Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for The Marvels.
The Big Picture
- Secret Invasion is rendered irrelevant in The Marvels, as the events and character development from the former are completely ignored in the latter.
- Nick Fury’s journey and the sacrifices made by key characters in Secret Invasion are not acknowledged or referenced in The Marvels, making the former’s storyline insignificant to the MCU timeline.
- The political and territorial conflicts involving the Skrulls in Secret Invasion were not fully explored and were overshadowed by a disjointed finale and unnecessary superpowered fights.
It’s no news that Secret Invasion is probably Marvel at its worst. Originally teased as a “crossover event series” by Kevin Feige himself, the show tried to adapt the comic-book storyline of the same name with little to no success. While the studio tried to tone down expectations by establishing no superpowered beings would be in the show, it still ended up falling flat. Regardless, the series did change the landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by killing off beloved characters, giving an insurmountable amount of powers to one of its key players, and adding an interesting bit of information on Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) past. With the show being the most recent release of the multiple pieces of media that tie into The Marvels, you’d think there would be an acknowledgment of the events that transpired in it. For better or worse, there isn’t, and it apparently makes Secret Invasion completely irrelevant to the timeline of the MCU.
Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.
‘The Marvels’ Makes Nick Fury’s Journey in ‘Secret Invasion’ Irrelevant
Having the weight of the world on his shoulders, Fury goes through hell and back in Secret Invasion. The series – which focuses on a rebel faction of Skrulls trying to cause a nuclear holocaust to make Earth inhabitable for them – faces Fury with Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), the ruthless Skrull who leads the sinister plot. While some demons from Fury’s past arise in the show, his heaviest burden is having to deal with Gravik killing two of his closest and oldest allies: Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). The trust crisis Fury goes through and the trauma left by it are nowhere to be seen in The Marvels. Besides, there’s a connective tissue that Marvel pushes in a specific character’s saga – Captain America always has a Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) appearance or reference, Iron Man always counts with Happy (Jon Favreau) and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) – which is completely ignored in The Marvels when there’s no mention of Talos, nor his sacrifice to save both his compatriots and the human race. Given he was a key player in the first film, at least a nod to his tragic but heroic fate in the series that ties directly into the sequel was due.
Ms. Marvel’s (Iman Vellani) whole family has an extended role in the film, which is a great addition for comic relief and an effective reminder of who Kamala is. What’s strange is that there’s no mention or small appearance from Varra (Charlayne Woodard), Fury’s wife herself. For those who didn’t watch Secret Invasion, yes, Nick Fury is married, and he has been for practically the entire time we’ve known him. Varra is introduced in the show as a Skrull who has been posing as Priscilla Davis, a doctor who specializes in genetics. The end of the series sees them reconcile after years of separation. Varra boards the S.A.B.E.R. space station, joining him to negotiate a peace treaty with the Kree, which is in fact an active storyline in The Marvels. Still, she’s nowhere to be seen in Tarnax when negotiations with Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) fall apart, and not even to be ingested by a Flerken while escaping the dying S.A.B.E.R. space station.
‘Secret Invasion’ Had a More Interesting Storyline for the Skrull Conflict
Secret Invasion also shows a Fury who refuses to summon his superpowered friends for an Earth-threatening menace — while, in The Marvels, he just happens to give Carol (Brie Larson) a casual intergalactic call to investigate a lesser jump point anomaly. If anything, this is the right move, but it reveals another of the series’ main defects: the Skrull plot was more of a political and territorial scheme that wasn’t treated as such. While the series includes an important political figure in Dermot Mulroney’s President Ritson, it doesn’t do much with him. The same happens with the Skrull posing as UK Prime Minister Pamela Lawton (Anna Madeley), whose scheming falls flat. Having these powerful key players in the show was a step in the right direction of fully fleshing out the political intrigue of the show. But the execution fell short, as the leaders of two of the world’s most powerful countries were used more as chess pieces in Gravik’s plot to take over Earth than being actual characters themselves.
Carol calling in Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie – King of New Asgard – to help the Skrull refugees also shows more of Secret Invasion‘s irrelevance. Asgardians who escaped Ragnarok were given a land of their own in Norway and were last shown thriving thanks to tourism in Thor: Love and Thunder. The comparative on whether the Skrulls – who were here long before the Ragnarok refugees – would be extended the same kindness should’ve been the focus of the show. The nuance of negotiations, the meddling of the United States through its superhuman and alien oversight agencies, plus the tension of distrust in a shapeshifting race is what the series should’ve been about – not a show with a disjointed finale that shoehorned in an unearned superpowered fight and in the place where it should’ve begun.
Secret Invasion, a series that was supposed to be a political thriller with high stakes, ended up being a showcase of Fury’s flaws (and Emilia Clarke’s and Olivia Colman’s masterful acting). The show is ignored and therefore rendered totally useless in The Marvels. Perhaps it’s for the best, given it didn’t fully exploit the Skrulls’ potential for intrigue, and it showed Fury has learned nothing after all these years. But it’s still jarring to witness how Marvel Studios promised interconnection between their Disney+ shows and has ignored them completely in films. While this is not the case for Hawkeye or WandaVision, it certainly is for Secret Invasion. It’s not that we’re craving the show to be wholly acknowledged, but give it a small place in the canon, at least until a retcon indicates it didn’t happen at all.
Secret Invasion is currently available to stream on Disney+, while The Marvels is currently playing in theaters worldwide.