Secret Invasion Theory: Was a Core Avenger a Skrull All Along?

Marvel’s new show makes a clear point of keeping the Avengers out of the picture — with one major exception.

Secret Invasion

The premise of Secret Invasion is deliciously simple: anyone could be a secret Skrull in disguise. The shapeshifting aliens are able to perfectly imitate any human they see. In the 2008 comic book event that loosely inspired Marvel’s new Disney+ show, the list of Skrulls-in-disguise includes Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and many other Avengers. But the show makes a clear point of keeping the Avengers out of the picture — with one major exception.

Colonel James Rhodes (aka War Machine, aka Don Cheadle) plays a major role in Secret Invasion Episode 2, personally confronting Nick Fury and essentially firing the international super spy (good luck with that, Rhodey). But something about their interaction seems off. Is it possible Cheadle’s character might actually be a Skrull in disguise?

Poster art for Marvel’s latest show.

Marvel Studios

I’ll be honest, my evidence here is pretty slim. Besides the fact that technically, anyone in Secret Invasion could be a Skrull (including Fury himself), there’s not much to go on. But Rhodey feels like the perfect opportunity for a mind-blowing twist. If War Machine is a Skrull, that could mean the alien shapeshifters have infiltrated both the Avengers and the U.S. military in one fell swoop. It would be a huge reveal that emphasizes the core point of the story: No one can be trusted. Not even your oldest friend.

Of course, the biggest problem with my theory is that we know the original James Rhodes is still alive and well, because Marvel is also working on a spinoff movie starring Don Cheadle titled Armor Wars. So unlike the U.S. president in Secret Invasion (who’s clearly a Skrull in disguise and we know will be replaced by President Thunderbolt Ross before too long), Rhodey isn’t going anywhere.

Rhodey meets with Nick Fury in Secret Invasion.

Marvel Studios

Then again, it’s possible Rhodey could be a Skrull and also come back as his normal self in the end. The Skrulls in Secret Invasion don’t seem to be murdering their victims, just locking them up in some weird sort of paralyzing brain torture device. It’s possible Rhodes is alive and imprisoned, which means he could return to reclaim his true identity at the end of Secret Invasion.

Or maybe I’m wrong and Rhodey isn’t a Skrull at all. Maybe he’s just mad at Nick Fury for totally normal, human reasons. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

Secret Invasion airs Wednesdays on Disney+.

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