Marvel’s Secret Invasion is building a cast fit for an Avengers

Secret Invasion might be slated to premiere on Disney Plus in the (unknown) future, but it’s starting to feel more like a full-blown Avengers movie in terms of its scope and size. But if it’s anything like the event in Marvel’s comics, the scale makes sense.

With casting news flooding in, plot trickling out as Marvel plots typically do, and a wealth of comics knowledge for us to judge, here’s what we know — and what to know — about Secret Invasion.

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 comics deal with, well, a secret invasion. The Skrulls, long-time antagonist aliens in the Marvel universe who also have the handy ability to shapeshift, claim 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 Deadline just caught the news that Cobie Smulders will be returning in the role that she has filled in every Avengers movie, not to mention Spider-Man: Far From Home. She’s joining another Avengers-regular, Samuel L. Jackson, who will be reprising his role as Nick Fury (or will he?).

It appears that Fury will be a 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

The rest of Secret Invasion’s cast, so far. includes Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Killian Scott, 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 it debut?

Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home are rounding out the year for Marvel, but the MCU TV machine will remain firing on all cylinders into 2022, which is presumably when we’ll see the six-part series. The recent Disney Plus Day event featured a number of quick looks at Secret Invasion, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and name-dropping a number of other shows with intriguing names like X-Men ‘97, Marvel Zombies and Agatha: House of Harkness.

Of all the shows with video reveals, Secret Invasion’s was the shortest. All that’s seen is Nick Fury (presumably), except now he’s got a beard and has lost his eye patch. The mystery beckons.