– Coming to Disney Plus in early 2023
– Plot based on Marvel’s Secret Invasion comic series
– First crossover event in MCU history
– First trailer unveiled at D23 Expo 2022
– Samuel L Jackson returns as Nick Fury
– Ben Mendelsohn, Cobie Smulders, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, and Kingsley Ben-Adir among supporting cast
– Story will impact other Phase 5 projects
Secret Invasion’s release draws ever closer. With 2023 lurking just around the corner, the next TV show to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will be with us sooner than we think.
So, with the Marvel Phase 5 project set for release on Disney Plus in early 2023, what do we know about it? Below, we’ve rounded up every piece of news we can find on Secret Invasion. That includes its first trailer, confirmed cast, plot specifics, how it’ll impact other Marvel productions, and more.
Potential Secret Invasion spoilers follow, as well as full spoilers for other MCU movies and TV shows. Use the navigation bar on this page’s left hand side to jump ahead if you’re avoiding any pre-release (though we’ll also warn you when we’re about to discuss such content).
Secret Invasion release date: what we know
Secret Invasion doesn’t have an official release date. However, Marvel has confirmed (opens in new tab) it’ll arrive in early 2023.
Curiously, Marvel leaker CineStealth (opens in new tab) believes Secret Invasion may release in two parts either side of The Marvels, which arrives in theaters in July 2023. Given Secret Invasion is arriving in early 2023, though, we’re confident this won’t be the case.
Meanwhile, the MCU Status Twitter fan account (opens in new tab) has claimed that potentially one of the best Disney Plus shows ever could release on March 8. That’s a Wednesday, which is when Marvel TV shows usually launch. However, we advise you to take that with a big pinch of salt for now and wait for Marvel to confirm its official release date in due course.
Secret Invasion trailer
Secret Invasion’s first trailer was released publicly in September 2022.
Based on the teaser, it looks like it’ll be a tense espionage thriller in the mould of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with the show’s various cast members – Nick Fury in particular – unsure of who he can trust.
It appears as if Secret Invasion will be action-packed, too. We see multiple instances of explosions, characters carrying firearms, and fraught conversations about who might be a skrull masquerading as a human. As Ben Mendohlson’s Talos tells Fury at one point: “Be very careful”.
An exclusive scene featuring Fury and Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes – an extended sequence of a brief clip in the trailer – also debuted at D23 Expo 2022. Based on what we’ve heard, Rhodes and Fury may not be fully aware of just how many skrulls are living on earth, or who among them may actually be one of the shapeshifting aliens. Expect plenty of twists and turns throughout the show’s six-episode run.
Secret Invasion cast
Secret Invasion’s cast is confirmed at this point, but there’s no official word on who some actors are playing:
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
- Ben Mendolsohn as Talos
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
- Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross
- Don Cheadle as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes/War Machine
- Dermot Mulroney as President Ritson
- Olivia Colman as Sonya Falsworth
- Kingsley Ben-Adir as Gravik
- Emilia Clarke as TBA
- Killian Scott as TBA
- Christopher McDonald as TBA
- Carmen Ejogo as TBA
- Irina Kara as TBA
Jackson will reprise his role as ex-SHIELD director Nick Fury – a character he’s played since 2008’s Iron Man. He was last seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home, where Fury was enjoying a vacation onboard a skrull spaceship.
In November 2021, Marvel released an image of Fury without his iconic eye patch and sporting a gray beard. Based on the trailer above, this is part of his new undercover look – initially, at least – as he tries to get to the bottom of the skrull invasion.
Fury is joined by Ben Mendolsohn’s Talos and Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. Talos was also seen in Far From Home, disguising himself as Fury to help Spider-Man stop Mysterio.
Meanwhile, Hill hasn’t been seen since Avengers: Endgame. Well, technically she hasn’t – Smulders ‘reprised’ her role as the ex-SHIELD deputy director in Far From Home, too. But, like Talos who was masquerading as Fury, she was being impersonated by Soren, Talos’ wife. Speaking to TVLine (opens in new tab), Smulders says the show allowed her to “bring the most depth” to Hill’s character, so it sounds like we’ll learn more about her past and work-life balance.
Don Cheadle and Martin Freeman are back as James Rhodes and Everett K. Ross respectively. We also have a good idea of who will be playing the MCU’s President of the United States. Dermot Mulroney (Hanna, The Purge) is said to be portraying President Ritson, according to an image snapped by Instagram user the_insta_phils (opens in new tab) (thanks to ComicBook.com (opens in new tab) for the catch). The first trailer also appears to show Mulroney’s Ritson in the convoy hit by an explosion.
