Marvel Reveals Major New Secret Invasion Story Details

New plot details reveal that the upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion will pit a vulnerable Nick Fury against a Skrull faction on Earth.

Nick Fury in Secret Invasion
Photo: Marvel

This post contains potential spoilers for Secret Invasion.

For the past several months, details about the Disney+ series Secret Invasion have been kept, well, secret. All we knew was that the show’s story would put Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury front and center for the first time, and tell an espionage tale involving the Skrulls, the shapeshifting aliens MCU fans first met in Captain Marvel.

But a recent Vanity Fair article has the intel, indicating a story that goes right to the heart of the Marvel Universe, shaking things up in a way that Thanos and Kang never could.

Secret Invasion Comics vs the Disney+ Series

Secret Invasion may take its name and general premise from the 2008 Marvel Comics event by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu, but the Vanity Fair article reports some major variations. In the comic book story, Secret Invasion involved a Skrull invasion of Earth fueled by religious fundamentalists led by Queen Veranka. After losing their homeworld in a galactic war, the Skrulls came to believe that Earth had been promised to them by their god. Taking the identities of Marvel characters like Elektra and Spider-Woman, Varenka and her followers tried to take control of our planet.

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The Disney+ series does involve Skrulls launching a clandestine takeover of Earth, but their motivations are more material than spiritual. We know from Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home that Fury befriended the Skrulls in the ’90s and recruited them for his spy network. In return, Fury would find a home for the displaced people. “That’s not going so well,” Jackson admitted. “They want a home. They want to live. They want to live like they are. They want to live in their skin. They don’t want to live in ours.”

In the series, under the leadership of Gravik (One Night in Miami standout Kingsley Ben-Adir), a faction uses its shapeshifting abilities and espionage skills to launch a conquest of Earth. And the betrayal finds Nick Fury caught unaware and off-guard, leading to a sense of paranoia befitting a spy thriller, despite its sci-fi leanings.

Are the Avengers in Secret Invasion?

Of course, even if caught flat-foot, Nick Fury should be able to handle a few aliens, right? This is the guy who has Captain Marvel’s pager on speed dial, the guy who literally put together the Avengers. If he gets wind of a Skrull attack, he can just call in some superheroes to help out, right?

Not exactly. Leaving aside the fact that there isn’t really an Avengers team right now, Jackson hinted that there are problems afoot. Fury’s past behavior has separated him from the rest of the superhero community. So no matter how much other people want him to call in the capes and tights set, Fury refuses. “There’s a very good reason he’s holding back,” Jackson teased, but would not say more.

That said, Fury isn’t going completely alone. He’ll be joined by a number of allies, including members of the espionage community, like CIA agent Everett K. Ross (seen most recently in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), longtime right-hand woman Maria Hill, and even James Rhodes, albeit not in his War Machine armor. But there is tension even between them. “I think Maria Hill has really run out of patience,” says Maria Hill’s actor Cobie Smulders. “She’s always had this really close relationship with Nick Fury, [but] he’s been gone for so long, and she’s just been running around putting out fires.”

Why Doesn’t Fury Wear an Eye Patch in Secret Invasion?

These fissures leave Fury in a place we’ve never truly seen him before: weakened in spirit. Even after a vicious attack in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fury remained resolute and in control. But things are different now, and Fury’s confidence is gone. “He’s up there trying to process what the fuck happened, you know?” Jackson explains in typical Samuel L. Jackson style. “The death of Iron Man, the death of Black Widow, with that stuff going on he just kind of checked out.”

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The series visually foregrounds Fury’s new mental state by removing his signature eye patch. Instead of covering the scars he received at the paws of Flerken/cat Goose, Fury now displays his wounds. “The patch is part of who the strong Nick Fury was,” according to Jackson. “It’s part of his vulnerability now. You can look at it and see he’s not this perfectly indestructible person. He doesn’t feel like that guy.”

Who is Emilia Clarke Playing in Secret Invasion?

Adding to Fury’s problems are troubles at home with his Skrull ally, Talos. Played by Ben Mendhelson, Talos first sought Fury’s help in Captain Marvel and has been one of Fury’s closest associates, even standing in for Fury (along with his wife Soren as Hill) in Spider-Man: Far From Home. But Talos must deal with not only Gravik’s defection but also betrayal by his now-grown daughter, G’iah.

Contrary to earlier speculation that Game of Thrones veteran Emilia Clarke would be playing Veranka or Abigail Brand, the green-haired head of the space-faring SHIELD extension SWORD (seen in the MCU in WandaVision), Vanity Fair confirms that Clarke is G’iah. And G’iah has given up on her father’s ideals.

“There’s a kind of punk feeling that you get from this girl,” Clarke revealed of her character. “She’s a refugee kid who’s had Talos for a dad, you know what I mean?” Part of that refugee status seems to mean that she does not share her father’s trust and respect for humans like Fury, and therefore finds Gravik’s position compelling. “There’s a lot of emotions that live within her, and there’s a lot of confrontational aspects to her character that have come from circumstance,” explained Clarke. “You understand why she has the feelings that she does.”

Secret Invasion: A Different Type of Marvel Story

As these descriptions reveal, Secret Invasion may be deeply immersed in the MCU, but it tells a different style of story. In place of the high-profile battles in the sky between godlike people in brightly-colored outfits, Secret Invasion deals with humans and aliens sneaking around in the shadows. “This is a Marvel story where the humans can shine,” says Smulders. “Even though there are aliens, and there’s going to be extraordinary fight sequences, this is about people on the ground talking to each other, and interviewing people, and really do hands-on work to get the information needed.”

Is this the type of course correction Marvel needs after the fatigue signaled by the box-office disappointment of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? We’ll find out when Secret Invasion comes to Disney+ on June 21.

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