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Secret Invasion - Everything You Need To Know

As the former head of SHIELD, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has been working from the shadows since the very start of the MCU. He assisted Carol Danvers through the 1990s, brought Earth's mightiest heroes together, and helped Steve Rogers destroy HYDRA. However, Fury has always been a supporting player to the MCU's A-list names, but now, the super spy will get his time to shine in the upcoming Disney+ show "Secret Invasion."

Based on the beloved comic series by Brian Michael Bendis, "Secret Invasion" takes place in a post-"Captain Marvel" and "Far From Home" world, where we've learned that Nick Fury has been spending his time in space. Meanwhile, down on Earth, the friendly Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) has been impersonating the former SHIELD agent. But in "Secret Invasion," Fury is back on Earth, very concerned at some alarming Skrull activity. The result will be a dark thriller that draws inspiration from the likes of "Homeland," "The Americans," and John le Carré novels, and it will shake the MCU to its very core. Here's everything we know so far about "Secret Invasion."

When will Secret Invasion be released?

The folks over at Marvel Studios are well-known for planning their release dates well in advance. However, things have gotten a bit unpredictable in the MCU, with "The Marvels" being pushed back several months and talks of shuffling multiple series further down the release schedule. It also looks like "Secret Invasion" suffered a bit in this upheaval. Originally, it was reported we'd see the series hit Disney+ in the spring of 2023. Now, we finally know when Nick Fury will reappear. The secret invasion will commence on June 21, 2023.

As one of the first projects of the MCU's Phase 5, that means we may feel the series' ripple effects in feature films like "The Marvels," "Captain America: A New World Order," and "Armor Wars," the latter of which is reportedly directly connected to the Disney+ show. Similar to other Disney+ series like "Loki," "Moon Knight," and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," we can expect six episodes of thrilling spy action when "Secret Invasion" finally becomes public.

What is the plot of Secret Invasion?

We last saw Nick Fury in 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home." While we assumed the ex-SHIELD agent had teamed up with Peter Parker to defeat Mysterio, it turned out that Fury had actually been the Skrull Talos in disguise. So where was the one-eyed spy himself? In a post-credit scene, we saw the real Fury hanging out in a Skrull spaceship. But what was he doing up there?

"Even Nick Fury can be shaken, you know?" Samuel L. Jackson told Vanity Fair in March 2023. "He's up there trying to process what the f*** happened, you know? And what his place in the world is. The death of Iron Man, the death of Black Widow — with that stuff going on, he just kind of checked out." And while he's been gone, Maria Hill has been trying her best to fill Fury's shoes while growing increasingly upset that her old boss hasn't been returning her calls.

However, Fury is back on Earth now after receiving some truly disturbing news. It looks like a rogue faction of Skrulls, led by the radical Gravik, have grown tired of the status quo. They're sick of Talos' leadership, and they're pretty disappointed in Nick Fury. "He told the Skrulls they were trying to find them a place to live," Jackson told Vanity Fair. "He promised them they were going to find them a planet or somewhere they could be. And that's not going so well."

Since they don't have a homeworld of their own, Gravik and his cohorts have decided to take over ours, and they've been doing that by inserting themselves into political positions of power. Now, a returning Fury — shaken by past events and still hiding secrets — must team up with a cadre of returning and new Marvel characters to stop these shapeshifters from extending their reach and using their influence for nefarious purposes. Of course, that's easier said than done when your enemies can make themselves look exactly like your allies.

Who is starring in Secret Invasion?

MCU projects never skimp when it comes to big actors and big characters, and the same is true for "Secret Invasion." Needless to say, Samuel L. Jackson will be reprising his role as Nick Fury, alongside his longtime sidekick, Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill. Only this version of Hill won't be too happy with Fury. "I think Maria Hill has really run out of patience," Smulders told Vanity Fair. "She's always had this really close relationship with Nick Fury, [but] he's been gone for so long, and she's just been running around putting out fires."

We can also expect to see Martin Freeman return as ex-CIA agent Everett K. Ross, who was arrested in "Wakanda Forever" but freed by Midnight Angel Okoye. Ben Mendelsohn is coming back as Fury's Skrull ally, Talos, and Don Cheadle will appear as Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes, aka War Machine. This version of Rhodey will be a little more politically minded and will be serving as a close ally to the president of the United States. Interestingly, the events of "Secret Invasion" will reportedly tie into Rhodey's upcoming film, "Armor Wars."