Two new characters have been revealed by Marvel. Revealed in an official press release, award-winning actress Olivia Colman is playing Special Agent Sonya Falsworth. The Falsworth name is one Marvel comics fans will immediately recognize, with members of this family taking on the superhero pseudonym Union Jack in the past. It’s unclear if Colman’s Falsworth will perform a similar job here.
Kingsley Ben-Adir’s skrull commander has also been identified as Gravik, a new skrull character created for the series. Marvel leaker CanWeGetSomeToast (opens in new tab) suggests Gravik has risen through the empire’s ranks to be a prominent leader in the skrull hierarchy and will be the show’s primary antagonist.
Possible spoilers follow for the identities of Secret Invasion’s other characters. Don’t read past the image below if you’re avoiding spoilers.
Other cast members’ roles are undisclosed, but there are plenty of rumors about who they’re playing.
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) is reportedly playing a spy with powers (per Charles Murphy (opens in new tab)). Many fans believe she will portray Abigail Brand, the Commander of SWORD – a counter-terrorism organization that specifically deals with extra-terrestrial threats in the comics.
However, prominent MCU leaker MyTimetoShineHello (opens in new tab) has claimed Clarke is playing a skrull called Veranke, who is queen of the Skrull empire… or is she? Per DanielRPK (opens in new tab) and MCU insider Lizzie Hill (opens in new tab), Clarke is actually playing a skrull called G’iah (aka Talos’ daughter, according to CanWeGetSomeToast (opens in new tab)), who impersonated Pepper Potts in various Marvel comics. In Secret Invasion, G’iah will reportedly start out as an adversary of Fury and company, but soon swap sides when she realizes what her race is really doing on earth.
Christopher McDonald (Hacks, Happy Gilmore) is reportedly playing a Fox News-style anchor in the mould of Tucker Carlson (per Secret Invasion News (opens in new tab)). Killian Scott (Ripper Street, Love/Hate) will supposedly portray a skrull called Fiz (via The Direct (opens in new tab)), while Carmen Ejogo (Fantastic Beasts, Your Honor) has been cast in an undisclosed role.
Elsewhere, Russian actor Irina Kara (Psycho) was also spotted on set (thanks to Reddit (opens in new tab) for the tip) but nobody knows what her role entails. DanielRPK (via CBM Scene (opens in new tab)) has claimed Charlayne Woodward (Unbreakable) will portray someone called Priscilla, who is Fury’s wife and a S.W.O.R.D agent, too.
Finally, one character who surprisingly might be involved is Daisy Johnson/Quake, who was portrayed by Chloe Bennet in ABC’s Agents of SHIELD TV show – a series that has no ties to the MCU. Given Johnson’s prominent role in the Secret Invasion comic series, some fans have wondered if Bennet’s Johnson may appear.
Bennet previously denied her involvement in an Instagram story video (thanks to the Daily Bennet (opens in new tab) Twitter fan account for the catch). However, MCU insiders CineStealth (opens in new tab) and Tom Smith (opens in new tab) claim Bennet will feature as Johnson, with DanielRPK (opens in new tab) suggesting Bennet’s Johnson will get a new origin story, even though Marvel plans to include parts of her Agents of SHIELD character arc in Secret Invasion.
Another leaker called The Watcher (opens in new tab) has claimed Quake’s origin story will be kept intentionally vague, so Marvel has some wriggle room when it comes to confirming whether Agents of SHIELD is MCU canon. For what it’s worth, Agents of SHIELD creator Maurissa Tancharoen has refuted this scoop (opens in new tab), while another leaker called One Above All (opens in new tab) says we shouldn’t expect other Agents of SHIELD cast members to make cameos.
Since all of those rumors (and denials) were posted online, Bennet appears to have confirmed she is reprising her role as Quake. Taking to Instagram (opens in new tab) in late November, Bennet posed alongside some daisies (*hint hint*), with many Marvel fans taking this to mean she’ll make her MCU debut very soon. Either way, we’ll find out in due course.
Secret Invasion plot
Here’s a brief synopsis taken from the Disney Plus Originals website (opens in new tab): “Secret Invasion is a newly announced series heading to Disney Plus. The crossover comic event series showcases a faction of shape-shifting skrulls who have been infiltrating earth for years.”
The show’s official Disney Plus page (opens in new tab) confirms it’ll be a spy/espionage superhero action-adventure show, plus we know it’ll be the MCU’s first crossover event. So it’s likely to tie into MCU Phase 4 and other Phase 5 projects.
Additionally, Secret Invasion won’t be as large as the comics that inspired it. In January 2021, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com (opens in new tab) that the show is smaller in scope than the comics, adding: “There were more characters in the comic series than there were in Endgame so, no [it won’t be bigger in scope].”
