Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Secret Invasion

Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury to lead the cast in the limited series. He is joined by Ben Mendelsohn, Cobie Smulders, and MCU newcomers Emilia Clarke and Olivia Colman.

by | April 2, 2023 | Comments

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In light of all the news Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige unleashed across Comic-Con International: San Diego and D23 Expo in 2022, one project appeared hushed among the bombast of the films and the Phase 5 calendar: Secret Invasion. Sure, a trailer debuted at D23, but the limited series — a story Feige claimed was too big to be contained in a feature film — is still something of a dark spot in terms of information, considering the program, which he called a “crossover event series,” is the next to stream on Disney+.

Nevertheless, we’ve dusted off our S.H.I.E.L.D. credentials to suss out what we can about the series and why it may or may not be worthy of the few comments Feige has made about it. Take a look at the following dossier and see for yourselves if you can find the Skrulls hiding in the folds.

The Skrulls Return for a Secret Plot

Kingsley Ben-Adir in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Despite the friendliness of the Skrulls being one of the great twists contained in 2019’s Captain Marvel, the alien shape-shifting race is, generally, more antagonistic in the pages of Marvel Comics. Indeed, one of their grandest schemes was detailed in the 2008 event story Secret Invasion — not to be confused with the more recent comic of the same name Marvel published in 2022. In its pages, the Avengers learned of a Skrull plot to infiltrate every level of human society, including the superhuman community, as a prelude a larger attack on the Earth. Unfortunately, the heroes learn about the scheme too late; the Skrulls have already done their work and their sleeper agents reveal themselves just as the open invasion begins.

Of course, expect the plot of the television series to be somewhat different. As seen in the D23 trailer, former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) returns after a few years in space to face off against a threat he claims only he can withstand — a Skrull insurgence inspired by Fury’s seeming failure to find them a world of their own after 30 years. The Skrull scheme will be executed by a rebel faction not aligned with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), which means he will still be an ally even if his sway among his people is limited. While speaking with Vanity Fair in March 2023, Jackson also said the story will revolve around some of Fury’s sins, like putting the Skrulls to work as his own intelligence network, and feature a version of the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director still reeling from the deaths in Avengers: Endgame. In the same piece, executive producer Jonathan Schwartz compared the program to John le Carré novels and series like The Americans with similar themes of identity and loyalty.

An Invasion of the Post-Blip World

Don Cheadle in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Being the first Phase 5 television show, we can safely assume it will take place after the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It is a time when the Global Repatriation Council has seemingly wound down, world governments are desperate to find vibranium, and three years have past since the death of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Battle of Earth.

But as the Phase 4 shows and Wakanda Forever revealed, the world is on the brink. Tensions flare everywhere across the globe. Superpowered beings are hunted despite the repeal of the Sokovia Accords. Even without a possible alien threat, Earth is getting back to its usual, divisive business but we can’t help but wonder if some of the geopolitical fires are being stoked by the Skrull sleepers to soften the planet’s resolve ahead of an all-out invasion.

And even if not, will the arrival of a hostile alien force prove to the world it needs a group like the Avengers (or S.H.I.E.L.D. for that matter) to guard against situations like this?

Agents of Secrets

Samuel L. Jackson in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Jackson, of course, returns as Fury; in fact, the program pays off the Fury-fronted project the actor has been teasing for at least 12 years. For those watching his contract, it is unclear if this is the final appearance of his original deal or something else entirely. Also, we’ll speculate that despite some heavy teasing that this may be Fury’s swan song, he’ll end up the director of some agency by the series’ end. For one thing, Jackson says Nick has put down his eye patch because it is part of the “strong” version of his character. His Captain Marvel injury remains, but having the wound on display reflects Fury’s weariness. Perhaps, if he puts down the invasion, he will adopt his old badge of strength.

Other Marvel stalwarts returning include Mendelsohn as Talos, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill — whom the actor describes as being very tired of Fury’s failure to communicate while she’s been putting out fires — Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes. The latter has not been on screen since a brief scene in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and presumably continues to liaise between the U.S. government and the superhero community. Cheadle and Feige have both mentioned Rhodey’s involvement in Secret Invasion will lead into his star turn in Armor Wars, the former Disney+ series-turned-film-project said to revolve around Tony Stark’s worst nightmare coming true.