You should also expect to see plenty of newcomers. The mother of dragons herself, Emilia Clarke, will be showing up as a rogue Skrull named G'iah. (If you want to know a very minor spoiler, G'iah is the daughter of Talos.) Oscar-winner Olivia Colman is reportedly playing Special Agent Sonya Falsworth, and Kingsley Ben-Adir of "One Night in Miami" fame will be playing the villain of the piece, the rebel Skrull Gravik. Carmen Ejogo, Christopher McDonald, Charlayne Woodard, and Killian Scott are also set to appear. Interestingly, Dermot Mulroney will be starring as the president of the United States. We also know that Harrison Ford will be playing President Thaddeus Ross in "Captain America: New World Order" ... so is something going to happen to Mulroney's commander-in-chief?

Who is producing and directing Secret Invasion?

Landing a showrunning gig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty big deal, and it's introduced a group of filmmakers to the wider cultural consciousness, a la Jac Schaeffer, Michael Waldron, Jessica Gao, and Bisha K. Ali. Now, Kyle Bradstreet is joining their ranks, serving as the head writer and executive producer for "Secret Invasion."

Up until recently, Bradstreet was most famous for writing and producing on the show that put Rami Malek on the map — the USA Network's "Mr. Robot." Of course, while he'll be guiding the new Marvel series, he won't be the only creative behind the scenes. Joining the pantheon of the MCU's Disney+ directors like Matt Shakman, Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, and Kate Herron will be Thomas Bezucha and Ali Selim.

So where have you seen their work before? Well, Bezucha directed "The Family Stone" (proving he can handle large ensemble casts) and "Let Him Go" (proving he can direct gritty thrillers). As for Selim, he's directed episodes from TV shows like "In Treatment," "The Looming Tower," and "Manhunt" (which shows he's pretty skilled at tense, dark television).

Is there a trailer for Secret Invasion?

If you want to get a feel for "Secret Invasion," there's no better way than to check out its two trailers. In the first "Secret Invasion" trailer, released in September 2022, you can tell that when it comes to tone, this Marvel project is more in line with previous entries like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and the darker parts of "Civil War." The trailer promises something more in the vein of a gritty spy thriller, with agents like Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Everett K. Ross trying to uncover an otherworldly conspiracy.

The first trailer starts with Nick Fury returning to Earth and rendezvousing with Agent Hill at a bar. "For years, you've been avoiding Earth," she tells him. "But I have called for your help plenty of other times, and you've been pretty content to let those calls go straight to voicemail." That's when Fury ominously responds, "Yeah, well, this is different."

We then watch as Fury meets with Col. James Rhodes and questions him about his security detail, making us wonder if War Machine might unknowingly have an enemy in his midst. We witness Talos confront the villainous Gravik, only to see all the "innocent bystanders" in the room morph into the rebel Skrull leader, showing Talos is very much outmatched. As Ross lurks about and a helicopter attacks a caravan of black sedans, we hear Fury gravely intone, "This is my war ... alone. And I'm the last person standing between them and what they really want."

In the second trailer, released in April 2023, we see Gravik — or a lookalike — detonate a bomb in Russia, which proves that the rebel Skrulls mean serious business. We also see that this is an intensely personal battle for Fury. When an unknown voice asks him where the Avengers are, Fury responds, "This war is one I have to fight alone." And he's taking on quite the challenge, as we see the hunt is on for ol' Nick, and in one moment, he's facing a hallway full of armed agents. "You're the most wanted man on the planet," Rhodey tells him, so the odds are seriously stacked against our guy.

We also witness a rooftop chase reminiscent of one in "The Winter Soldier," and we see Gravik has the ability to shoot his arm out into a Groot-like branch. This guy is going to be hard to stop, but Fury is going to make sure Gravik gets what's coming to him. As the trailer ends, we hear the super spy say, "One last fight." Is this the end for Nick Fury? We'll find out soon enough as the show debuts on June 21, 2023.

Where to watch the MCU projects that lead up to Secret Invasion

As it's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's a pretty good bet that "Secret Invasion" will be directly connected to previous installments in the series. If you want to get a little refresher on how we got here, "Captain Marvel" would be a good place to start. It's the film that introduces the Skrulls and their shapeshifting powers, and it also shows a young Nick Fury in his early days at SHIELD. "Captain Marvel" is currently available to watch on Disney+.

It might also be a good idea to check out "Spider-Man: Far From Home," which shows that something weird is going on with Talos, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury. The second installment in the Spidey franchise is available to stream on Starz. You can also rent it for $3.99 on Google PlayPrime Video, Vudu, and YouTube.

