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Miles Baker
Miles Baker

The Secret Invasion

2023 is going to be another busy year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Among the many new movies and Disney+ shows in the pipeline, Secret Invasion is poised to shine a light on Nick Fury's mysterious corner of the MCU. Samuel L. Jackson's hero is finally taking center stage as Nick Fury fights to stop an alien invasion happening in plain sight.

The Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion is a 2008 comic book crossover centered around a Skrull invasion of Earth. But as the title suggests, humanity isn't even aware of this invasion until it's too late. As readers learned in the long buildup to Secret Invasion, the shape-shifting Skrulls have spent years kidnapping and replacing powerful heroes and politicians, all to help pave the way for a global takeover. With their own world having been destroyed by Galactus, the Skrulls see Earth as their rightful new home.

Eventually, the Avengers (and more than a few villains) are able to repel the Skrull invasion, but not without a heavy cost. Much like Civil War before it, the fallout of Secret Invasion wound up shaping the course of the Marvel Universe for years to come.

Nick Fury may only have one good eye, but he alone sees the Skrull invasion coming and is in a position to do something about it. Secret Invasion pays off on an ongoing Nick Fury storyline that began back in 2004's Secret War (not to be confused with the 1984 crossover Secret Wars and its accompanying toy line). Secret War shows Fury enlisting a group of heroes on a clandestine and completely unsanctioned mission in Latveria. When Fury's actions are exposed, he loses his command of SHIELD and goes underground. That paves the way for Iron Man to become Director of SHIELD in 2006's Civil War.

When the Skrulls finally launch their invasion, Fury and his newly minted Secret Warriors are ready to fight back. They prove instrumental in repelling the Skrulls and eventually regaining control of the planet. Although as far as the general public is concerned, Nick Fury was never even there.

The Skrulls are infamous for their ability to shape-shift into almost any form, which is why their invasion is so hard to detect. But deception isn't the only weapon the Skrulls bring to the table in Secret Invasion. Earth is attacked by an army of Super-Skrulls - genetically engineered super-soldiers capable of mimicking the powers of multiple heroes. The original Super-Skrull, Kl'rt, possesses the abilities of all four members of the Fantastic Four, and this new generation of Super-Skrull can copy everyone from Wolverine to Hulk to Thor. Nick Fury could very well face off against the MCU version of the Super-Skrulls in the Secret Invasion series.

Secret Invasion introduces some major plot twists as popular heroes are revealed to be Skrull impostors. For example, the Avengers only become aware of the impending invasion after Echo kills Elektra and Elektra's body reverts to Skrull form. The Avengers are then betrayed when "Spider-Woman" reveals herself to be the Skrull Queen Veranke.

It stands to reason that the Secret Invasion TV series will follow the same basic premise as the comic, with Fury coming out of the shadows to deal with a clandestine alien invasion. The series sees Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders once again reprising their roles as Fury and Maria Hill, respectively, while Ben Mendelsohn's Talos also plays a key role in the series. Zachary Quinto is also rumored to be making an appearance. Other returning MCU favorites include Don Cheadle as War Machine and Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross.

Inspired by the comic book story of the same name, the miniseries follows a long-term invasion of Earth by the Skrulls, a bunch of alien shapeshifters who have secretly taken the place of superheroes in the Marvel Universe with imposters over a period of years.

As is standard for any Marvel Studios production, plot details for Secret Invasion are being kept top secret for the time being, but we do know that the show will feature "a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls who have been infiltrating Earth for years".

Director Roger Corman said of the changes to the original script, "Initially, the prisoner being held was an atomic scientist, the only man knowing the missing key ingredient in the equations to make an atomic bomb. So by freeing him, the five criminals help unleash atomic warfare. And UA [United Artists] said they liked the idea but not that man. So I changed him to an Italian general who would lead the resistance against the Nazis and thereby facilitate an Allied invasion of Italy. UA wanted them to be full-out heroes with less subtlety than I might have sought. I had wanted them to unwittingly and ironically do something bad on their way to being heroes. But this was the majors, and with a half-million of their dollars at stake, I had a feeling these characters might lack nuance. I knew this was one of the drawbacks to working with the studios--story by committee."

