The Beyonder Is The MCU’s Next Thanos (Not Kang)

The Beyonder Is The MCU’s Next Thanos (Not Kang)

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe appears to set up Kang the Conqueror as the next Thanos-like main villain of the MCU’s Phase 5, but it’s possible that The Beyonder, a multiversal villain who’s yet to be introduced, will fill that role. Thanos is now undoubtedly one of the most famous villains in all of sci-fi due to his appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, where he showcased his well-meaning yet ideologically twisted morality and his desire to “save” the universe despite having all of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against him. A huge part of what made Thanos such a compelling villain was his character development in Avengers: Infinity War, which put most of its focus on the Mad Titan and gave him a resounding, albeit brief, victory. Shows like Loki hint that Phase 4 is gearing up for a Kang the Conqueror phase 5, but with rumors of Secret Wars being in the MCU’s Phase 5, many fans are wondering: will The Beyonder be in the MCU?

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Now that the MCU has moved on from the Infinity Saga, the franchise will need one or more antagonists who can fill the Thanos-shaped hole Avengers: Endgame left. While time travel and the multiverse could allow Thanos to return in the form of a variant, bringing him back would likely take away the impact of his previous victory and subsequent defeat. It’s time for a new villain to step up, and the multiverse is precisely the concept that could help introduce them.

Related: Hulk’s Shang-Chi Location Hints At The Avengers’ Grim Status In MCU Phase 4

Loki introduced He Who Remains, one variant of the time-traveling villains Kang the Conqueror, Rama-Tut, and the hero Iron Lad. Kang’s role as the MCU’s new main villain sounds logical, but he’s not the only option. Various potential Thanos replacements have been posited, from longstanding cosmic threat Galactus to relatively recent Marvel Comics entry Knull, the God of the Symbiotes. He Who Remains pretty much confirms a Kang the Conqueror phase 5 appearance in the MCU, but not necessarily as its next Thanos. Looking at the bigger picture, another powerful character could take the throne of the MCU’s next big bad: The Beyonder. Here’s why.

Who Is The Beyonder?

Beyonder toying with a victim in Marvel artwork

Much like the Celestials, the Beyonder is a cosmic entity. However, he isn’t just a natural piece of the universe’s creation, but a whole reality himself. When he arrived in Marvel’s main comic universe, he was shocked to find how complex yet imperfect its inhabitants were. In a fit of playful curiosity, he created the planet Battleworld and sent most of Marvel’s famous heroes and villains there to fight each other for their freedom and the fulfillment of their deepest desires, thus creating the iconic Marvel storyline Secret Wars. This arc was so popular that it was repeated in Secret Wars (2015), although this time it was Doctor Doom who created Battleworld from the fragments of universes remaining after a mass multiversal incursion event.

The Beyonder is enthralled by the struggle of mortals, and he quickly begins to fill the need to strive for something more. He adopts a human form and finds an interest in human and superhuman conflict. Marvel has since retconned the origin and nature of The Beyonder, but his depiction as the curious and omnipotent host of the Secret Wars remains the most popular. Will The Beyonder be in the MCU? Until Phase 4, the answer would probably have been “highly unlikely”. However, now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become plural thanks to the multiverse, and with a possible Secret Wars adaptation in phase 5, the chances of The Beyonder coming to the big screen seem to grow by the day. Exactly which take on The Beyonder they adapt, if any, is still completely open to speculation though.

How Phase 4 Sets Up A Secret Wars Adaptation

Kang leading Enchantress and other villains into battle in Secret Wars comic

Although exciting due to its unprecedented nature, the original Secret Wars was nothing short of chaotic. The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Ultron, Doctor Doom, Galactus, Kang the Conqueror, and the multiversal villain Molecule Man were only some of the characters transported to Battleworld, and all of them had conflicting motivations, not to mention their allegiances and personal reasons for backstabbing, killing, and protecting each other. An MCU adaptation of Secret Wars would likely have difficulties balancing out all of these factors, as even though Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame pulled off their large rosters, they didn’t have to follow 30+ heroes simultaneously for the entirety of the story. Another big obstacle is the absence of important characters such as Captain America and Iron Man.

Related: Avengers 5: Casting Every Missing Character For Marvel’s Secret Wars

However, the MCU’s Secret Wars could draw more inspiration from the 2015 version of the event, which goes in line with the current direction of MCU’s Phase 4. Instead of pieces of different planets forming Battleworld, this time it could be entire universes converging into a multiversal Battleworld. Different variants of famous characters from all over the multiverse could participate, regardless of their status in the main continuity. Hence, the MCU’s next Avengers: Endgame would not only gather all living characters, but also bring back every single hero and villain introduced in past movies and shows. Seeing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Sony’s Sinister Six, and new variants of Captain America and Iron Man all teaming up with the Avengers to defeat the Beyonder would be possible.

