Secret Invasion: Skrulls' Powers And Abilities Explained

Contains spoilers for "Secret Invasion" Episode 2

Skrulls make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in "Captain Marvel," but the movie's big twist is that they're not the bad guys. Instead, the supposed villain Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is a decent person who's only trying to protect the remnants of his people. By the time of "Spider-Man: Far from Home," he's even posing as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) with the real Fury's blessing, seemingly cementing his position as a force of good. 

Talos might still be Fury's ally in "Secret Invasion," but that doesn't stop his people from finally embracing the villainous antics they're known for in the comics, thanks to radicalized and ambitious Skrull leader Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir). But what kind of threat do these aliens actually pose? Of course, the far and away biggest weapon in the MCU Skrulls' arsenal is shape-shifting, but do they have any additional powers, like a long lifespan or super-strength? 

In the comics, there are multiple Skrull varieties, but the green, pointy-eared shapeshifter Skrulls are known as Deviant Skrulls. While they don't have enhanced strength, speed, or other "classic" superpowers, their shapeshifting abilities are far more versatile than what the MCU has shown so far. Instead of just imitating other people, they can dramatically alter their physique — growing wings, changing shape, or even turning their limbs into weapons. They also live considerably longer than humans, with an average lifespan of 210 years. 

The Skrulls of "Secret Invasion," on the other hand, aren't quite as versatile when it comes to shape-shifting. However, they might live even longer than the comic book versions. While there's conflicting proof of their physical abilities, they also seem to be far stronger than the average human, which somewhat makes up for their lack of more inventive shape-shifting. 

Is the Skrulls' apparent power inconsistency a tactic to keep fans on their toes?

In "Secret Invasion" Episode 2, we find out that Talos is 136 years old, which he says translates to a little under 40 in human years. This implies that the average MCU Skrull's lifespan might be somewhere around 260-280 years, which gives them a good few decades over their comic book counterparts. Likewise, the live-action Skrulls seem stronger than your average comic book one, though their power level seems to be all over the place. The Skrull impersonating Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) in Episode 1 struggles against the very human Agent Prescod (Richard Dormer), who almost kills "Ross" in hand-to-hand combat. Likewise, Talos is clearly outmatched by minor rebel Skrull Vasily Poprishchin (Uriel Emil). Meanwhile, the Skrull (Ben Peel) Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) is interrogating threatens to break his chains and attack her. Granted, there's a possibility that he might be exaggerating his strength, but the scene nevertheless presents this as a very genuine threat. 

All of this makes it extremely difficult to gauge just how strong the MCU Skrulls are supposed to be. Physical strength isn't the only thing that seems to be in flux, though. Gravik, in particular, shows surprisingly impressive control over his shape-changing ability, effortlessly impersonating multiple people of greatly varying sizes in Episode 1. All of this may or may not be a deliberate obfuscation tactic by the show, or just an indication that Skrulls are just like people in that some of them are stronger than others. It could even be that some of Gravik's Skrulls seem stronger than usual because they've already been enhanced by the results of whatever experiments the faction is cooking at their secret nuclear hideout. 

Gravik has already demonstrated some impressive elongation powers in the trailers, so it seems likely that the events of "Secret Invasion" will take Skrull shape-shifting a lot closer to the comic book version, and possibly beyond. The fact that the rebel faction is experimenting on multiple influential powers from the MCU's history indicates that we could even see ultra-powerful Super-Skrulls