Like it or not, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will definitely remember the Samuel. L Jackson-led Secret Invasion. Whether it be as the show that sent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) off in underwhelming style, or as the six-part series that created the MCU’s most OP character in Super Skrull G’iah (Emilia Clarke), there’s a lot to discuss now the final credits have rolled.
As with all these Disney+ series, Secret Invasion set the stage for upcoming outings, including The Marvels and Captain America: New World Order. However, you might’ve missed a major tease of a whole franchise hiding in plain sight. If the surprise reveal that Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) could be a mutant has taught us anything, it’s to hunt in the most unlikely places for the X-Men. In the Secret Invasion finale, it looks like a case of X marks the spot.
While the Secret Invasion finale doesn’t follow its source material with Wolverine joining the fight against the Skrulls, there’s a subtle tease of mutantkind via Charlayne Woodard’s Priscilla/Varra. As pointed out by The Direct after Episode 4, Varra has a framed book that’s written by her human form of Doctor Priscilla Davis. The book is called “Decoding the Superhuman Gene,” and if you aren’t sold on the tease, the back cover features a convenient X made out of light. Is this our first tease of the MCU’s X-Men logo?
Jump forward to the finale, and Varra says she’ll help Nick get started negotiating peace between the Kree and Skrulls, but that she can’t stay long because, “All my work is here, darling.” Even though it’s never stated, it’s likely Priscilla Davis was a doctor of genetics and Varra continued her work after she took her memories. Whether or not she’s come across Charles Xavier’s Gifted Youngsters during her research, it still neatly sets up the return of Fury’s long-suffering Skrull wife.
Varra’s seemingly throwaway line makes more sense when you realise what her work is and where the MCU is heading. The Avengers are currently out for the count, and although we’ve got word of the New Avengers, other teams like the Thunderbolts, Young Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men are forming from the sidelines. Varra adding that her work has, “Never been more important,” suggests the X-Men teases are going to start ramping up in future projects. She doesn’t reveal why she’s at a crucial time in her work, but with President Ritson (Dermot Mulroney) passing a bill against the Skrulls, we’re reminded of the Mutant Registration Act.
As far back as 2008’s Iron Man, a cut Nick Fury scene referred to “gamma accidents, radioactive bug bites and assorted mutants,” although we had to wait until Ms. Marvel in 2022 to get a proper tease. Since then, we’ve seen mutants in the form of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and Patrick Stewart reprising his role as a Multiverse Charles Xavier for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Shawn Levy’s Deadpool 3 is expected to add more to the mutant roster, but Ryan Reynolds previously told Collider that there were “a lot of moving parts” and “a lot of red tape” just to get Hugh Jackman in Deadpool 3. It’s clearly not just a case of, “Okay, here are the X-Men.”
Alongside when mutants will make their mark on the MCU, the question of how is another big one. There are solid theories that the various Infinity Stone snaps have triggered latent X-Men genes. Even if this isn’t the case, Varra’s work could prove vital in helping integrate mutants into the franchise. MCU overlord Kevin Feige suggested we won’t hear from the X-Men for a while. In a February 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he mused, “The question is how to do it and when to do it, and that’s something we’ve been working on for years. Now we know. But we’re not going to talk about it.”
It’s hard to see a fully-formed team of X-Men being fleshed out in time for Secret Wars. We’ll likely get more Multiversal cameos like Stewart, or maybe just a first tease of which actors will be squeezing into spandex for the mainline MCU. Whatever Feige’s grand plan is, he isn’t willing to let anyone know yet, meaning we’re left with throwaway teases like Kamala, Namor, and Varra. Much like the Skrulls, more mutants are starting to walk among us, and thankfully, Woodard’s performance was a highlight of Secret Invasion. If we get to see more of Nick Fury’s no-nonsense wife help usher mutants into the MCU, we’re all for it.