Which Role Could Kang Play in The MCU’s New Saga?

Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains

Seeing how WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness make the Multiverse messy within the MCU, it’s logical to assume that an eventual Avengers 5 would culminate in an event similar to Secret Wars. While Kang the Conqueror is a menacing villain due to his control over time travel, his abilities can’t compare to the Beyonder’s omnipotence. Most importantly, Kang and his variants work perfectly as the new Loki in this new MCU saga: charismatic, recurrent characters who blur the line between hero and villain, instead of one Big Bad who requires the might of all existing heroes to defeat them 23 movies down the line.

He Who Remains was introduced as early as Loki, and Kang the Conqueror’s Phase 4 introduction will come as early as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. In comparison, Thanos was teased at the end of The Avengers, but he only had a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy before he finally took center stage at the end of Phase 3, only after villains like Loki, Ultron, Zemo, Dormammu, and Ego had already had their time in the spotlight. Kang the Conqueror and his variants still have plenty of time to develop their character arcs and butt heads with multiple heroes, switching allegiances and playing vastly different roles in various installments before a universe-wide event arrives. The MCU’s Secret Wars could give Kang the role Molecule Man and Intelligencia originally had, having him become the one responsible for bringing the Beyonder to the main Marvel Universe.

How The Beyonder Can Become The MCU’s Next Thanos

Thanos in Avengers Infinity War and the Beyonder in Marvel's Secret Wars

Kang the Conqueror is defined by his thirst for power and control. This makes him a dangerous villain, but it’s a motivation that many other antagonists have had, not only in the MCU but across all media. After the overwhelmingly positive reception to Thanos, the MCU needs a main villain with a more original characterization. Similar to Thanos’ ill-advised quest to prevent overpopulation, the Beyonder’s desire to understand human nature allows for interesting narrative possibilities and philosophical discussions. Why conflict is inevitable, why people always want to achieve something more, and why imperfection makes life worth living are some of the themes the culmination of the MCU’s Phase 5 could tackle. Kang the Conqueror could play a big role in that, but the Beyonder seems like the perfect villain to make it possible.

Related: Doctor Strange 2 Detail Sets Up Secret Wars For Avengers 5

It’s also worth noting that power levels are important but not the deciding factor in what makes an engaging MCU Big Bad. Thanos was a complex character – so complex that many fans walked away from Avengers: Infinity War siding with the villain and his quest for balance. In terms of raw power, characters like Dr. Strange’s Dormammu and Thor: Ragnarok’s Hela could more than likely best the Mad Titan in a fight. However, their simple motivations would quickly wear thin if carried across multiple movies. As Kang the Conqueror’s name suggests, he traditionally has a similar M.O. (though he’s become more complex in recent years, and comic Thanos has been equally shallow in the past). The Beyonder’s place as a curious godlike being with a vested interest in reshaping reality has much more potential for Thanos-like complexity.

The Beyonder Powers Explained

The Beyonder is incredibly powerful. He’s a Godlike being in the traditional real-life sense (rather than the Asgardians or Olympians of the MCU), capable of reshaping reality on a whim. He comes from a separate universe, although it’s more accurate to say that he is an entire sentient universe trapped within our own. Whether or not that particular aspect of his backstory will be carried over, as it may be a little convoluted for MCU fans unfamiliar with Marvel’s abstract comic-book pseudoscience, it does give a clear picture of exactly how powerful The Beyonder is. When he shows up, it’s a title-crossing event, just like his original appearance in Secret Wars. In the 1986 Secret Wars II, The Beyonder became disillusioned with his place among the humans that fascinated him, and his response was to try and wipe out the entire multiverse: something that makes Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet ambitions feel painfully small by comparison.

Reality manipulation is The Beyonder’s primary ability, but he’s far from limited to this. He was considered the most powerful being in the multiverse, outshining even The Living Tribunal. A better question for The Beyonder than “what powers does The Beyonder have” is perhaps “what can’t The Beyonder do,” to which the answer is “not much”. His telepathy is strong enough that he can read the minds of the entire planet simultaneously, counter the abilities of Professor Charles Xavier and The Phoenix without effort, bend humanity writ-large to his whim with a single thought, and erase all memories of himself from the universe. In short, The Beyonder is overpowered personified. He’s demonstrated powers such as teleportation, flight, and super-strength. Since he can rewrite reality to give himself any abilities he needs, the list of what he can do is pretty much limitless.

Does The Beyonder have a weakness? Not really, but that doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable. He has made himself mortal on multiple occasions, and in this state, he is of course vulnerable. His biggest Achilles heel seems to be his own existential inertia. Several characters have damaged The Beyonder though, including Doctor Doom (by stripping his powers on Battle World), the Molecule Man, and The Phoenix. Since none of these characters exist in the MCU though, it’s difficult to see how heroes like Spider-Man or even Doctor Strange could stand up to The Beyonder.

