9
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enter image description here

Nineteen thematic answers have "in-universe" definitions. For example, Scrooge McDuck could be defined as "famous billionaire" rather than "Disney character".

Across
1. Leader of 29 across produced a ceramic piñata? (7,7)
9. Proficient archer to finally catch arrow, perhaps in amazement (7)
13/36d. Music genre of Cherry maybe making a comeback operation (3-3)
15. New clan of heavily armed flyer (6)
16. Secluded kingdom's ruler of African heritage – a god in that place, almost (5,7)
17/74. Defiant manager protects ex-convict (3-3)
18. Letter from internet service provider retracted (3)
20. To his friends, SPECTRE's head is awfully stern (5)
21. Sound of Paris river heard (4)
22. (See 27 down)
23. A Chinese leader's making a military alliance (4)
27. (See 5 down)
29. Group of predators besieging paradise – one is missing (3,8)
30. Bearing in church in Germany (5)
31. You and I support extremely outspoken musician-turned-politician? (4)
32. Mad sniper terrorized neighbourhood vigilante (6-3)
34. Man in South Africa: "Money comes before everything" (7)
37. Grave, extremely ordinary person showing behaviour typical of the opposite gender (6)
39. During a thousand and one days (4)
41. Is one volt recoiled, running powerful android? (6)
43. (See 5 down)
47. (See 46 down)
48. Maybe Napoléon's company can retreat after end of fighting (6)
49. 70 down's kin restrained, reportedly (4)
50. Collector of jewellery has not changed (6)
53/31d. Magician in France – the jerk's standing behind the killer of Simba's dad (7,5)
54. Extremists from Madagascar capturing, at sea, a Soviet celebrity (5,4)
56. (See 77 down)
59. Indo-Aryan wunderkind: "I create houses" (5)
61. Snake's sides cut after eating part of person's face; finally retreats for short periods of time (11)
63. Russian man of vitality needing no introduction (4)
66. (See 12 down)
67. Name for colony worker, mostly? (4)
68. Foremost eastern monarch; Islamic ruler (4)
69. Trouble making road new for Shaquille (5)
72. Hold whiskey during running (3)
74. (See 17 across)
75. Mannish Guide restructured, making one… less mannish? (12)
76. Musical scale for a child (1,5)
77. Flyer by a programming pioneer (3)
78. Authorize electromagnetic pulse against one in debt (7)
79. Complaint with Duke's meal (4,10)

Down
1. Beverage company linked with payment to support female (6)
2. European corn product, ultimately based on central Italy (7)
3. After commotion and pressure, conference is accepted (7)
4. Young woman disappeared; embassy's bringing charges (4)
5/43a/27a. Unoccupied area of northern country's territory (2,4,4)
6. Mix and mangle, mix and mangle, at last (7)
7. Fuel is lead-free; assess the financial value? (4)
8. Air Force officer cut carefully around corroded paint, with mother on board in front of line (7,6)
9. Luke's friend taking Henry to Frankfurt airport? (4)
10. Air Force officer, hot tea at heart, has new china (3,7)
11. Escape from troop, having leg cut off after rescue backfired (7)
12/66a. Actor we forced to admit error (3,4)
14. Winter sportsman covers new area – it's more windy (7)
19. Maybe radiocarbon dating, measured below, omitted October 4th? Signs followed by constant pressure rising (7)
24. (See 28 down)
25. Nation's leaders trading places in overwhelming popularity (7)
26. (See 56 down)
27/22a. Take a certain pose to be rising in support of one in need (3,4)
28/24. Perhaps do-over after removing top? In no circumstance! (3,4)
31. (See 53 across)
33. Poor me, possessed by mafioso's spirit (5)
35. Silver hair? Essentially, nothing's starting anew (5)
36. (See 13 across)
38. Old woman given key to holiday destination? (5)
40. Angry condor targets former surgeon (6,7)
42. South Asians put up quiet, abrupt salute? (5)
44. Woman in Germany; she's backing American uprising (5)
45. State's thanks accepted by no man, strangely (7)
46/47a. Occasionally seen in Tahoe: shrublike green thing (3,4)
51. Spy lady at first in rear window, cutting bottom of curtain (5,5)
52. West, in the end, interrupts Swift? Holler to someone in charge (7)
53. Rotate small needle (4)
55. Native American's home: northernmost parts of Canada (4)
56/26. Concur with musical's ending after viewing concluding bloopers (3,4)
57. Almost exceptional compression (3)
58. Former single I met dancing (7)
60. Entangle and trip, leading to death (4,3)
62. No explosive welcome, in the end, for award hopeful (7)
63. One deranged Norman hero with heavy armour (4,3)
64. To fish excessively, French author goes aboard boat regularly (7)
65. Rogue AI shown in extremely unusual sci-fi film (6)
70. Man with hammer struck end of spike (4)
71. A wife to 70 down? No way! (2,2)
73. Foot scratched several times walking through water leading to valley (4)
74. Mike – Old English bartender from Springfield (3)
77/56a. 58 down 62 down starting to be pushed down in abundance? (2,4)

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Whoa, this is an impressively large puzzle! $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 7 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ Title of this puzzle :D (+1) $\endgroup$ – Swati Aug 7 at 14:32
7
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The solved grid:

enter image description here

Clue explanations:

enter image description here
The 19 highlighted entries are all part of the Marvel universe.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hah, I had meant 79a as rot13(ORRS+J+RYYVATGBA) but that works as well. Nice work! $\endgroup$ – jafe Aug 7 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ One correction to the highlighted entries: rot13(Jne Znpuvar vf n Zneiry punenpgre, jurernf "Reafg" ersref gb gur haeryngrq Wnzrf Obaq senapuvfr.) $\endgroup$ – jafe Aug 7 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @jafe Fixed the highlighting, thanks! (I'm not at all familiar with movies, or pop culture in general.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 7 at 11:42

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