A potential MCU soft reboot in or after Avengers: Secret Wars could help streamline narratives.
The delay in resolving storylines and lack of sequels for newer characters suggest a need for a cleaner timeline.
With expanding sub-franchises in the MCU, a soft reboot or embracing separate sagas seems necessary for cohesion.

The MCU has been a cinematic juggernaut for 16 years and counting, but the sprawling franchise’s rumored soft reboot seems like a better idea now than ever. The very idea of an interconnected movie universe was a huge gamble back when Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, but the creatives at Marvel – and eventually Marvel Studios – succeeded in finding a balance between depth and breadth in the MCU’s Infinity Saga. It was easier to tell a cohesive story with fewer “main” characters, but the MCU has grown by degrees of magnitude and has lost some of its connective tissue.

The idea of an MCU reboot isn’t just pure speculation, either. In 2023, Joanna Robinson, the author of the illuminating book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, revealed the following about a potential MCU fresh start:

“We have a quote from Kevin Feige sort of implying that, like, Secret Wars will serve as a soft reboot in which they can prune everything… [They’ll] prune everything that’s not working and just keep what is [working], or bring back people you thought were gone forever.”

Of course, plans change, so even if a soft reboot in or after 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars was once in the cards, only time will tell if it still comes to fruition. However, it’s hard to argue that a tidied-up timeline wouldn’t help the MCU’s current woes.

The MCU Is Failing To Keep Up With Its Teases And Set-Ups

Ever since Nick Fury approached Tony Stark about The Avenger’s Initiative in the Iron Man post-credits scenes, teasers and cliffhangers have been the brand’s bread and butter. However, the early years of Marvel’s cinematic universe tended to follow up on dangling threads quite quickly. Fury approached Stark, then Stark recruited heroes later that year in The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man 3 ended with a shot of Thor’s hammer in the desert, and Thor was released to address that scene the next year. The modern MCU is keeping that strategy, but payoffs are far more delayed or not happening at all.


10 MCU Mysteries That Need Answers Before Marvel Reboots

With the MCU potentially heading for a reboot after Secret Wars, there are a number of unresolved mysteries the franchise still needs to solve.

It’s not challenging to see why. The Infinity Saga had off-shoot teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy who remained largely isolated from the wider MCU until Infinity War, but there was a solid narrative focus on the six original Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Hulk. Now, one would be hard-pressed to say who the “main characters” of the Multiverse Saga are. There’s also a sequel problem.

In the Infinity Saga, every character who starred in a solo movie (or team in the case of the GotG) got at least one sequel to follow up on their story and address any cliffhangers or teasers from the previous film except Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel. However, the latter two weren’t introduced until late in the saga, making the lack of a sequel more understandable. In contrast, not a single hero currently has two movies in the Multiverse Saga, so loose plot threads have been left dangling.

This will undoubtedly be resolved as a few of Marvel Studios’ unannounced Phase 6 projects come to light, but it does little to address how long it’s taking to revisit characters and stories. Most recently, Kit Harington, who plays Dane Whitman/the future Black Knight in Eternals, clarified that there are currently no plans in place to revisit his character. It’s setups like this that don’t seem to have any pre-set plans for resolution that indicate a franchise-wide trim might be needed to bring Marvel movie narratives more manageable.

A Soft Reboot Is The Easiest Way To Refocus The MCU

If the MCU wants to refocus its characters and narratives in a way that’s better for the internal story and easier for general audiences to follow, there are three options. Marvel Studios can find the time to address the dozens of ongoing stories and homogenize different characters into unified franchises, it can simply ignore what’s not working and more on, or it can use a soft reboot to prune the MCU down to something more manageable. The latter seems like the clear best option.

Avengers: Secret Wars
is the perfect time for a fresh start

It just so happens that an upcoming Avengers movie is the perfect time both in-universe and out to shake up the status quo and move forward with a more unified and tangible plan. Avengers: Secret Wars is the perfect time for a fresh start if it takes major inspiration from the Marvel Comics story of the same name. In the source material, Secret Wars sees the realities of the multiverse collide and be destroyed, resulting in a more unified main timeline for Marvel Comics. In the process, select characters from other worlds hopped over and became Earth-616 mainstays.


The MCU’s Massive Reboot Rumors Just Got Way More Likely With Disney’s Marvel Release Update

The latest release updates concerning Marvel Studios were certainly illuminating and made theories surrounding a major MCU reboot even more likely.

The same can happen even within the main Earth-616 continuity of the MCU. Certain characters and stories can be written out (or brought back from death) with a multiversal reset, allowing Marvel Studios to refocus on what’s working and leave what’s not behind. The timing works out in the real world, too. The end of a narrative Saga is the perfect time for change. With new and notable teams like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men also on the horizon, it’s never made more sense to trim the metaphorical fat from the MCU.

Can The MCU Hold Together As It Continues To Grow?

A reboot – even a soft one – seems daunting, as it would likely mean that someone’s favorite character or most anticipated story is left behind. However, the alternative requires consideration of if the MCU can remain at all cohesive as the franchise grows even bigger over the coming years and through whatever is set to follow the Multiverse Saga. While anything is possible, it simply seems unlikely.

As of now, the MCU is already split into several largely isolated narrative corners, including magic (Doctor Strange), cosmic (Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy), global (the Avengers), street-level (Daredevil, Spider-Man, etc.) and more. As those stories continue to go their own ways, they’ll soon be joined by even more. The Fantastic Four will likely carve out their own corner of the cinematic universe, and Blade could kickstart a Midnight Sons horror-inspired sub-franchise. Moreover, the X-Men have always been close to an entirely separate Marvel Universe.

If a soft reboot doesn’t refocus these stories, then the other option is to lean into sub-franchises and leave overarching sagas behind altogether. Instead of The Avengers bringing together the heroes of the MCU, various team-up projects could involve whoever makes sense. Regardless, it’s clear that something needs to give, and answers aren’t likely to be given until Avengers: Secret Wars hits theaters on May 7, 2027.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool & Wolverine

Thunderbolts (2025)

The Fantastic Four (2025)

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

“}]] The MCU could use a reset.  Read More