Marvel Studio’s Phase 5 is ready to kick off this month with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, a film that features Kang and is assumed to tie significantly to the Multiverse. With that in mind, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the fans are barrelling towards the most ambitious film and crossover to date: Avengers: Secret Wars. One of the biggest questions about this film is whether or not we will revisit heroes from the past, with a possible formation of Multiversal Avengers in Secret Wars. Let’s explore that idea here today.
Incursions have already begun to ripple through the MCU, the multiverse is collapsing, and Battleworld is imminent. With Battleworld being the patchwork of every universe stitched into one, the possibility for the return of old faces, and the introduction of new characters is incredibly likely. So who might pop up across Battleworld and potentially suit up in a Multiversal Avengers? Here’s our Alex Perez-approved list of people we may expect to see.
Returning faces from the MCU likely in Secret Wars
Starting with the most obvious appearances in Secret Wars are those who have played a part in building the MCU into what it is currently. I fully expect to see Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans return as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in some form. I think it’s likely that Hayley Atwell and Scarlett Johansson will be in the film as well.
While it will be fantastic to see these individuals return to their roles, these will likely be variants from across the Multiverse. It won’t be the same Tony, plucked from somewhere in our timeline nor Steve returning from his time detour. Instead, I think they’ll go the route of Atwell from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and we’ll see how these individuals live in other universes.
This will still provide some interesting dynamics with other superheroes, similar in fashion to Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) in Endgame and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. That being said, I think Atwell will be suited up as Captain Carter from What If…? though hopefully, she doesn’t meet a similar fate to her MoM counterpart.
Faces from Marvel’s past could form a multiversal avengers
Returning faces that were essential to the MCU during The Inifinty Saga and beyond are already exciting enough, but Secret Wars and its Battleworld have promise for so much more. Marvel Studios is poised to pull out all the stops to bring actors from previous Marvel projects created outside the Marvel Studios umbrella of the MCU. So who are we thinking will be joining the ranks of current MCU heroes for an epic film?
Leading the charge, which fans might already be expecting, is Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield returning as their respective Peter Parkers a.k.a. Spider-Man. Having the duo return in these roles from years previously in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home was a pleasant surprise, even if it was one of the worst-kept secrets. With the positive reactions from fans, it seems like a no-brainer for both Marvel Studios and Sony to cooperate for their return in what will be one of the biggest films in both franchises.
Some other strong possibilities for an appearance in Avengers: Secret Wars are Nicolas Cage’s Johnny Blaze a.k.a. Ghost Rider. Cage played the character in two films from the early 2000s and would be an exciting addition to the humongous crossover. From the same era of Marvel films, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s Daredevil and Electra are two more possibilities to include. Sure, their films weren’t the best, but they are an important part of Marvel’s film history, so if we’re bringing everyone back, they are necessary.
The wildcard of the group that Alex Perez pointed out was the 2003 Hulk, starring Eric Bana as the questionable-looking monster. But hey, if the entire gang is coming, might as well bring along Bana’s Hulk. The last, but certainly not least, from Marvel’s collection of past films is Wesley Snipes’ Blade, which could serve as a template for the MCU’s own vampire hunter and fight along with our Midnight Sons.
Not to be left out of Marvel’s past, is the collection of television shows which aired across networks and platforms. We’ve already seen the return of Charlie Cox as Daredevil from the Netflix Defenders franchise, so the return of other Defenders is likely. Characters like Gabriel Luna’s Robbie Reyes from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or another return of Anson Mount as Blackbolt would be wonderful inclusions. Mount’s appearance in MoM as one of the highlights of the entire film for me.
The Runaways and Cloak and Dagger would also be excellent series to bring back for this chapter of the MCU, as both were exceptional series and deserved more attention. As well, at one point last year, a new Runaways title was trademarked by Marvel, along with other titles that were announced at SDCC. So perhaps another series is already on its way.
The Fox Marvel Universes returns
Next is the Fox Universe of Marvel characters, consisting of their versions of the Fantastic Four and X-Men. The inclusion of Fox’s version of the X-Men is already in development, with Deadpool 3 seeing the return of Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, as well as Charles Xavier’s (Sir Patrick Stewart) appearance in Multiverse of Madness. In Secret Wars, it makes sense that more of the original X-Men could return – such as Halle Berry, James Marsden, and Sir Ian McKellen, to name a few.
The first-class versions of these characters also seem like probable characters for this film as well. The thought of seeing Sir Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy together on screen again definitely makes my heart soar just a bit. Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, and Nicholas Hoult would be fantastic inclusions as well. While I only named a few, I think Marvel Studios will be after most of them from both sets of X-Men to make one final appearance, bringing closure to years of comic book films.
Not to be left out, Marvel’s first family The Fantastic Four should return, though only one set this time. The 2005 Fantastic Four film was great in a super cheesy comic book way, even if the film and its sequel weren’t great performers at the box office. They are fun action romps, with well-cast actors in the roles. Bringing back Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd, and yes even Chris Evans is the right call for Secret Wars. I can see the jokes already for the dual roles of Evans as both Human Torch and Steve Rogers.
Possible new multiversal avengers for Secret Wars
In my discussions with Alex Perez when preparing this article, a few characters from Marvel comics that haven’t yet appeared in a live-action MCU film came up as names to include in this article. Captain Britain was one that was tossed about, a character that fans have been clamoring to see appear in a Marvel film. It seems as if they have adapted Captain Britain with Captain Carter, but bringing in Brian Braddock and the Captain Britain Corps (a group of captain Britains from across the multiverse), would be a great addition as well.
Miles Morales’ Spider-Man is another that Perez kept mentioning, convincing me that this wildcard is more likely than not. Miles is still one character that Sony hasn’t adapted into a live-action film yet, but with Secret Wars approaching, now would be a perfect time. It opens the door to some new dynamics between Tom Holland’s Peter and whoever plays Miles. It would be full circle for this Peter, finally playing a similar role as Tony Stark when Peter was just starting out.
This list, while long, is by no means exhaustive of who could return or what new characters to show up. Regardless of who returns, I think it’s safe to say that Avengers: Secret Wars will be epic in every way, with plenty of faces from Marvel’s past returning for one last (or maybe more) outing.
Avengers: Secret Wars is currently expected in theaters on May 1, 2026. Who would you like to see return from past Marvel films and series? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out Alex Perez’s MCU Timeline, which has quite a few surprises in it!