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Where You've Seen The Cast Of Marvel's Secret Invasion Before

As the MCU's Phase 4 comes to a close, many fans are looking forward to what's coming next. Thankfully, the fine folks over at Disney have taken the guesswork out of things by laying out all the action-packed Marvel entertainment for the next decade with Phase 5.

Marvel's Phase 5 includes all the major film and television properties that will be released by the studio between 2023 and most of 2024, which will feature many of your favorite superheroes as well as plenty of newcomers to the spandex scene. Bigger entries into the MCU such as "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" are already generating buzz months in advance, while other projects, such as "Ironheart" and "Echo," are flying under the radar for now. Yet, there's one addition that seems to have the most interesting implications for the greater MCU — "Secret Invasion."

Based on a comic run of the same name, the "Secret Invasion" Disney+ series centers around the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifting aliens introduced in "Captain Marvel." The story will focus on a group of hostile Skrulls who have begun secretly inserting themselves into Earthly affairs by imitating important people without anyone knowing, including some superheroes. Playing off other pieces of paranoia-inducing storytelling such as John Carpenter's "The Thing" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," this series will test how much trust these beloved MCU characters have for one another. 

"Secret Invasion" will bring back fan-favorite superheroes and fresh faces to further complicate things, so read on to find out where you've seen the cast of Marvel's "Secret Invasion" before.

Samuel L. Jackson

As one of the most famous actors in the world, it's hard not to recognize Samuel L. Jackson when you see him in something. He's been a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his first cameo appearance at the end of "Iron Man" as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and founder of the Avengers Initiative. Since then, his character has appeared in numerous Marvel properties including "Thor," "Iron Man 2," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Captain Marvel," and every "Avengers" movie.

Despite the prominence of Nick Fury in the MCU, it's only a footnote in the massive acting career of Jackson since he's been consistently working in Hollywood since the 1970s. Jackson has worked with some of the most critically acclaimed directors in the business, such as Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas, and Spike Lee, and he has delivered legendary performances for those projects. He is probably most known for his role in Tarantino's 1994 hit "Pulp Fiction," where he played a Bible-quoting criminal named Jules Winnfield. 

Jackson has also become known for his roles in films like "Jurassic Park," "Do the Right Thing," "Die Hard with a Vengeance," "Django Unchained," and "The Incredibles." For "Star Wars" fans, Jackson will forever be immortalized as the wise Jedi Master Mace Windu in the three prequel films with his iconic purple lightsaber.

Cobie Smulders

Marvel fans will recognize Cobie Smulders as former SHIELD operative Maria Hill who has sadly appeared less and less in the MCU since her debut in 2012's "The Avengers." Her return for "Secret Invasion" marks a new era for the character of Maria Hill, which will undoubtedly allow more depth than ever before across the six-episode series. During a press interview with TVLine, Smulders noted how this project allowed her to dive deeper into the character than previous incarnations. She said, "it's the most depth I've been able to show of Maria Hill," before adding, "That's the beauty of these series that Marvel is doing, you're able to really get backstory of these characters."

Smulders is known for much more than her admittedly small role in the MCU since she has been part of some legendary shows and movies over the years. Her most iconic role has got to be Robin Scherbatsky in the beloved CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," which she starred in for the entirety of its 2005 to 2014 run. Aside from that, Smulders has been in countless projects such as "Safe Haven," "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," "A Series of Unfortunate Events," and "Impeachment: American Crime Story" as infamous Fox News pundit Ann Coulter.

Don Cheadle

Reprising his Avengers role as the superhero War Machine is Don Cheadle who, after taking over the part from Terrence Howard in 2010's "Iron Man 2," has been a consistent staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. War Machine has been through a lot during his appearances across the five phases of the series, including being seriously injured by Vision during the events of "Captain America: Civil War" and surviving Thanos' snap during "Avengers: Infinity War." Cheadle will be a main character of "Secret Invasion" which leads into another Disney+ series, "Armor Wars," where War Machine has a leading role.

