The MCU has a villain problem. People said same thing the first few years of the franchise’s existence, but those complaints fell away as Loki, Killmonger, and especially Thanos entered the fray. Now that Jonathan Majors’s off-screen problems have presumably brought an end to Kang the Conquerer in the MCU, the question has come up again.
Josh Brolin recently teased Marvel Studios might bring back Thanos in some way, although he stopped short of confirming it would be in the role of big bad once again. That would be one way to re-energize the MCU with a popular villain. That said, ever since Disney purchased 20th Century Fox for the X-Men rights, fans have waited for the coming of Marvel’s greatest villain of all, Dr. Victor von Doom.
Marvel has already integrated some aspects of the Fox superhero universe with its multiple winks to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, but outside of casting rumors and a couple of cameos in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, nothing firm has happened yet.
That will change with the third Deadpool movie, now officially titled Deadpool & Wolverine. As the movie’s first trailer revealed, the movie involves the TVA bringing the Merc with a Mouth into the MCU to fight a mysterious new threat. Along the way, he’ll team up with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and if rumors and set leaks are to be believed, a lot of other Fox superheroes as well.
The trailer builds to a moment in which Wolverine arrives in silhouette and stands over Deadpool’s prone body. While examining that final shot, Twitter user Erik Voss noticed something to Wade Wilson’s right: a torn up issue of Marvel’s second Secret Wars comic book series…
More specifically, that’s 2015’s Secret Wars #5, written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Esad Ribić, colored by Ive Svorcina, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. Secret Wars featured a Marvel Universe recreated by Doctor Doom, who claims the role of God Emperor. But a small band of heroes who remember the world as it was before God Emperor Doom, led by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, fight back and put the world back to right.
Interestingly, the fifth issue reveals exactly how Doom became God Emperor. As the 616 universe and other parts of the multiverse fell to entropy, Doom and Doctor Strange, along with the all-powerful but also mentally-disturbed Molecule Man, faced the Beyonders, the creatures who create the various Marvel Universes. Thanks to Molecule Man’s power, Strange and Doom disrupted the Beyonders. But when the Beyonders’ power came loose, Strange paused while Doom acted, allowing him to recreate the universe.
On one hand, it might not be a big deal that Deadpool is lying next to Secret Wars #5. The appeal of Deadpool has always been, in part, his ability to break the fourth wall. And as his glance at the camera at the start of the Deadpool & Wolverine trailer shows, he seems to know about Disney and Fox even before the TVA picks him up.
Given that Marvel already announced Avengers: Secret Wars as the last movie in the Multiverse Saga, it stands to reason that Deadpool would make jokes about it. Furthermore, the issue seems a bit worse for wear, and the future of the MCU is up in the air, so Deadpool might be making a joke about Secret Wars coming off the schedule.
But others have noted a quick shot of a figure on the Mad Max-esque vehicle seen driving through the desert where much of the trailer takes place. There we see a masked and hooded man in green, carrying a gun.
Of course, Doom would not lower himself to such a level of indignity. But as some users on Reddit suggest, it may be a variation on a Doombot.
Other suggested that Paradox, the character played by Succession‘s Matthew Macfadyen in the movie, might be set up as Doom.
If Paradox were to somehow be Doom in disguise, that could explain why the trailer doesn’t feature any of the familiar TVA agents from Loki. Is this all a setup as part of his moves to conquer the multiverse? When Loki became the God of Stories at the end of his series, did he remove Kang only to make way for Doom?
We don’t know for sure yet, but another Redditor has a different theory, one pointing to the coming of Marvel’s true greatest villain.
If Paste Pot Pete is coming to the MCU, no one is safe.
Deadpool & Wolverine releases to theaters on July 26.