After 29 movies, seven Disney+ series, and nine tangentially connected television series, we know the characters of the MCU pretty well. We know that Nick Fury is the one-eyed man with all the secrets. We know that one-time Captain America Steve Rogers retired after traveling through time to return the Infinity Stones used to defeat Thanos. And we know that good boy Peter Parker is rebuilding his life as Spider-Man after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Secret Invasion reveals that the Skrulls, shape-shifting aliens who have existed in the Marvel Universe since 1961, have placed sleeper agents on Earth, many of whom have been posing as superheroes. After the destruction of the Skrull Empire in the Annihilation storyline, Skrull Queen Veranke stokes religious furor among her people, convincing them that Earth is divinely ordained as their next homeworld. Thrown by the revelation that Skrulls are working among them, the already divided Avengers must find a way to work together and repel the invasion.

Marvel Comics published the Secret Invasion comic in 2008. The eight-issue crossover series centers on the Skrulls' invasion of Earth, and how they take the identities of various superheroes. The backstory involves Captain Marvel's Kree and the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifting aliens who often impersonate Marvel characters, and a war between them that results in a near-catastrophe on Earth. MCU will be adapting this story in part, but with Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury leading the story, following through on teases carefully slipped into multiple MCU movies and shows.

While there aren't many specifics known yet, the rough premise for the MCU Secret Invasion show has been revealed. Secret Invasion will focus on the invasion of Earth by a rogue group of Skrulls and is set during The Blip, the five-year time span after Thanos's snap when half of all life was erased. The storyline was set up in Captain Marvel, which tweaks the comics storyline by presenting Talos and the Skrull as heroes fleeing from the Kree Empire. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, a mid-credits scene reveals that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are actually Talos and his wife Soren (Sharon Blynn), who are fulfilling orders until Fury returns from an intergalactic mission. With Secret Invasion, there is the suggestion that some of the Skrulls fulfill their more villainous role from the comics and seek to take over Earth.

All of these reveals from the trailer confirm story narrative details that were previously known, but there are some new twists as well. Martin Freeman's Everett Ross is back, and fans got their first look at the Secret Invasion Emilia Clarke character Abigail Brand in action, as well as Olivia Colman's Sonyal Falsworth. The trailer also teases that the alien race has a secret goal that nobody (except maybe Nick Fury himself) actually knows about. Nick Fury's left eye is also exposed, and the lack of his trademark eye patch is bound to be important.

Until the arrival of MGM's 2008 DVD, The Secret Invasion had been difficult to see for quite a while. Its elevated reputation is due to its similarities with Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen, made three years later. Writer R. Wright Campbell's script enlists five convicts to go behind enemy lines for a secret mission, led by a British officer trying to regain his sense of personal honor. Corman signed up a quintet of name actors that, as the saying goes, were either on the way up or on the way down.

The show wastes no time and no photogenic location to get its story into gear. Major Richard Mace (Stewart Granger) assembles five talented criminals in his Cairo headquarters. Roberto Rocca (Raf Vallone) is a gangster looking to recover his personal dignity. Terence Scanlon (Mickey Rooney) is an IRA bomber serving a long prison term. Simon Fell (Edd Byrnes) is a forger and Jean Saval (William Campbell) a master of disguises. The odd man out is John Durrell (Henry Silva), an emotionless assassin whose motivation is a complete mystery. Mace trains his Flaky Five and sneaks them into the Balkans by boat, where they infiltrate a Nazi prison fortress in Dubrovnik. They escape with General Quadri (Enzo Fiermonte), an Italian capable of rallying his Fascist troops to the Allied side. If the commandos can start a ruckus in the Balkans, they can fool the Germans into thinking that the invasion will come there instead of at Anzio.

The Secret Invasion ends in a fairly sophisticated twist. The surviving team members use the captured general against his will as a catalyst for rebellion, tricking the German-allied Italian troops into changing sides. The details are a bit forced, but it's a more accurate reflection of covert ops than depicted in the Robert Aldrich blockbuster, then still three years in the future. Setting up, and then eliminating a puppet leader resonates with actual documented CIA-type secret missions. The Secret Invasion is an unpretentious action thriller, but Roger Corman once again introduces an intelligent idea or two. 041b061a72


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