Secret Invasion Looks Like Marvel’s Grittiest Show Yet

The Skrull who came in from the cold.

Written by Chrishaun Baker
Marvel Studios

Marvel’s upcoming Secret Invasion might be one of the MCU projects you’ve decided is low-stakes enough to miss, but new images promise to channel a level of grounded tension not seen since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Based on the 2008 comic book crossover, Secret Invasion follows Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), former head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and current espionage vagabond, as he unravels a massive international conspiracy involving duplicate impostors of high-ranking government officials. Just like in the comic, the shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls are perpetrating the hostile takeover, with a group of extremists seizing control from the peaceful refugees introduced back in Captain Marvel.

Although Brian Michael Bendis’ comics focused heavily on the impact of superheroes being impersonated by the Skrulls, it seems the show will focus on the government sector and the MCU’s covert intelligence agencies. Created as an opportunity to really dig into the character of Jackson’s Fury, the show is spearheaded by Kyle Bradstreet, a writer and executive producer on the impeccable political thriller Mr. Robot. That show was full of shocking twists and slick thrills, and if Bradstreet’s experience wasn’t already enticing, Secret Invasion claims to pull from the Cold War novels of John le Carré, as well as the atmosphere of TV shows like Homeland and The Americans. While it’s impossible to tell if they’ve succeeded, the images released by Vanity Fair certainly paint the picture of a grounded superhero spy thriller in the vein of The Winter Soldier.

In the MCU, some world leaders really are secretly alien reptiles.

Marvel Studios

Those first images sell the darkness and shadowy ambiguity of this silent struggle for supremacy, but they also provide us with some key bits of information. While the identity of Emilia Clarke’s character was speculated for months, we now know that she’s playing G’iah, the radicalized daughter of Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). As Fury tries to unearth the Skrull plan, he’ll be joined by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), while Olivia Coleman plays a shadowy MI6 agent who puts no allegiances before King and Country.

At first glance, Secret Invasion seemed like a watered-down adaptation of a sprawling and massive storyline, but now it’s looking like a unique departure from the usual MCU TV format. The franchise has plenty of surreal and larger-than-life installments, but few projects have indulged the on-the-ground perspective of the human characters left to pick up the pieces after a cosmic cataclysm. Nick Fury has been relegated to a background resource for the larger and more recognizable characters, so it’s exciting that he’s finally getting the chance to be the ingenious, iron-willed, covert secret agent he’s been teased as for almost 13 years now.

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