but to strive for better.
We will see!
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