Smulders, as Maria Hill, has not been seen since Endgame — although Talos’s wife, Soren (Sharon Blynn), assumed her form throughout Far From Home. As referenced above, the character spent most of Phase 4 pouring water on hot spots while Fury was away, but we’re inclined to think the mention of Sharon Carter’s (Emily VanCamp) “old division” coming back in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier may lead Hill back to her old job.

Ben Mendelsohn in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Mendelsohn’s Talos, meanwhile, has been assisting Fury this whole time; even appearing as Fury through most of No Way Home. He presumably alerted Fury to the possible threat early on, although, it remains to be seen if he knew about the secret invasion or if a heel turn awaits him.

Everett K. Ross is the most interesting inclusion from an ongoing MCU story standpoint. Rescued by Okoye (Danai Gurira) at the end of Wakanda Forever, he is a fugitive from the U.S. government and no doubt looking to find a way to get out of trouble. Unless, of course, he was a Skrull the whole time.

Olivia Colman in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

New actors joining the MCU for the series include Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke, The Crown’s Olivia Colman — playing Special Agent Sonya Falsworth — Christopher MacDonald as a newly-created character who will reportedly have major implications for the MCU going forward; Kingsley Ben-Adir as Rebel Skrull leader Gravik; Killian Scott as Fiz (another potential Mutant); Dermot Mulroney as President Ritson; and both Charlayne Woodard and Carmen Ejogo in undisclosed roles. Reportedly, Noel Fisher will also appear in an unknown capacity.

In the March 2023 Vanity Fair piece, Colman was identified as an MI6 agent without any reference to her name while Clarke’s character was revealed to be G’iah, Talos’s daughter from Captain Marvel all grown up and a believer in Gravik’s cause. As Clarke explained to Vanity Fair, the splinter cell is frustrated Talos and Fury have failed to deliver a planet after several decades. G’iah, herself, is also looking to get out from under Talos’s shadow.

We’re also going to assume a number of surprise cameos will happen throughout the series as it becomes clear who is a Skrull and who is human — Jackson claims Fury has a very good reason not to call his superhero friends in for this mission. Back in the original comic, discovering who had been replaced was part of the appeal and we doubt Marvel Studios would adapt the story without at least a handful of stunning reveals. Our suspect list is based mainly in the TV realm with people like Sharon Carter, Pug (Josh Segarra) from She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, and Ms. Marvel’s Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner) as good candidates. Although, considering the way comic book readers responded to the shocking truth that the Skrull Queen replaced Spider-Woman for a good long time before Secret Invasion, at least one headlining character could also turn out to be a Skrull agent.

The Behind-the-Scenes Conspirators

Secret Invasion title art

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Kyle Bradstreet of Mr. Robot fame serves as head writer, while Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone) and Ali Selim (In Treatment) split director duties. Feige is, of course, producing with Louis D’Esposito, Brad Winderbaum, and Jonathan Schwartz also set as executive producers. Other crew include Sylvaine Dufaux and Remi Adefarasin as directors of photography, production designer Frank Walsh, costume designer Claire Anderson, editors James Stanger and Melissa Lawson Cheung, and composer Kris Bowers.

Production ran from September 2021 to April 2022. Reshoots occurred over the summer and early fall of 2022.

When Does the Invasion Begin?

Samuel L. Jackson as and Cobie Smulders in Secret Invasion

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

After originally being scheduled for a Spring 2021 release, Disney+ set a June 21, 2023 launch date for Secret Invasion as the Marvel calendar itself began to expand out from the PowerPoint slide Feige revealed at SDCC 2022. The timing of the series makes it the only Marvel story of the summer. November’s The Marvels — originally slated for a July debut — reunites Jackson’s Fury with Brie Larson‘s Captain Marvel and Teyonah Parris‘ Monica Rambeau. It also introduces Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel (aka, Kamala Khan) on the big screen after the Certified Fresh first season of her own series.

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