Zawe Ashton, dressed in a grey uniform, smiles as she holds a giant hammer.
(Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios)

What Is an Incursion in the MCU? Your Handy Guide to Exploding Realities

With the Loki season 2 finale and The Marvels both coming out this week, the multiversal calamities known as incursions might start to ramp up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve already seen an incursion or two, but what is an incursion, exactly? Here’s a quick guide before you head into theaters this Friday.

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Incursions in Marvel comics

In a comic book panel, Miles Morales and others look up at a second Earth looming above them in a red sky.
(Marvel Comics)

An incursion, simply put, is a collision between two realities that destroys one or both of those realities. In the multiverse, in which infinite universes are stacked on top of each other, any contact between two universes—say, a person crossing from one universe into another—runs the risk of triggering an incursion.

The most notable incursion in the original Marvel comics occurs in the story arc Secret Wars. In the 2015 version of Secret Wars, written by David Hickman, the last two remaining realities in the multiverse are destroyed when they collide, which leads to the formation of the patchwork universe Battleworld. Behind the scenes, the Secret Wars storyline reconciled all the alternate Marvel universes that were being published concurrently, like the Ultimate Universe, which had been created to draw in new readers. But all you really need to know about incursions is that the boundary between two universes erodes, and those realities go boom.

Incursions in Doctor Strange 2

(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The closest look we get at an incursion is in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, when Strange crosses into the parallel reality Earth-838. Reed Richards tells Strange that his presence in another universe “confuses and destabilizes reality,” leading to a possible incursion. As Stephen continues to hop from reality to reality, he learns something even more alarming: his alternate selves have already caused multiple incursions throughout the multiverse. Entire realities have been destroyed, and countless people have died because of his meddling.

We also see an incursion from the ground up in Doctor Strange 2. After finding themselves in a dying reality, Stephen and Christine wander a gray landscape that seems to be disintegrating, with different objects and landscapes all mashed together.

Incursions in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Although we don’t see an incursion happen in Quantumania, we do get some hints that they’re occurring. Kang the Conqueror demonstrates how his alternate selves destroy realities, using a simulation of a branching timeline to show realities popping out of existence. The Kangs of the multiverse may be using incursions to destroy those realities, although they may be using another method that we learn about in the Disney+ series Loki, called pruning.

When a timeline is pruned, it’s deleted from existence without destroying another universe in the process. So are pruning and incursions the same thing? No, but the end result is the same: a reality that’s been erased.

Will we see incursions in Loki season 2 and The Marvels?


Loki deals heavily with the multiverse, and in episode 5 (spoiler alert!), we see reality falling apart around Loki and the other characters. We don’t know precisely why everything is spaghettifying—was the Temporal Loom holding reality together? Has Kang started destroying universes?—but the season finale may give us a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on.

The final trailer for The Marvels, meanwhile, hints at realities colliding, with the villain Dar-Benn opening up a rift between two worlds. The trailer may be a misdirect (Marvel loves to do that!), but we could see something serious go down.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>