If you're wanting a primer on Everett K. Ross, you can see his exploits in "Captain America: Civil War" and "Black Panther," which are both available on Disney+. If you want to see the dynamic between Maria Hill and Nick Fury, it wouldn't hurt to check out "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," also available on the Disney streaming service. As for Rhodey, the soldier turned superhero plays pivotal roles in "Iron Man 2," "Civil War," "Avengers: Endgame," and has a small but important moment in the series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," all of which are on Disney+.

Is Secret Invasion based on the original Marvel comic?

Since "Secret Invasion" was first announced, fans were understandably excited about the potential surrounding this Marvel story coming to life on screen. Originally published between June 2008 and January 2009, Marvel Comics' "Secret Invasion" was the first massive crossover event since "Civil War" that united the entire Marvel Universe. Everyone from the different factions of X-Men and Avengers to the Fantastic Four, the Young Avengers, the Inhumans, and more were affected by these events, and it changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe for years to come. In short, "Secret Invasion" follows the discovery that the shape-shifting Skrulls have replaced many of Earth's heroes and villains in an attempt to cripple the world before an interplanetary invasion.

This brought many of the Avengers back together after the events of "Civil War," and united heroes and villains alike against a common enemy. At one point, Tony Stark was almost convinced that he too was a Skrull before being saved by his friends and allies. Leading the Skrulls is Princess Veranke, who had posed as the superhero Spider-Woman and infiltrated the New Avengers in the years leading up to her reveal.

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of "Secret Invasion" looks to be fairly different, it's still based primarily on the original story written by Brian Michael Bendis (with art by the incredible Leinil Francis Yu). In preparation for the series, Marvel is currently publishing a sequel to the original "Secret Invasion" series.

Which superheroes are a part of this story?

In the original "Secret Invasion" comics, just about every major (and most minor) hero seen throughout the MCU makes an appearance. Whether in the main "Secret Invasion" series or through one of the many spin-off tie-ins, almost everyone is accounted for. As seen in the trailer for Marvel's upcoming series, superheroes are noticeably absent from Diseny+'s "Secret Invasion," at least costumed heroes seem to be. Yes, James "Rhodey" Rhodes aka War Machine briefly appears to converse with Nick Fury, but aside from a passing mention about what the Avengers are up to, none of the suited team make an appearance here. In a clear departure from the original (and very colorful) comic book, Marvel Studios' "Secret Invasion" looks pretty bleak.

If "Secret Invasion" is anything like Marvel's last "political thriller," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," then it's entirely possible that the trailers are simply setting the stage. This is a Marvel production after all, and what is Marvel without superheroes at the helm to save the day? While there's no confirmation of this, it wouldn't be a surprise to see War Machine suit up and take on a few alien invaders, maybe even alongside the likes of Sam Wilson's Captain America (Anthony Mackie) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). While we can hope that our favorite superheroes will show up, it's entirely possible that this being Nick Fury's story, they might not. Time will tell if the Avengers will save the day.

How will it differ from the comic book event?

Aside from the clearly muted color palette, the "Secret Invasion" series is set to be a bit different from Marvel's original story of the same name. For starters, rather than focusing in on the two factions of the Avengers — one led by Iron Man and the other by Luke Cage — as in the comics, the live-action series will focus on the journey of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. As he uncovers the secret war going on around him, a battle for the whole planet, he will enlist a group of selected and trusted allies including Ben Mendelsohn's Talos, to help him defeat the alien invaders. While there may be some character crossovers from the comics to the screen, Marvel Studios' adaptation seems to be playing everything a bit more grounded than some of their most recent projects.

Aside from the serious lack of superheroes, the plans of the Skulls in the upcoming "Secret Invasion" series seem to be more covert than their comic book counterparts. While a full-scale alien invasion served as the climax of the original Marvel Comics series, the Disney+ production looks to be taking things in a different direction. In fact, it's entirely possible that there won't be a public invasion at all, but rather a continued shadow war fought by a select few. Think something more like "The X-Files" than "Independence Day," which makes Jackson's Fury a bit more akin to Agent Fox Mulder.

Where does Secret Invasion fit in the MCU timeline?

As the first Disney+ series of Marvel's official Phase 5, "Secret Invasion" is the beginning of something bigger. Though Phase 4 was admittedly a bit confusing, especially regarding when everything takes place on the "sacred timeline," we're hopeful that "Secret Invasion" will be a bit more straightforward. Since Phase 5 takes place after the events of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law," we can rest assured that everything released before those series has already happened by the time we catch up with Nick Fury here. Prior to the release of "Secret Invasion," both "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will also be released, effectively starting the Marvel Cinematic Universe's fifth phase.

