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Marvel’s Secret Invasion pulls all the MCU’s spies into one intergalactic crisis

Maria Hill’s Cobie Smulders is the latest to join in the crossover comic adaptation

Secret Invasion logo Image: Marvel Studios

Secret Invasion might be slated for a 2023 premiere on Disney Plus, per an announcement at Disney’s D23 2022, but it’s starting to feel like the most crossover-y-est Marvel Cinematic Universe series yet. Samuel L. Jackson heads up the show as Nick Fury, alongside actors from Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and the Iron Man franchise.

With the release of the first trailer for Secret Invasion, let’s run down everything we know about Marvel’s tense, alien spy thriller.

What is Secret Invasion?

A little like Marvel’s answer to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or the Dominion story arc in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Secret Invasion event showed Marvel superheroes facing, well, a secret invasion. The Skrulls, long-time antagonist aliens in the Marvel universe who also have the handy ability to shapeshift, claimed the Earth for their own. Throughout the event series, it was revealed that certain heroes had in fact been Skrulls for years, a twist that Marvel played up with the tagline “Who do you trust?”

Two groups of Avengers square off in the comic Secret invasion
Will the real Avengers please stand up?
Image: Marvel Comics

The comic version of Secret Invasion was a 2008 crossover storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Leinel Franics Yu. Heavily hyped by Marvel at the time, it’s story ran through both its own 8-issue series and several other books. On Marvel’s site, 98 individual issues are recommended for a suggested reading order. The comics also feature characters and places that haven’t made it into the MCU quite yet, like Spider-Girl and the dinosaur-filled Savage Land, a setting of some truly great Marvel arcs.

It also features characters who aren’t around in the MCU any more, like Tony Stark, who journeys with Luke Cage and others to the Savage Land to investigate a crashed Skrull ship.

What does an MCU Secret Invasion look like?

In the comics, Maria Hill has a prominent role role, and Cobie Smulders has returned to the series for the role that she’s filled lots of previous Marvel movies (and Agents of SHIELD). She’s joining another Avengers-regular, Samuel L. Jackson, who will be reprising his role as Nick Fury (at least unless HE’S a secret skrull).

It appears that Fury will be the starring figure in the TV adaptation, alongside Ben Mendehlson reprising his role as the Skrull leader Talos from Captain Marvel. The two were last seen in the post-credits sequence of Spider-Man: Far From Home, where the charmingly distraught Talos was impersonating Fury, and the actual Fury seemed to be managing a project on a Skrull ship.

Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, joining other Skrulls in emerging from the ocean
Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, seen here in Captain Marvel

Don Cheadle will also return as Rhodey Rhodes/War Machine, as seen in the new trailer, as well as Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett K. Ross, last seen in Black Panther.

We know little about the rest of Secret Invasion’s cast except that it’s absurdly stacked. Oscar-winner Olivia Colman seem to be playing an old ally of Fury’s, alongside Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders), and Christopher MacDonald, who might be best known for his role as Shooter MacGavin in Happy Gilmore — but experienced another alien invasion in the ‘90s cult classic The Faculty.

The show’s creator and executive producer is Kyle Bradstreet, who has some experience with conspiracy and intrigue from his writing and producing on Mr. Robot and Berlin Station, which dealt with the CIA, whistleblowers, and not trusting anyone. Picking up a pattern here?

When will Secret Invasion come out?

Wakanda Forever, Werewolf by Night, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will round out the year for Marvel, but the MCU machine will remain firing on all cylinders into 2023. Secret Invasion is expected to hit in the spring, according to a Marvel timeline revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

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