This article contains MCU spoilers
With Marvel getting ready to launch their big new event series Secret Invasion on Disney+, it’s time to take stock of the MCU and wonder how many twists we might be in for in this latest offering. While the plot of the comic focuses on some heavy Marvel Universe hitters being unmasked as Skrull infiltrators, the trailers for the TV adaptation have so far focused on a rogue faction of Skrulls headed up by Kingsley Ben-Adir’s villainous Gravik, along with some Skrull allies we already know, like Captain Marvel’s Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).
However, the plot synopsis for the show does still claim that the shapeshifting Skrull faction are attempting to infiltrate Earth in positions of power around the world, and it’s likely that Marvel has been keeping some of Secret Invasion’s biggest secrets away from prying eyes (and leaks), so there could be some cameos from other notable MCU denizens who have gone through the indignity of Skrulls posing as them for a while.
It’s also possible that the six-episode show might not be wrapped up in a neat bow when it concludes. The Skrulls have long been antagonists in the Marvel Universe, and this could just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Skrull reveals in the MCU. While we’re perhaps enjoying some big surprises and cameos, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) could spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, never quite knowing who he can trust.
To that end, we’re running down the biggest current MCU suspects on a likelihood of 1-10, with one being the most likely to eventually be unmasked as a Skrull infiltrator, either during Secret Invasion or in the future.
Hope van Dyne: 9
With Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) living his superhero life out in public, Ant-Man is a tiny, notable face for good even as the concept of the Avengers has become fragile in the wake of Tony Stark’s passing, so it might be in the best interest of the Skrulls to get close to him and make sure they can keep an eye on his time traveling, multiverse-shaking adventures.
Girlfriend Hope’s (Evangeline Lilly) role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania certainly felt diminished and more backup-y than normal, is that because she was a Skrull imposter seeing which way the wind blew after Kang sucked them into his dangerous world? Hmm, it does sounds unlikely – and there were some notable behind the scenes problems with the movie that could account for her smaller role – so she is lingering up here at the top of the list.
Ah, Mobius! Lover of jet-skis, mislabeler of superpowers, and Loki’s only real friend. At least he was, until Loki’s variant Sylvie decided to kickstart the multiverse again by killing He Who Remains, and when Loki returned to the TVA after that momentous moment, the bureaucratic hub had transformed. The imposing statues of the timekeepers were gone, Loki’s former TVA colleagues held different roles, and Mobius (Owen Wilson) had no idea who the God of Mischief even was.
But is it possible that Mobius’ memory wipe was not only down to the variance shift caused by the killing of He Who Remains, but also because this new version of Mobius had been replaced entirely? Let’s not forget that a Skrull variant popped up at the TVA in the premiere of Loki – it wouldn’t be that hard for one of those Variants to have gotten loose in the multiversal chaos of the finale. A foothold at what even Loki considers to be “the greatest power in the universe” seems like it would be a pretty big deal.
Bucky Barnes: 6
The last we saw of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), he was in a pretty good place, having begun a journey of healing after decades of torture at the hands of HYDRA. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he formed a partnership with Sam Wilson aka the new Captain America (Anthony Mackie), and he even let Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) dodge a bullet for the way he used him during the events of Captain America: Civil War.
But when we next (officially) see Bucky on the big screen, it will be as the leader of the Thunderbolts, a team forged by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and one not often canonically considered to consist of “good guys” in the pages of Marvel Comics. We know that in the comics, Bucky was indeed the Thunderbolts’ leader, but would MCU Bucky allow himself to be manipulated into leading a ragtag gang of dodgy characters? Certainly an imposter might, if it meant they could stay close to Valentina, the current Director of the CIA.
Everett Ross: 4
Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) has been in and out of the MCU since Captain America: Civil War. Both a former CIA agent and a former Deputy Task Force Commander for the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre, Ross’ business has defaulted to dealing with major events coming out of Wakanda, but in Secret Invasion he’ll be back without a Wakandan safety net, and it looks as though we’ll be finding out even more secrets about him.
In last year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ross went through a surprising arc. It was revealed that he is the ex-husband of CIA Director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine and they have a rather volatile relationship, with Valentina having him arrested for treason and thrown into FBI custody for meddling in her affairs. However, he managed to escape thanks to Okoye (Danai Gurira), and he’s probably keeping a low profile now. Currently, Ross and his loyalties are a bit of a question mark, as we don’t know who he’s had to get involved with to avoid prison time in the U.S. And while we’ve seen Freeman in promos for Secret Invasion, it’s fair to ask what he’s doing out and about chatting with spies, given his predicament.
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine: 4
One of the biggest Skrull suspects might be too big. As far as we know, CIA Director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine isn’t set to appear in Secret Invasion, but her tendrils do reach into its plot, as her ex-husband Ross will no doubt still be on the run from her wrath during the series.
Valentina has her fingers in a lot of pies, and she is putting together a team full of MCU characters who aren’t afraid to do bad things to achieve their mission, including Red Guardian, Yelena Belova, and U.S. Agent. This gang’s team-up movie will cap off Phase 5 after Captain America 4 in 2024. It feels like Secret Invasion will be dropping even more breadcrumbs for that blockbuster, but it’s still unclear if Valentina is out for herself or working as a cog in a bigger plan to mess with the geopolitical stability of our world. Is she friendly with Gravik’s Skrull faction, or is she one herself? We’re on the fence!
Maria Hill: 3
If there’s one thing we know about Marvel trailers, it’s that they can be very deceiving, and we learned that lesson again recently when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released. Having gone into the film expecting Scarlet Witch to help Stephen, Wong, and America Chavez fight the dark forces of the multiverse, we were surprised to find out that she was in fact the movie’s villain during the opening act.
In the trailers for Secret Invasion, a weary Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) feels ghosted by former SHIELD colleague Nick Fury, and believes she has been left to hold down the fort while Fury spends time off world. Indeed, Nick seems to have been gone for quite a while; perhaps enough time for his friend to have been replaced entirely without his knowledge. Maria being unmasked as a Skrull (again) would surely leave Nick not knowing where to turn.
James Rhodes: 2
A notable MCU addition to the cast of Secret Invasion, James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) seems to have a larger presence in the upcoming series than when we last caught up with him in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. During the opening episode of that show, which was set in 2024, we saw Rhodey roll up to the Smithsonian, where he watched as Sam Wilson handed over Captain America’s shield to the U.S. government. He questioned why Sam had decided to do so, but upon hearing Sam’s reasoning, simply told him he’d be in touch.
A Skrull imposter would want to keep his eye on Sam for sure. After all, he’s the only one to whom a time-jumping Steve Rogers has paid a very special visit.
Sharon Carter: 1
This is the most obvious one by a long shot. After the Avengers‘ Civil War, former SHIELD agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) was made an enemy of the state by the U.S. government, and she apparently then upped sticks and moved to Madripoor, where she became the ruler of the nation’s criminal underworld as the villainous Power Broker.
It doesn’t sound like a very legit move by Peggy Carter’s niece, and frankly ever since Sharon was revealed as the Power Broker during the finale of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, that surprising status has largely been suspected to be an undercover Skrull operation in the MCU. Whether it’s all far too obvious to be true remains to be seen!