These are the Marvel stories to check out to prepare for the MCU's next big saga

These are the Marvel stories to check out to prepare for the MCU's next big saga
·6 min read
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder."
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder."Marvel Studios
  • Marvel Studios recently laid out plans for its next big saga, including two new "Avengers" movies.

  • The next few years of the MCU will draw on popular comics source material.

  • Here's what to read if you want to prepare.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige laid out the next few years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con last month, including two new "Avengers" movies in 2025.

kevin feige marvel studios san diego comic-con 2022
Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

The MCU's current three-phase saga, which began with last year's Disney+ series "WandaVision" and will conclude with 2025's "Avengers: Secret Wars," was officially dubbed "The Multiverse Saga."

mcu multiverse saga
Marvel Studios

The projects will be heavily inspired by classic and popular comic runs, but comic creators have recently spoken out about how Marvel pays them if their work is used in its lucrative movie and TV franchise.

Marvel film schedule phase five sdcc 2022
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige speaks during the Marvel panel in Hall H of the convention center during Comic Con in San Diego, California, July 23, 2022.Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

In July, The Hollywood Reporter published a story that detailed Marvel's "movie math," reporting that creators could receive far less money than they expected if a character they created plays a role in a Marvel movie or TV show, based on a stipulation in their agreement that gives Marvel discretion in lowering payments.

Prior to THR's report, comic creators had been speaking out more about proper compensation. Writer Ed Brubaker, for instance, said last year that he "made more on SAG residuals than I have made on creating" the Winter Soldier, who is played by Sebastian Stan in the MCU in multiple movies and the Disney+ TV show "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

The topic is likely to come up more in the coming years. So if MCU fans are interested in some of the stories that inspire their favorite movies and shows, here's where to start.

 

Frank Miller's 1980s Daredevil run is a classic, and vital for any Marvel and comics fan.

daredevil comic
Marvel Comics

Creators: Writer Frank Miller and artists Klaus Janson and David Mazzucchelli

Why it matters: Miller's Daredevil comics had already loosely inspired Netflix's "Daredevil" TV show. But a seminal storyline from that era, "Born Again," is being alluded to for Disney+'s upcoming 18-episode relaunch of the series, called "Daredevil: Born Again." Any fan of the character, or just Marvel comics for that matter, will want to check out Miller's saga.

In 2001, the Avengers story "Kang Dynasty" ran for over a dozen issues, and serves at the foundation for the next "Avengers" movie.

kang dynasty
Marvel Comics

Creators: Writer Kurt Busiek and various artists including Alan Davis and Kieron Dwyer

Why it matters: Kang is the MCU's next big bad, introduced in the "Loki" Disney+ series and played by Jonathan Majors. He'll next appear in next year's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and then the next "Avengers" movie, "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty."

The Young Avengers were introduced in 2005.

young avengers
Marvel Comics

Creators: Writers Allan Heinberg and Kieron Gillen, and artists Jim Cheung and Jamie McKelvie

Why it matters: "Young Avengers" launched in 2005 by Heinberg and Cheung and introduced a team of young heroes with ties to classic Avengers, all of whom have either been introduced in the MCU's phase four or will play essential roles going forward.

They include the female archer Kate Bishop/Hawkeye; Cassie Lang/Stature, the daughter of Ant-Man; Eli Bradley/Patriot, the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, who went through the same super-soldier program that created Captain America; and Speed and Wiccan, the sons of Scarlet Witch and Vision. The team also had ties to Kang, the MCU's next major villain.

The "Young Avengers" series relaunched in 2013 by Gillen and McKelvie, and featured a new team that included America Chavez, who was introduced to the MCU in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Further reading: If you want to read more of Kate Bishop's adventures, read writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja's 2015 "Hawkeye" comic series, one of the most acclaimed Marvel runs in recent years that inspired the Disney+ "Hawkeye" show.

The 2008 event series "Secret Invasion" revealed that the alien Skrulls had infiltrated Earth, even posing as various superheroes for years.

secret invasion marvel comics
"Secret Invasion" #1Marvel Comics

Creators: Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Lenil Franchis Yu

Why it matters: "Secret Invasion" is an upcoming Disney+ series debuting next year, and it's inspired by this miniseries that revealed the alien shape-shifting Skrulls had been posing as superheroes and world leaders for years. Just as it did for the Marvel comics universe, it could have major implications for the MCU.

 

Jason Aaron's Thor run was the template for "Thor: Love and Thunder," which is currently in theaters, and introduced Gorr the God Butcher and Jane Foster's Mighty Thor.

thor jane foster
Jane Foster as Thor.Marvel Comics/Russell Dauterman

Creators: Writer Jason Aaron and various artists, including, Esad Ribić and Russell Dauterman

Why it matters: Aaron's Thor story is told across several series, including 2012's "Thor: God of Thunder" and 2015's "Mighty Thor." It's one of the most acclaimed Marvel comic runs in recent years, telling a sweeping story of Thor's past, present, and future, and introducing Jane Foster as Thor, who is played by Natalie Portman in "Love and Thunder."

Writer Jonathan Hickman carved out a years-long Avengers saga beginning in 2012 with his "Avengers" and "New Avengers" comics.

avengers jonathan hickman
Marvel Comics

Creators: Jonathan Hickman and various artists, including Mike Deodato Jr, Lenil Francis Yu, Steve Epting, and more

Why it matters: Hickman's saga, told over 2012's "Avengers" and 2013's "New Avengers" comics reboots, introduced the concept of "multiversal incursions" that was recently referred to in the movie "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," in which two separate universes are crashing into eachother. It culminates in Hickman's event series "Secret Wars," which is the foundation of the 2025 movie "Avengers: Secret Wars."

Further reading: Before he started writing Avengers, Hickman tackled Marvel's Fantastic Four series from 2009 to 2012. Marvel Studios is making a new "Fantastic Four" movie, to be released in 2024.

 

Sam Wilson became Captain America in the mid-2010s.

captain america sam wilson marvel comics
Sam Wilson became the new Captain America in 2014.Marvel Comics/Stuart Immonen

Creators: Writers Rick Remender and Nick Spencer, and various artists including Stuart Immonen and Daniel Acuña

Why it matters: Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, became the new Captain America in 2014, starring in the series "All-New Captain America" by Remender, and then in 2015 in the series "Captain America: Sam Wilson" by Spencer. Going forward, Wilson will be the MCU's Captain America, played by Anthony Mackie, and will next appear in the movie "Captain America: New World Order" in 2024.

 

2015's "Secret Wars" appears to be what the current saga of the MCU is leading up to.

secret wars marvel
Marvel Comics

Creators: Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribić

Why it matters: For starters, the culmination of the MCU's "Multiverse Saga" is 2015's "Avengers: Secret Wars." Make sure to read Hickman's Avengers run beforehand, though.

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