What Skrulls in 'Captain Marvel' Mean for Marvel After 'Avengers: Endgame'

Is a secret invasion of Skrulls coming to the MCU?

Over 50 years after the Skrulls first appeared and took swings at the Fantastic Four, these shape-shifting green aliens are headed towards Earth in Captain Marvel. Capable of impersonating virtually anyone, including very old ladies on a bus, there’s lots of potential for them to wreck havoc in the near future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But just who are they? And what could their presence in Captain Marvel mean for the future of the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame?

Buckle up, true believers: It’s time to get to know some Skrulls.

Skrull History 101

The history of the Skrulls goes back quite a bit. Millions of years back. In the comics, the Skrulls were born out of genetic experiments performed by the all-powerful and all-rude Celestials, who liked to do the exact opposite of the Prime Directive in Star Trek and interfere with species’ natural evolutions.

This meant all kinds of experiments upon indigenous populations, eventually transforming some reptillians on a distant planet into three kinds of Skrulls: Deviants, who could shape-shift; the Prime, essentially the “good” results; and the Eternals. This happened on many planets the Celestials did their experiments, including Earth. (Expect Earth’s Eternals to appear in that Eternals movie… whenever it comes out.)

After some years, the Deviants went to war with the Prime and the Eternals. Because the Deviants had the power to shape-shift, they won the war, and left only two non-Deviant Skrulls alive: Kly’bn, the Skrull Eternal, and Prime Skrull, who would escape to Earth in the 20th century and become a member of the Underground Legion.

Kly’bn pleaded for his life to be spared, which he got, but he also fell in love with the leader of the Deviants, Sl’gur’t. Together, the two became gods for the Skrulls, who developed into a full-fledged civilization on the planet Skrullos.

Then, war came.

Fantastic Four Skrulls
The Skrulls first appeared in 'Fantastic Four' #2.

Kree-Skrull War

A plot setting envisioned by Marvel’s Avengers writer Roy Thomas who wanted a big, cosmic, and very ancient space war that spilled onto Earth’s borders, the Kree-Skrull War is an everlasting rivalry between two alien races in the Marvel Universe. The war is most famously depicted in Avengers issues #89-97, a year-long run that introduced themes such as Scarlet Witch and Vision’s romance and allegories to the McCarthy trials.

If we wanted to fully explain the history of the Kree-Skrull war we’d be here all day, so here’s the gist: As the Skrull developed long-distance space travel, they wound up in Hala, homeworld to the war-mongering Kree and the peaceful Cotati. Taken to Earth’s Moon, the two races were challenged by the Skrulls to prove which were more advanced, both scientifically and socially.

When it looked like the Cotati were about to win after building a peaceful enclave, the Kree killed the Cotati, then killed the nearby Skrulls, and managed to advance themselves using technology left behind by the Skrulls. By the time the rest of the Skrulls found out, an entire millennia had passed, and the Kree were advanced enough to bring the fight to the Skrulls. Cue war.

In short: Colonization is Bad, kids.

Marvel Skrull-Kree War

The Avengers Step In

Beginning with Avengers #89, the Avengers get involved with the Kree-Skrull War, which is as big and space-y as any Bronze Age storyline gets.

I could summarize the entire storyline for you, but it’s also available to read on Comixology. Try out a trial account and pick up the issues here.

Skrulls Captain Marvel
Skrulls, as seen in 'Captain Marvel' (2018).

What Skrulls Mean for Phase 4

While Captain Marvel has Carol Danvers dealing with the Kree-Skrull War on her own, the mere fact that the Skrulls are now in the MCU leaves plenty of potential for them the franchise. In 2008, Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis introduced one terrifying concept: What if Skrulls lived among us?

His idea became Secret Invasion, a massive Marvel crossover illustrated by Lenil Francis Yu, Mark Morales, and Laura Martin that revealed various Marvel heroes and villains to actually be Skrulls in disguise.

Elektra? Skrull. Spider-Woman? Skrull. Hank Pym? All secretly Skrull. Suddenly, fans couldn’t trust whoever it was that showed up in every panel.

While Marvel isn’t working on a movie Secret Invasion, the mere fact that Skrulls exist leaves open the door wide open should Kevin Feige feel the itch to go all Invasion of the Body Snatchers on the MCU as we head into Phase 4 in a post-Avengers: Endgame world.

Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8.

Media via Marvel Entertainment