Marvel Studios should finally bring the Secret Invasion comic arc to the MCU as a TV show, not a movie. Secret Invasion was one of Marvel’s most popular comic book events, with Earth almost conquered by the shapeshifting aliens known as the Skrulls. The warlike aliens had successfully infiltrated Earth’s defenses, ranging from SHIELD to the Avengers, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
In a sense, it’s strange that it took Marvel so long to come up with a Secret Invasion plot. The Skrulls were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby all the way back in 1962’s Fantastic Four #2, and yet the aliens had never really exploited their shapeshifting powers to their full effect. The build-up to Secret Invasion was sinister and disturbing, with Marvel’s heroes realizing the Skrulls had successfully figured out how to conceal their presence from anyone. Worse still, the discovery came at a time when the Avengers were divided in the aftermath of the superhero Civil War.
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Of course, the Skrulls were introduced into the MCU in 2019’s Captain Marvel, and most viewers believe a Secret Invasion plot is inevitable – albeit a heavily-adapted one. But should this be another movie, or a Disney+ TV series?
Marvel Has Clearly Set Up A Secret Invasion Plot
Captain Marvel introduced the Skrulls to the MCU – and they were very different to the comics. In the comics, the Kree and the Skrulls are rival empires, each as brutal and warlike as the other. In the MCU, however, the Skrulls are essentially victims of the Kree. “The Skrulls to the Kree really represent despicable maneuvering and manipulation,” Jude Law (aka Yon-Rogg) explained in one interview. The Kree believe themselves to be symbols of purity, honesty, and integrity, and as such despise the Skrulls with an almost religious zeal. One Skrull sighting can cause the Kree to destroy the population of an entire planet, razing it to the ground.
The Skrulls forged an alliance with Captain Marvel, and by 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, it seems they were also working with Nick Fury. Certainly the Skrulls Talos and Soren were willing to impersonate Fury and Hill on Earth, while Fury himself was occupied with a mysterious project in space. It’s generally believed this is the Peak, the satellite headquarters of SWORD, an organization dedicated to protecting Earth from cosmic threats; SWORD is set to be introduced in the WandaVision Disney+ TV series, with the adult Monica Rambeau apparently one of their operatives.
Spider-Man: Far From Home suggested that the MCU’s Secret Invasion will be very different, with the Kree positioned as villains rather than the Skrulls. A line of throwaway dialogue confirmed that Fury’s organisation has identified Kree sleeper cells on Earth, presumably planted there over the last couple of decades. As Yon-Rogg proved, not all Kree are blue-skinned, and the pink-skinned Kree could easily mix with humans. Viewers have no way of knowing how long they’ve been secretly infiltrating human society, planting cells on Earth; they could have been doing this since Captain Marvel all the way back in 1995, meaning that by now the Kree are well and truly embedded.
The Problems With A Secret Invasion Movie
The direction may seem logical, but it’s also highly problematic. The reality is that a Secret Invasion plot works best with a long build-up, simply because it allows the themes of suspicion and paranoia an opportunity to grow. Ironically, that’s why the comic book event is so well respected; because of the quality of its build-up, rather than its execution. The issues of Avengers and New Avengers leading up to the Secret Invasion were spectacular, with the heroes discovering that the Skrulls couldn’t be detected and worrying about the scale of it all. When the Secret Invasion plot really kicked off, it involved the various Skrulls unmasking themselves, and as a result the plot devolved into nonstop superhero slug-fests within a few issues. The only word to describe it is simply “anticlimatic.”
The same, unfortunately, would probably be true for a Secret Invasion movie. It would work best as a slow-burn plot, building momentum with each film, but gradually audiences would become focused on the question of just who was a Kree infiltrator rather than the latest adventure. When the movie itself happens – presumably a team-up – it would seem similarly anticlimatic, with the themes of suspicion sacrificed to the three-act structure. Making matters worse, the concept wouldn’t work well as a standalone, undermining Marvel’s less-connected approach to Phase Four.
Secret Invasion Would Work Better As A Disney+ Series
There is a solution. Bleeding Cool recently reported that the Secret Invasion will be a Disney+ series, rather than a movie. Right now, this should simply be counted as an unconfirmed rumor as it hasn’t been corroborated by any other sources yet. But it would be a smart move on Marvel’s part, because a long-form, episodic TV series would be far more effective for Secret Invasion. Each episode could reveal another layer of the aliens’ plan, another impostor and traitor, another secret enemy who’s been working against Earth’s interests all along.
Indeed, Marvel Studios could even draw inspiration from Robbie Thompson’s Meet The Skrulls series. This actually starred a family of Skrull infiltrators who had secretly arrived on Earth, and were attempting to undermine the planet’s defenses. In a fascinating twist, it turned out the humans were the real villains, abusing a Skrull child’s DNA in order to identify Skrull genetic codes and morphogenic signatures. That kind of approach would be a fascinating twist, helping to create a real sense of moral ambiguity around SWORD. It’s worth remembering that SWORD was introduced as X-Men antagonists rather than allies, willing to let the X-Man Colossus be held prisoner and experimented on for months – possibly years – so long as it kept the galactic peace. They were described as making SHIELD look like the Boy Scouts. A heavily-adapted version of Meet The Skrulls, presumably with Kree infiltrators being hunted rather than Skrulls, would ensure the MCU version of SWORD had that same kind of disturbing reputation.
A Disney+ Secret Invasion wouldn’t necessarily need to focus on superheroes, either. Rather, it could be set in everyday life, with various superhero cameos; that would be far more chilling, playing to the classic horror trope where the surreal and dangerous invades the real world. The show could feature businessmen and schoolchildren, teachers and doctors, ordinary people who never imagined being caught up in the stories of gods, monsters, and alien invasions. Of course, superheroes would still cameo; no doubt the Kree infiltrators aim to undermine Earth’s entire defensive network, including the Avengers, SWORD, and characters like War Machine and Captain Marvel. But, for the first time in the history of the MCU, they wouldn’t need to be the main focus. And that would be a fascinating new approach for Marvel Studios to take.
Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
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