Given the series’ major players, we’re expecting Secret Invasion to be a continuation of the story from Captain Marvel – released in March 2019 – and Spider-Man: Far From Home, the final Marvel Phase 3 flick that arrived in July 2019. Both movies involved the skrulls to varying degrees, so it’ll be unsurprising if these films act as the jumping-off point for the series.
Interestingly, Secret Invasion was initially rumored to be a movie before being turned into a TV show. Speaking to Collider (opens in new tab) in January 2021, Feige said the series’ “political paranoia” was something Marvel had wanted to explore for a long time, adding: “We wanted to do a series because it would allow us to do something different than we’ve seen before.” In a separate Digital Spy (opens in new tab) interview, Martin Freeman also teased: “It’s pretty dark figuratively and literally. It’s a bit murky, quite labyrinthine in terms of storytelling, and the amount of people crossing over with each other.”
Potential spoilers follow for Secret Invasion’s plot.
One interesting plot point may concern The Blip – i.e. the moment where Thanos snapped half of the universe out of existence in Avengers: Infinity War. CineStealth (opens in new tab) claims the show doesn’t take place during this period, but the skrull invasion occurs in the five years between Infinity War and Endgame. If that’s true, the show’s first episode may set this up as a primer to the show’s main narrative.
Given the skrulls’ ability to shapeshift, we could see other MCU characters make cameo appearances in Secret Invasion. The comic series revealed that some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were, in fact, skrulls who had been masquerading as superheroes for years.
It sounds like this story thread could be carried over into the show. According to prominent Marvel leaker MyTimeToShineHello, there will be “some superheroes (opens in new tab)“ who turn up in the series. Could one of them be Rhodey’s War Machine? Place your bets on who could appear.
Speaking of Rhodey, The John Campea Show guest Robert Burnett (opens in new tab) has claimed he’ll play a key role in the story and that Secret Invasion could be the best Disney Plus show so far. High praise indeed, but we’ll have to wait until it arrives to be sure of both. Elsewhere, The Cosmic Circus (opens in new tab) has suggested the Department of Damage Control (DoDC), who showed up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Ms Marvel, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, will be part of Secret Invasion, which could set up the plot of the Rhodey-starring Armor Wars movie.
Meanwhile, we could learn more about Fury’s life away from the superhero world. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), Jackson said: “There are things that even I really didn’t know about Nick Fury that I just found out. The minds behind what happened during the Blip are fantastic. That’s part of what we’re uncovering when we do this series now.”
Finally, in a roundtable discussion presented by The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), Jackson elaborated on how the series will explore Fury’s priorities and world outside of the Avengers. “Well, I can have a whole life as Nick Fury that’s not Nick Fury at work,” he said. “You know, we get to go home with me and see what happens with me at home or when I’m alone or when I’m not so strong.” Could Charlayne Woodward’s Priscilla tie into this? We’ll have to wait and see.
Secret Invasion: how will it impact the MCU?
As mentioned, Secret Invasion should continue some storylines from Captain Marvel and Far From Home. It may also pick up events from WandaVision, which saw Monica Rambeau/Photon (Teyonah Parris) approached by a skrull in the show’s finale. The unnamed skrull told Rambeau that a friend of her mother wanted to meet Monica, and many fans have predicted that this could be Nick Fury.
This plot point wasn’t resolved by the series’ end, so it’s possible that Rambeau could make a cameo appearance in Secret Invasion. We already know that Rambeau will have a major role to play in The Marvels alongside Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel, but it would be fun to see her turn up in Secret Invasion, too.
Secret Invasion should impact other future MCU projects as well. During Marvel’s presentation at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day (via Mashable (opens in new tab)), Feige revealed that Secret Invasion would tie directly into upcoming MCU movies. As we said, The Marvels may be one, but others including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could also be affected.
It seems we were right on some of those guesses. Jackson has heavily teased that Nick Fury will guest star in The Marvels and Quantumania. As mentioned, Armor Wars will follow on from Secret Invasion’s events, too. It seems, then, that this show could be far more important to the MCU’s future than we realize.
Lastly, Jackson’s Fury may be passing on the mantle as superhero wrangler-in-chief onto another Marvel character. Interviewed as part of Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Art of the Series book (per The Direct (opens in new tab)), MCU producer Nate Moore said: “The Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is a character that has a rich publication history… and to some degree, figuring out who can fill those shoes, which in our mind is in a way taking the reins from Nick Fury, was tough.”
Is Fury about the retire from the superhero game for good? Well, Valentina is set to lead the anti-hero group known as the Thunderbolts in that team’s movie in July 2024, so maybe Fury won’t be walking away just yet. We’ll find out when Secret Invasion arrives.
For more MCU content, read up on how to watch the Marvel movies in order, or check out our Best Marvel movies ranked guide.
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