The Marvel Universe, as we have known it since 1961, is ending.
Yes, you read that right.
During a live "Secret Wars Kick-Off" press event at New York City's Midtown Comics, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Senior Vice President of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort confirmed that the upcoming eight-issue limited series Secret Wars will represent the end of both the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe.
Saying that the mainstream Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe would "smash together" during the upcoming Secret Wars crossover event, Alonso and Brevoort went on to elaborate that, by the time Secret Wars #1 hits the stands in May, every world in Marvel's multiverse will be destroyed, with pieces of each forming Battleworld, the staging ground for the Secret Wars storyline
"Once we hit Secret Wars #1, there is no Marvel Universe, Ultimate Universe, or any other. It's all Battleworld," Brevoort said.
Speculation regarding the end of the Ultimate Universe has been rampant, as fans have known for some time that, as of February, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man will be the sole remaining title in the Ultimate line. What has been less clear is the future of the mainstream Marvel Universe moving out of Secret Wars.
We now know that the Marvel Universe, post-Secret Wars, will be an all new world combining elements not just of the Ultimate Universe and the mainstream Marvel Universe, but possibly bits and pieces of other worlds as well under the moniker of "All-New Marvel."
"The Marvel Universe will be Battleworld, and every single piece of those worlds will be building blocks for the universe," said Alonso, adding that all the universes represented in "Battleworld" will have "legs" moving forward.
“…We are taking the best and biggest pieces of [Marvel history] and seeing how easily they coexist with one another,” Alonso said in answer to a press question about this being a 'reboot.' “We don't expect all our moves to make everyone happy, but we think it will make for a really fascinating read through Secret Wars and beyond.”
Driving home the point that anything will be possible, Alonso also teased the possibility of bring back old characters during Secret Wars. "If we wanted to resurrect Gwen Stacy," he said with a smile, "this would be the place to do it."
While Marvel already teased earlier this month that the company would launch The All-New, All-Different Avengers , after having confirmed Avengers and New Avengers would end in April, Alonso confirmed that Marvel would be launching a "wealth" of new series, both ongoing and minis, during Secret Wars.
When asked what would happening to the existing ongoing series, Brevoort told press that “most” current creators will continue to work with their characters, but not necessarily in “the same book.”
“Every creative team has known this was coming. We've had a line of demarcation in the sand. Get your most immediate business done by this point because we're going into Secret Wars and it's going to have an impact on everything,” Brevoort said.
“Most of those creators are working on books during Secret Wars. They may not be exactly the same book,” Marvel’s Executive Editor continued. “There may not be a Guardians of the Galaxy book but there's probably going to be something that involves some bit of that business, or stuff that may be done in Guardians in the future. Everything is going to kind of change and shift as we go. We're not entirely ready yet to map it all out for you."
The events of Secret Wars represent what Brevoort described as "the culmination of Jonathan Hickman's plans from when he first came onto Avengers and New Avengers."
Brevoort added that Marvel's Free Comic Book Day issue, Secret Wars #0 written by Hickman, will bring readers "up to speed" for the event before it begins in may with Secret Wars #1 and an oversized issue #2.