Cheadle is an award-winning actor known for playing a variety of roles across many different genres. He may be familiar to fans of Paul Thomas Anderson since one of his biggest roles was as the lovably kind pornstar Buck Swope in 1997's "Boogie Nights." Cheadle is also known for his role in the harrowing 2004 drama "Hotel Rwanda," where he played hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who tried to save others during the Rwandan genocide. His performance earned him nominations from the Academy Awards and Golden Globes for best actor. Don Cheadle may also look familiar from his roles in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Traffic," "Crash," and "House of Lies."

Olivia Colman

At this point, Olivia Colman can be considered acting royalty. This fantastic British actress has become a household name over the years thanks to her extensive filmography in period dramas, prestige shows, and gut-busting comedies. Colman is a newcomer to the MCU with her debut appearance coming in "Secret Invasion" as Sonya Falsworth (via Murphy's Multiverse). Not much is known about this new character aside from the fact that she has a previously established relationship with Nick Fury which seems to be friendly — at least from what we've seen in the trailer.

While it will be awesome to see Colman finally appearing in the MCU, her acting background goes well beyond superhero fare. She is an Academy Award-winning performer who is best known for her role as Anne, Queen of Great Britain in "The Favourite" and Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix's "The Crown." Comedy fans may be more familiar with her earlier work on series such as "Peep Show," "Beautiful People," and "Fleabag." Other notable entries in her massive filmography include roles in "Broadchurch," "The Father," "Hot Fuzz," "Murder on the Orient Express," and "Empire of Light," to name just a few.

Emilia Clarke

Unless you've been living under a rock the past decade and missed out on the biggest television phenomenon of all time, then you probably know about Emilia Clarke. The mother of dragons will also be making her Marvel debut in "Secret Invasion" as Abigail Brand, a secret agent in the vein of Black Widow who traditionally serves as a commander in SWORD (the successor to SHIELD after its corruption by Hydra). Interestingly, this character was actually co-created by "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon before his ousting from Marvel entirely.

While the particulars of Abigail Brand's role in "Secret Invasion" remain obscure, it must be a significant part for Emilia Clarke to have been given the role. Clarke is adored by fans everywhere for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones," a role which she inhabited from Season 1 all the way to her controversial final scene in Season 8. According to IGN, Daenerys ranks as one of the highest and most beloved characters in the entire series — which makes sense considering that lots of people named their real-life children after her. 

Aside from "Game of Thrones," Emilia Clarke may also be familiar from her appearances in "Terminator Genisys," "Me Before You," "Solo: A Star Wars Story," and "Last Christmas." Now with HBO's prequel series "House of the Dragon" showcasing the ancestors of Clarke's iconic character, her legacy continues on even without her actually being on-screen.

Ben Mendelsohn

Talos is a genuinely fascinating and complex character, especially by MCU standards, where things are usually pretty black and white. This empathetic Skrull was a one-time enemy of Captain Marvel and now a friend of Nick Fury who simply wanted to find a new home for his people following their extermination by the villainous Kree. Talos is portrayed by actor Ben Mendelsohn who has been featured in this role in both "Captain Marvel" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home," but it seems as though "Secret Invasion" will really highlight the complexity of this character.

Ben Mendelsohn seems to gravitate towards more antagonistic roles while also having the talent to transcend any kind of typecasting. At this point, he is probably most known for his role as Imperial Director Orson Krennic in "Rogue One," who oversaw the construction of the Death Star well before its eventual destruction during the events of "Star Wars: A New Hope." Mendelsohn also played another big screen villain in Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One" as Nolan Sorrento, the greedy CEO of IOI who wants to control the OASIS for himself. 

Other notable appearances for Ben Mendelsohn include roles in "The Dark Knight Rises," "Darkest Hour," "Bloodline," and "The Outsider."

Kingsley Ben-Adir

Finally, it's time to talk about the villain of "Secret Invasion." While Talos may be a friendly enough Skrull, there's a faction of rebellious shapeshifting aliens out there who would much rather infiltrate human society and bend it to their will. That is where Gravik comes in, the leader of the Skrulls secretly invading the Earth, as the show's name would suggest. Gravik is played by British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir who has remained mostly tight-lipped about his role in the upcoming series.

Aside from "Secret Invasion," Ben-Adir has made a name for himself since beginning his acting career in 2012 with his debut roles in "City Slacker" and "World War Z." He is most known for his role as Col. Ben Younger in the BBC One series "Peaky Blinders" where he plays a wartime buddy of leading gangster Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Ben-Adir has also been featured in projects such as "The OA," "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," "The Comey Rule," and "One Night in Miami...," where he played Malcolm X. He also appears in Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" as another version of Ken.