Now, as to where exactly on the timeline "Secret Invasion" rests remains to be seen. Just because the limited series is being released before or after certain projects does not necessarily correlate to its place on the greater timeline. For example, "Black Widow" was the first film of Phase 4 but it technically took place in between the events of "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" at the tail-end of Phase 3. While "Secret Invasion" arriving in June 2023 helps us navigate when to watch it, it might not fit in nicely with the greater story Marvel Studios is telling. Though, they'll no doubt issue an official timeline-watching order sometime in the future — most likely as a playlist on Disney+.

What's with the Cold War-tone?

From the first glimpses of "Secret Invasion," one can tell that the whole thing feels a bit more like an espionage-fueled spy-thriller rather than a comic book-inspired superhero story. Whether you love or hate that change, it's clear that Marvel Studios is trying something different this time around, leading more into the political landscape they first explored with the second "Captain America" film.

Series producer Jonathan Schwartz, who has been with Marvel Studios since Phase 1, told Vanity Fair that the series took its inspiration from different spy thrillers like "Homeland" and "The Americans," while also citing the works of John le Carré, a Cold War author, as paramount to their themes of "loyalty and identity." "What you find is there are people that you trust or you think you can trust — or you can only trust to a certain point," Schwartz continued, further enforcing the Cold War-era paranoia that will no doubt mark the series.

Ben Mendelsohn, who plays the Skrull refugee and Nick Fury's ally Talos, further explained that the series takes its time to analyze the tensions between the different factions of Skrulls. "The Cold War stuff is the big one that jumps out," he notes. "But there is plenty of strife between groups of people that this addresses." As tensions escalate, one thing is abundantly clear — "Secret Invasion" is not a Marvel story to sleep on, especially for fans of spy movies and political intrigue at an interplanetary level.

What has Nick Fury been up to since Avengers: Endgame?

At the end of "Avengers: Infinity War," Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smoulders) are taken after Thanos' snap. They evaporate into dust, and while it's unclear at this juncture whether that was actually Fury and his partner or just Talos in disguise, we know that he was officially missing for the five-year "Blip" in-between "Avengers" sequels. Upon his return in "Avengers: Endgame," Fury attends Tony Stark's funeral — where he presumably mourns the loss of Black Widow, his top agent, as well — but isn't seen again afterward. Instead, he waits to reappear until "Spider-Man: Far From Home," where he recruits Spider-Man to help him and Mysterio with the collapse of the multiverse. Except, well, that's actually Talos in disguise. Apparently, Fury is off-world.

In the "Far From Home" after-credits scene, we see the actual Fury alive and well in outer space, policing the galaxy — possibly through S.W.O.R.D., an intergalactic version of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and protecting Earth from foreign threats. To this day, we still don't know how long he was gone, how long Talos was disguised as him, or what he was doing up there. More than likely, "Secret Invasion" will reveal the truth about Fury's "sabbatical," and further explore his extraterrestrial adventures. Hopefully, the more answers we get regarding his time abroad, the closer he gets to discovering the Skrull's heinous plot to invade our world. Maybe he was busy gathering an extraterrestrial Avengers Initiative?

How does Secret Invasion tie-into The Marvels?

In the trailer for the upcoming "Captain Marvel" and "Ms. Marvel" sequel film, "The Marvels," Jackson's Fury is seen in command on the S.A.B.E.R. Space Station above Earth. What he is doing there is unknown, but he's in contact with Agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and later his old ally Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel to help the two of them — and newcomer Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) aka Ms. Marvel — figure out why their powers are tangled and disrupted.

Since "The Marvels" comes out months after "Secret Invasion," it's safe to assume that the Disney+ series will take place before the events of the feature film, though whether this is actually Fury himself or Talos in disguise remains to be seen. If this is Fury, then we know that he survives the events of "Secret Invasion," and that his "one last fight" line is nothing more than a dramatic read on his most recent solo adventure. But, if this isn't actually Fury, and Talos is continuing his friend's legacy, then we must wonder what happened to the original Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

However "Secret Invasion" goes, we know that we'll be seeing Jackson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe again, which is something of a comfort, and Fury will continue to have some sort of presence moving forward. While Marvel has duped us before, we have no reason to think Fury won't appear in "The Marvels."

Will there be Super Skrulls?

In the early 1960s, in one of the earliest issues of the original "Fantastic Four" comic book series, a Skrull named Kl'rt first appeared to battle Marvel's flagship family of superheroes. Unlike the previous shape-shifting Skrulls, this Super-Skrull could do so much more and was genetically engineered by his race to copy the powers of the FF. That's right, the Super-Skrull could stretch, turn invisible, emit fire from his body, and was as strong as the Thing.

