Joe and Anthony Russo somehow managed to pull off the biggest movie crossover of all time when they wrapped up 22 Marvel movies with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Loosely based on the Infinity saga from the comics, they represent not just a culmination of a decade’s worth of Marvel stories on screen, but also the most sweeping, epic comic story ever brought to the big screen (DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths was adapted for television).
And then the Russos walked away. But in an interview with Brobible, they talked about the one comics adaptation that could bring them back to the MCU: Secret Wars.
“I read that when I was 10 or 11, and it was the scale of getting all of the heroes together. It was one of the first major books to do that — that was really event-storytelling to me at its finest,” Joe Russo said.
Marvel’s Secret Wars is generally considered to be the first event comic of all time. In it, a group of heroes and villains are kidnapped by an all-powerful being, the Beyonder, and brought to Battleworld where they would fight each other for the chance to win great power. It had everything one expects now from a line-wide crossover series – heroes fighting heroes, villain and hero team ups, Dr. Doom going WAAAAY over the top and betraying everyone to steal power for himself, Colossus catching feelings for a random alien girl.
It was also a shameless cash grab – the name came from a Mattel focus group, with several long-lasting changes coming about for merchandising purposes, like Dr. Doom, Iron Man, and Spider-Man getting new outfits. Spidey’s new costume managed to stick around for some time, becoming the symbiote suit that eventually spawned Venom. It also crossed into at least 13 different ongoing series running at the time, if only for brief flashes.
“It would be the biggest movie you could possibly imagine, so that’s what really excites us about the story — the ambition of it is even bigger than the ambition of the Infinity Saga,” said Anthony Russo.
Secret Wars has had several follow ups in comics, both spiritual and sequel alike, that the Russos might draw from. Secret Wars II came a year after the original, and brought the Beyonder to Earth, where Spider-Man taught him how to poop and he killed all the New Mutants.
Later, in Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, we find out that Deadpool was actually there, but everybody forgot.
And then there was Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s multiverse-ending Secret Wars, where the entire multiverse was smashed into each other, Doom killed all of the Beyonders with the infinite facets of Molecule Man, and Franklin Richards as the arbiter of Marvel Time was canonized. Were the Russos to incorporate a piece of the Hickman/Ribic story into a movie, it wouldn’t be their first adaptation of his work, with Infinity War drawing heavily from Hickman’s Avengers crossover, Infinity.
For more on Secret Wars, including rampant, baseless speculation on what side the mutants would choose in a movie, stick with Den of Geek!