Related: Kevin Feige’s MCU Plan Tease Should Ease Your Phase 4 Concerns

Is The Beyonder Stronger Than Thanos?

Beyonder-MCU-Thanos

Yes, and it probably wouldn’t be a close fight even if Thanos had the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos with the Infinity Stones was at the top end of the MCU’s power scale hierarchy. It’s a very different story in the comics though, and if The Beyonder were to enter the MCU it would likely demote Thanos on the list of threats Marvel’s silver-screen Avengers have faced. It’s not an overstatement to say that the six Infinity Stones give Thanos a taste of a fraction of The Beyonder’s power, and that small exposure was enough to severely weaken Thanos. The Infinity Gauntlet let Thanos manipulate the universe, but The Beyonder IS a universe.

Thanos wiped out half of all life with a finger snap that left him severely injured, The Beyonder nearly destroyed the entire multiverse without needing anything but the sudden urge to be alone in all of creation once more. Thanos is an incredibly powerful being and a significant threat to The Avengers on both the page and the screen, but he is to The Beyonder as the student sorcerers of Kamar-Taj are to Dormammu in terms of power level.

The MCU’s Secret Wars Might Completely Replace The Beyonder’s Role With Kang

secret wars theory replaces beyonder with kang

Phase 4 of the MCU has felt fractured so far, but that’s mainly because it’s introducing audiences to the idea of the Multiverse. The variants and timeline fractures in Loki, everything in What If…, Wandavision’s Evan Peters Quicksilver bait-and-switch, Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire in Spider-Man: No Way Home, all of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Phase 4 has been pumped full of projects clearly intended to bring audiences unfamiliar with Marvel comics round to the idea that they’re watching events in one reality among many. The mention of incursion events in Multiverse of Madness was the clearest indicator yet that Marvel and Disney are gearing up for a cinematic Secret Wars in the MCU’s Phase 5.

However, just because Secret Wars will come to the MCU doesn’t mean The Beyonder will too. The Multiverse is in itself a complicated concept for some, especially casual moviegoers. It’s worth remembering that for every die-hard MCU fan, there will be ten who show up to theatres because it’s a must-see cinematic event and they don’t want to miss out. Disney and Marvel studios have to walk a tightrope. Making things too confusing would alienate those casual fans, which could then lead to a huge box office revenue hit (something Disney wants to avoid for obvious reasons). Secret Wars is itself a concept that could easily fall flat on the big screen, and including the all-powerful living universe that is The Beyonder could be one convoluted element too many.

Related: Avengers 5: Secret Wars Should Bring Back Robert Downey Jr As The Villain

The Battleworld concept will inevitably be a huge success if done well. As No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness proved, audiences are eager to see characters from previously-unlinked universes meet. As the absolute master of time in the MCU, it could be that Kang is the one who creates Battleworld. Remember, even in the comics, The Beyonder doesn’t have exclusivity over Battleworlds, as Doctor Doom also creates his own in Secret Wars (2015). There’s every chance Marvel will take influence from both versions of Secret Wars, taking their best elements to create a unique MCU Secret Wars event on a Kang-created Battleworld. Kang could create the MCU’s Battleworld to determine which variants get to be the only existing version of a character when he reconverges the multiverse into a single reality, for example. He could even create Battleworld accidentally. Multiple MCU Doctor Stranges have meddled with reality and time on a small scale and risked incursions. If Kang decides to live up to his conqueror title and invades multiple realities, it could be the catalyst that triggers a final, Battleworld-creating mass incursion event similar to Secret Wars (2015). Ultimately, there are many ways that Kang could be the antagonist for Secret Wars in the MCU’S Phase 5, and the intensely anticipated cinematic Battleworld by no means requires The Beyonder to happen.

More: Huge Secret Wars Theory Replaces Beyonder With Kang In MCU Phase 5 Event

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023

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About The Author

Nicolas Ayala
(479 Articles Published)

Nicolas Ayala is a Movie Features writer with a passion for blockbusters and big-screen adaptations. A professional screenwriter, Nicolas dives deep into the storytelling aspects of Hollywood’s latest hits (and bombs). He loves all things Marvel, DC, and ’80s action flicks (Demolition Man has a special place in his heart). The cheesier the movie, the better.

With a knack for photography and digital post-processing, Nicolas creates many of the eye-catching images featured in his Screen Rant articles. He also works as a Hiring Manager for Screen Rant’s Lists and Movie/TV Features sections, and he loves every second of it.

When not working, Nicolas is writing fiction, learning languages, producing music, cosplaying, and dreaming about a Dazzler & Squirrel Girl TV show. He once met Nicolas Cage and Hugh Jackman, and he accidentally directed the short film versions of “Don’t Breathe” and “Man vs. Bee” years before the actual movies were released. What a shame he didn’t release them!

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