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Marvel spoiled its own Empyre #4 "shock ending"

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This week's Empyre #4 ended with a few huge surprises – not least of which is the reveal that Billy Kaplan/Wiccan and Teddy Altman/Hulkling/Emperor Dorrek VIII were secretly married prior to Teddy leaving Earth to lead the combined Kree/Skrull empire.

Page from Empyre #4 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

We've got all the details on Teddy and Billy's matrimony (at least everything we know) in our write-up of the events of Empyre #4 – but Marvel has broken the news itself, with the publisher issuing a press release with statements from both Empyre co-write Al Ewing, who scripted the scene, and Hulkling and Wiccan's co-creators Jim Cheung and Allan Heinberg, who came up with the characters and their relationship in the first volume of Young Avengers.

"I've got a lot of love for Hulkling and Wiccan, both individually and as a couple," states Ewing in Marvel's announcement. "So it's a good feeling to be able to deliver this kind of 'shock ending' for readers, which hopefully lifts fans' spirits a little rather than bringing them down."

"When I was first asked to design Wiccan and Hulkling for the Young Avengers, I had no inkling of the longevity they would have, or even their impact on the hearts and minds of the readers," adds Cheung. 

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Jim Cheung's 2004 concept art for the two characters

Jim Cheung's 2004 concept art for the two characters (Image credit: Jim Cheung (Marvel Comics))
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(Image credit: Jim Cheung (Marvel Comics))

"Billy and Teddy really became fully fleshed people to me, thanks to Allan's incredible writing, and it's been wonderfully rewarding to follow their growth and evolution under the guidance of other creators over the years. Now that they're taking their relationship to the next level, I can’t wait to watch where their next adventure takes them!"

Teddy and Billy were both founding members of the Young Avengers, and their relationship quickly developed throughout the series. The second arc of the initial Young Avengers title revealed the truth about Teddy's parentage and established him as heir to both the Skrull and the Kree.

"I’m eternally grateful to writers Al Ewing and Dan Slott, artists Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia, editor Tom Brevoort, — and of course cover artist Jim Cheung — for telling Teddy’s story so gorgeously — on such an epic scale — and with so much heart," Heinberg states. "and for inviting me and Jim to the wedding!"

Empyre #5, which will presumably include more details about the wedding and what's happened to both of them since, is due out August 12.

Newsarama staff writer who learned to read from comic books and hasn’t shut up about them since.