On December 10th, 2020, Kevin Feige gave a presentation during Disney Investor Day that provided an in-depth glimpse at the next few years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The presentation showed a mixture of returning characters appearing in solo projects or team-ups, as well as new superheroes joining the ranks. With the introduction of many different superheroes and teams, speculation began to spiral: When the next Endgame event is coming? As once discussed by Kevin Feige and James Gunn, some speculated that the MCU was turning to the cosmos and the next big event would be inspired by Annihilation. Others believed that the story that was being laid out was headed towards Secret Wars. While I agree that this feels like the natural progression, there are more intimate stories that should come first. Exploring these stories, viewers would feel they earned the Secret Wars’ pay-offs.
Inhumans vs. X-Men
Two of the announced projects and beyond set this event up by introducing both teams and concepts required for telling this story. Ms. Marvel, due to arrive on Disney+ later this year, is bringing the first Inhumans to the MCU. In the comics, Kamala Khan receives her powers from a Terrigen Cloud that activated the Kree DNA in her genetic code. With Ms. Marvel’s introduction into the MCU, other Inhumans like the Royal Family will finally be able to make their proper way onto the screen. As well, At SDCC 2019 Feige announced that “The Mutants are coming”, but with no other information surrounding them since then, their projects may still be far off. It could even be the end of phase five or six before we see a full X-men team-up. However, with both parties on their way, Inhumans vs. X-Men could be the next team-up event.
In the comic event series, the Terrigen Cloud that gave Ms. Marvel her powers was released across the globe due to a Terrigen Bomb going off. This cloud gave many Inhumans powers across the global, but also caused Mutants to get sick. It killed off large portions of their population, causing mass panic among those infected. The Mutants wished to destroy the cloud leading to a division with the Inhumans who did not support their actions. To give justice to the story, many aspects need to develop before the clash occurs. The Inhumans, the Royal Family, and Attilan, The Inhumans City, need to be established explored. With their rich heritage and culture, there are plenty of stories to explore in their own series or movies, A catalyst event also needs to occur that would cause the release of the Terrigen Cloud. It does not make narrative sense to show this in Ms. Marvel as it would severely limit potential stories that could be told. While it occurred in response to the events of Secret Wars in the comics, an event Disney+ show such as The Death of the Inhumans may be a better place to explore this story. The MCU also needs time to properly explore the mutants, both individual characters and eventually the team, and establish why viewers should care about their imminent demise. This could play out as either a series on Disney+ or a movie.
Civil War II
Following the establishment of the Inhumans vs. X-Men, the team behind the MCU could move on to another fight. Civil War II centers around the introduction of an Inhuman who can predict the future. Captain Marvel wishes to use these powers to stop threats by arresting the culprits before they commit them, essentially removing their agency. Tony Stark is opposed to this plan, which causes a clash amongst Avengers. The groundwork will be laid through Ms. Marvel and the eventual Terrigen Cloud that will show up in the MCU. As for the role of Tony Stark, Sam Wilson or Doctor Strange could replace him as the moral compass of the group. Another character that would need to be established would be Miles Morales. Peter Parker could play the part; however, removing Miles Morales feels cheap and may anger many fans. To allow the previous event to play out and establish Miles in the MCU, it would make sense that this event would not arrive until the end of phase six or even early phase seven.
Avengers vs. X-Men
At first, I struggled to place this event in the narrative being established leading up to Secret Wars but ultimately decided that it would make the most sense as the finale in this trilogy. The comic series tells the story of the return of the Phoenix Force, a threat in the eyes of the Avengers. Many of the X-Men hold the Force together and use it to create a society a better society. Feige could drastically change story details, but they would need more time to establish the Phoenix Force if he were to stay true to the basic concept. We have seen the Phoenix Force twice in movies and so we might not need to establish it. We would need enough time to pass after Inhumans vs. X-Men to explore integral X-Men stories before this one can be told. So, at the earliest, it should be sometime in Phase Seven.
Once the vs. trilogy is told in its entirety, the teams of the MCU will be fractioned. And through the chaos, Secret Wars would begin and bring our heroes back together to face the end of days.