Secret Invasion’s MCU Crossover Event Will Be Different Than Phases 1-3

Marvel Studios have officially announced that Disney+’s Secret Invasion will be the first official crossover event for the streaming service, changing what the term means from Phases 1-3. Secret Invasion is set to release on Disney+ in early 2023 as part of the MCU’s Phase 5 and will costar Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos. The series is confirmed to be an adaptation of the Marvel Comics story of the same name and will be centered around the nature of the Skrulls in the MCU.

With Nick Fury confirmed to return, alongside Talos, many expected Secret Invasion to link to the Captain Marvel films given the closely connected story of those two characters to Carol Danvers in Phase 3. However, Marvel has confirmed that the series will also tie into future films and series in the MCU, being the first Disney+ show to be described as a crossover event. While other Disney+ shows like Loki and WandaVision have impacted the MCU as a whole, the events of the series themselves were mostly self-contained.

With Secret Invasion then, Marvel Studios have a Disney+ series that will directly influence and feature other elements of the MCU to a big extent, likely altering many different facets of the MCU. Previous MCU crossover events from Phases 1-3, namely The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame were labeled as such due to the events of the MCU coming to a head for these films. Characters from all different sub-franchises of the MCU would crossover in these films, and change the MCU’s trajectory altogether until the next ensemble installment. With Secret Invasion then, not only do Marvel Studios have only the second crossover property that isn’t an Avengers movie (after Captain America: Civil War), but they also have an engaging chance to explore an MCU crossover event in a much different way than Phases 1-3 did, due to the comics the series is based on and the nature of the MCU post Avengers: Endgame.

Secret Invasion Comic Plot Points Explained

Before exploring why the show itself could be a different type of crossover event to Phases 1-3, it is worth briefly exploring the comic series that Secret Invasion will be adapting. While the comic story is unlikely to be directly adapted in the MCU due to characters such as Galactus not appearing in the latter as of yet, some of the less specific plot points of Marvel Comics miniseries are worth exploring. Perhaps the most interesting of these is that the Skrull invasion of Earth comes after the destruction of their home planet. After their home is destroyed, the Skrulls are promised a new life on Earth, which can be gained by shapeshifting into some of Earth’s most important figures, including its superheroes.

While there are differences between the MCU’s Skrulls and Marvel Comics, Secret Invasion, both on Disney+ and at the start of the comic run, features the Skrulls looking for a new home. In the comics, the Skrulls then begin impersonating countless members of Earth and undergoing intense training so as to not alert other Earth dwellers to their presence as Skrulls. The conditioning was so strong that the Skrulls sometimes forgot they were impersonating someone else, and would only return to their true form upon death or a key phrase being spoken to them. The aftermath of the Skrull invasion meant that any impersonated superheroes, or other important figures, were freed and returned to Earth, only with some having major aspects of their life completely altered due to their Skrull doppelgangers’ actions over the years.

The MCU has set up the beginning of Secret Invasion similarly, albeit with some changes. For instance, while Galactus wasn’t responsible for the destruction of the Skrull homeworld in the MCU, the MCU Skrulls were still left displaced after the Kree destroyed their planet. Captain Marvel then began setting up the Skrulls as evil beings who were impersonating figures of different civilizations across the cosmos to invade. It was eventually revealed that the Skrulls were simply doing this out of a necessity to survive, rather than invade, changing the way the MCU portrayed the aliens through Talos. That being said, with Talos being seen as a benevolent force in the MCU, the opportunity for Secret Invasion could stem from other Skrulls invading Earth over the years with Talos and Fury working together to find who they are and stop them.

MCU’s Secret Invasion Could Crossover With Projects Before Phase 5

Through this being the catalyst for the Secret Invasion event in the MCU, the main way in which this crossover event would be different becomes clear. While all the crossover events of Phases 1-3 culminated in a present-day storyline of all the previous characters coming together, Secret Invasion could retroactively be a crossover with events and films of the MCU’s past. While some of the story will obviously be set in the present, it is safe to assume that a portion of Secret Invasion will explore Skrulls impersonating different figures across the MCU, both past and present. In this way, Secret Invasion’s crossover nature will be crossing over with previous films in the MCU, rather than being the spearhead of a present-day crossover story. Many projects of Phases 1-3 of the MCU explored vast areas of the galaxy. From Guardians of the Galaxy spearheading the cosmic side of the MCU, with the film and its sequel exploring multiple different planets to Earth, to the vast majority of Phase 1-3 projects taking place on Earth, a lot of different civilizations have been shown over the years.

In flashing back to different scenes throughout these movies, including planets introduced in Captain Marvel and the Thor movies also, Secret Invasion will likely show that some characters that have been in the MCU for years have actually been Skrulls. Given how Captain Marvel first introduced the Skrulls in the 1990s, everything else in the MCU takes place after this point. It is therefore extremely likely that different characters, whether they be minor or major, introduced throughout the series could have been MCU Skrulls in disguise all along, like with Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene. In revealing these imposters, Secret Invasion will be crossing over with events from the MCU’s past, allowing for a different type of crossover event altogether than the MCU has shown up to this point.

The Multiverse Could Allow Crossovers With Multiversal Skrulls

While retroactively reframing MCU events is the most likely way Secret Invasion’s crossover status will be different from those of Phases 1-3, the revelation of Phases 4-6 being titled the Multiverse Saga also allows for this. It is entirely possible that, given the establishment of the multiverse playing a huge part in the MCU after the events of Loki, Skrulls from other universes are infiltrating Earth-616. While it is more likely that Marvel Studios are adapting the comics storyline of the Skrulls from the prime universe invading Earth, they could also opt to have some Skrulls come from other universes to tie in with the overarching story of the Marvel Phases 4-6. In order for this to make sense, and also give the Skrulls invading Earth more of a motivation than that of simple survival, it could be revealed that Kang the Conqueror, the MCU’s upcoming multiversal villain established in Loki, has employed Skrulls to scout other universes for threats. With Kang being set up as one of the main villains the Avengers will have to face in the upcoming Phase 6, it would make sense to have Secret Invasion link to this somehow due to its crossover event nature.

While an adaptation more akin to the comics story would still be interesting, it is hard to see how this story would have any lasting consequences on the MCU that link to the Multiverse Saga. Therefore, making Skrulls a multiversal threat sent by Kang to secretly invade Earth-616 further sets up Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. That being said, Marvel Studios certainly have a team big enough, and with enough talent, to make any adaptation of Secret Invasion work within their universe, be it a multiverse story or not. Regardless, MCU audiences will have to wait slightly longer in order to learn more about the upcoming crossover event, though it is certain that Secret Invasion will be a different type of project altogether than the MCU’s crossover events of the past.

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