Kl'rt quickly became one of the Four's greatest opponents, but the same techniques used on the Super-Skrull weren't soon forgotten. During the "Secret Invasion" arc, it's revealed that the Skrull Empire has successfully re-created their Super-Skrull program on other soldiers too, pulling in powersets from Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, and more.

So far in the MCU, we have only seen the Skrulls appear in 2019's "Captain Marvel" and briefly in "Spider-Man: Far From Home," where the only abilities they exhibit are their classic shape-shifting tricks. Nevertheless, in the trailer for "Secret Invasion," there is a single frame of a Skrull warrior who manages to turn his entire arm into a batch of tentacled objects, making us wonder if the live-action Skrulls have also found ways to mimic the super-powers of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. If they did, that might make this "Secret Invasion" just as deadly and dangerous as in the original Marvel comic books, without a batch of super-powered heroes to face them, the stakes are only going up.

Where was Secret Invasion filmed?

Like many Marvel Studios productions, "Secret Invasion" was filmed largely in London, apparently at the same time as other big Marvel productions "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantomania" and "The Marvels" (via ComingSoon). While Jackson didn't appear in the latest "Ant-Man" flick, it seems like he was shooting his Disney+ debut and the upcoming "Captain Marvel" follow-up simultaneously, making us wonder how much (or how little) these two stories cross over.

According to the Halifax Courier, "Secret Invasion" — under the working production title "Jambalaya" — continued production at Piece Hall in Halifax, though that's not all. Other sources note the series has also been filmed in West Yorkshire, particularly in cities such as Leeds and Huddersfield. As with most Marvel productions, Pinewood Studios in England provided the soundstages for the upcoming streaming series. Based on the trailers alone, it seems as if "Secret Invasion" is set to take place all across the globe.

While Europe is the likely primary setting, it would be surprising if Nick Fury didn't hop back over to America at some point during the series' run — though he's been known to do stranger things. Likewise, with a title like "Secret Invasion" and the inclusion of extraterrestrial Skrull forces, it's entirely possible that we'll venture into outer space at some point in the show, which would be delightful. After "Spider-Man: Far From Home" and the latest "The Marvels" trailer, we're hoping to see Fury in his new extraterrestrial element.

Will there be more than one season?

No doubt, most of Marvel Studios' streaming series' have been one-and-done productions. From "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" and "WandaVision" to "Hawkeye" and "Ms. Marvel," many of these shows seemed to be launching points for greater MCU stories rather than long-running shows with real legs behind them. "Falcon" for example is only a transition piece from "Avengers: Endgame" to the upcoming "Captain America: New World Order," and "WandaVision" served as a sort of prequel to the events of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Even "Ms. Marvel" was more to introduce the titular heroine into the MCU prior to her appearance in "The Marvels." With so many different Marvel stories out there, it's easy to wonder if "Secret Invasion" will fall into the same limited series banner.

According to Collider, Kevin Feige wanted to do "Secret Invasion" as a six-episode limited event series because it allowed them to do something "different than [they've] done before." Unlike "Loki" and "What If?...," which are getting subsequent seasons, "Secret Invasion" is a one-off that will reportedly change the landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not unlike how "Captain America: The Winter Solider" had major ramifications across the MCU — including "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." — so too will Nick Fury's adventures in this series. While we don't know what exactly how the Marvel universe will change after "Secret Invasion," we can rest assured knowing that the limited series is a completed story on its own.

How will Secret Invasion impact the greater MCU?

Speaking of "Secret Invasion's" greater impact, the effects that this Disney+ series could have on the greater MCU are theoretically endless. We've seen before how single films or television shows can have an enormous impact on the larger Marvel world following their release. "The Winter Soldier" is a primary example, but even "The Avengers," "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "WandaVision" all changed large aspects of the MCU that would affect the world later.

No doubt, both the "Loki" series and 2023's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's" introduction of Kang the Conqueror will affect the MCU in ways that we can't begin to anticipate. Likewise, "Secret Invasion" could do the same. Though the series chronicles a shadow war between Nick Fury's faction and the Skrulls, that doesn't mean that there won't be some sort of larger revelation that will change the MCU. More than likely, the knowledge that the Skrulls have been among us will become public, and Earth's citizens likely won't take that well — especially after so many prior alien invasions on our world.

Beyond that, this being Fury's "one last mission" also means something. While this won't be the last time we see Jackson in his most prolific role, how Fury will make it out alive is still a question worth asking. Even if Fury somehow manages to hide the events of "Secret Invasion" from the world, the ripples will still be felt throughout the MCU.