Martin Freeman

Having recently appeared in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is Everett K. Ross, played by Martin Freeman. Ross is a CIA agent who often has encounters with Wakanda thanks to the vested interest of the United States in their vibranium resources. His appearance in "Secret Invasion" is not totally clear yet, but it's safe to assume that anything espionage-related, such as an infiltration by shapeshifting Skrulls, will cause Agent Ross to get involved.

His role in the MCU has gotten Freeman some appreciation recently, but it's hardly his most famous work. His filmography is stacked with appearances in some of the most popular franchises in both film and television. In fact, the biggest role of his acting career was as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy "The Hobbit," which shows the events of the novel of the same name set before the massive "The Lord of the Rings" story. 

Freeman also gained cult fame from his portrayal of Watson in the BBC series "Sherlock" alongside another Marvel veteran Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange. Other major roles for Freeman include Tim Canterbury in the British version of "The Office," Lester Nygaard in "Fargo," and Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Dermot Mulroney

Appearing in "Secret Invasion" for a small but important role is Dermot Mulroney as President Ritson. The last time we saw a sitting U.S. president in the MCU was Matthew Ellis in "Iron Man 3" and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." where he was played by actor William Sadler. Clearly, there's been some election shakeups since his kidnapping by the Mandarin back in 2013, which has allowed for a mysterious new leader to take over.

It's unknown what role President Ritson will have in "Secret Invasion," but it's likely that he'll be a prime target for the Skrulls to replace with one of their own since impersonating the president would give them unimaginable power. 

As for actor Dermot Mulroney, he will definitely be familiar to frequent movie and television watchers thanks to his extensive presence in entertainment. He is most known for his appearances in things like "Angels in the Outfield," "About Schmidt," "Zodiac," and "Deadly Illusions" Mulroney is also famous for his television roles as Sean Pierce in "Shameless" and Bobby Sheridan in "The Purge."

Christopher McDonald

Not all the actors rumored to appear in "Secret Invasion" have openly declared characters as Marvel often keeps some details under wraps so audiences are surprised later on. When it comes to the role Christopher McDonald will be playing, there are almost no confirmed facts at all. According to Deadline, McDonald is signed on to appear in the Disney+ series as a possibly original character who has yet to be seen in the franchise. Only time will tell how big or small of a role this proves to be in the ongoing narrative about Skrulls hiding amongst us, but there are some rumors he may be playing the MCU's interpretation of Norman Osborn — one who is distinct from the multiversal appearance of Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Regardless of his particular part in "Secret Invasion," McDonald should be easy to spot once you see him in the show. He is a longtime actor mainly known for his comedic work over the years, with his most iconic role being the bad guy in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy "Happy Gilmore." McDonald may also be familiar to fans of the HBO Max series "Hacks," where he plays Marty Ghilain (a role for which he earned an Emmy nomination) and Attorney General Harry Daugherty in "Boardwalk Empire." 

Some of his more dramatic roles include Darryl in "Thelma & Louise," Tappy Tibbons in "Requiem for a Dream," and the voice of Kent Mansley in "The Iron Giant."

Carmen Ejogo

Even less is known about what role actress Carmen Ejogo will play in "Secret Invasion," but it's becoming increasingly clear that she will appear in some capacity. According to We Got This Covered, she will be playing a character related to Nick Fury's past who is powerful in her own right. Endless speculation online has led some fans to wonder if she'll be a totally new character or if she's actually a hero from the comics like Jessica Drew.

Ejogo is a total boon for the MCU as she has proven herself to be an immensely talented actress with a deep range. Having got her first big break with 1997's "Metro" starring alongside Eddie Murphy, she has continued making big screen appearances in films like "The Purge: Anarchy," "Selma," "Alien: Covenant," and the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise. 

In the past decade, Ejogo seems to have made an impressive pivot to prestige television by scoring leading roles in series such as "Kidnapped," "Zero Hour," "Self Made," and "Your Honor." One of her most impressive performances to date is as Amelia Reardon in the Season 3 of "True Detective" as a school teacher and future spouse of Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali).