Marvel’s Secret Invasion Explained: Nick Fury Is at the Heart of an Alien Conspiracy on Disney Plus

2023 is going to be another busy year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Among the many new movies and Disney+ shows in the pipeline, Secret Invasion is poised to shine a light on Nick Fury’s mysterious corner of the MCU. Samuel L. Jackson’s hero is finally taking center stage as Nick Fury fights to stop an alien invasion happening in plain sight.

Secret Invasion was one of many upcoming MCU projects teased at Comic-Con 2022, where a Spring 2023 release date was confirmed. Unfortunately, the trailer from that panel isn’t being released online, but it did confirm that Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross will appear in the series.

What is Secret Invasion exactly, and how is this series drawing from the Marvel Comics crossover? We’re going to break down everything you need to know to prepare for Nick Fury’s most important mission. These are the topics we cover here:

  • What Is Secret Invasion?
  • Nick Fury and Secret Invasion in the Comics
  • Secret Invasion’s Impact on the Marvel Universe
  • How Will Secret Invasion Be Adapted for the MCU?
  • Will Secret Invasion Reboot the Secret Warriors?

How Secret Invasion Transformed the Marvel Universe Forever

What Is Secret Invasion?

Secret Invasion is a 2008 comic book crossover centered around a Skrull invasion of Earth. But as the title suggests, humanity isn’t even aware of this invasion until it’s too late. As readers learned in the long buildup to Secret Invasion, the shape-shifting Skrulls have spent years kidnapping and replacing powerful heroes and politicians, all to help pave the way for a global takeover. With their own world having been destroyed by Galactus, the Skrulls see Earth as their rightful new home.

When that takeover finally happens, Earth’s heroes are ill-prepared to fight back. SHIELD is immediately taken down and the Avengers are left scrambling to figure out who among them is human and who is a Skrull impostor.

Eventually, the Avengers (and more than a few villains) are able to repel the Skrull invasion, but not without a heavy cost. Much like Civil War before it, the fallout of Secret Invasion wound up shaping the course of the Marvel Universe for years to come.

The shape-shifting Skrulls have spent years kidnapping and replacing powerful heroes and politicians, all to help pave the way for a global takeover.

Nick Fury and Secret Invasion in the Comics

Nick Fury may only have one good eye, but he alone sees the Skrull invasion coming and is in a position to do something about it. Secret Invasion pays off on an ongoing Nick Fury storyline that began back in 2004’s Secret War (not to be confused with the 1984 crossover Secret Wars and its accompanying toy line). Secret War shows Fury enlisting a group of heroes on a clandestine and completely unsanctioned mission in Latveria. When Fury’s actions are exposed, he loses his command of SHIELD and goes underground. That paves the way for Iron Man to become Director of SHIELD in 2006’s Civil War.

Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors.  Art by Leinil Yu.  (Image Credit: Marvel)

Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors. Art by Leinil Yu. (Image Credit: Marvel)

Fury spends months preparing and watching devastating conflicts like Civil War and World War Hulk play out in the Marvel Universe. He assembles a new team of teenage metahumans known as “Caterpillars” – super-powered children of known heroes and villains who aren’t on the radar of the Avengers or the US government. That lineup includes Phobos, son of the Greek god Ares, the speedster Yo-Yo Rodriguez and Fury’s righthand woman Daisy “Quake” Johnson.

When the Skrulls finally launch their invasion, Fury and his newly minted Secret Warriors are ready to fight back. They prove instrumental in repelling the Skrulls and eventually regaining control of the planet. Although as far as the general public is concerned, Nick Fury was never even there.

Secret Invasion’s Impact on the Marvel Universe

Secret Invasion introduces some major plot twists as popular heroes are revealed to be Skrull impostors. For example, the Avengers only become aware of the impending invasion after Echo kills Elektra and Elektra’s body reverts to Skrull form. The Avengers are then betrayed when “Spider-Woman” reveals herself to be the Skrull Queen Veranke.

However, Secret Invasion’s real importance is in how it sets the stage for the next several years of Marvel storylines. Secret Invasion is immediately followed by Dark Reign, an extended story in which Norman Osborn (who happily hogs most of the glory for repelling the Skrulls) takes control of SHIELD and transforms it into a more militaristic agency called HAMMER. Osborn also forms his own Dark Avengers, a team where villains like Bullseye, Venom, Moonstone and Osborn himself masquerade as heroes. In this bleak new reality, the bad guys are in charge and the real heroes have become fugitives from the law.

Even though Osborn and his Dark Avengers are eventually discredited, the effects of Secret Invasion are felt in the Marvel Universe for a long time. This conflict represents one of the Avengers’ greatest failures, even if it also happens to be exactly the challenge Nick Fury was born to confront.

How Will Secret Invasion Be Adapted for the MCU?

When it comes to Nick Fury himself, the state of the MCU is very reminiscent of the buildup to Secret Invasion in the comics. Once again, Fury is at a point in his life where he’s left SHIELD behind and is quietly pursuing his own agenda. Thanks to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, SHIELD has been officially dismantled and most of the world believes Fury is dead.

It stands to reason that the Secret Invasion TV series will follow the same basic premise as the comic, with Fury coming out of the shadows to deal with a clandestine alien invasion. The series sees Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders once again reprising their roles as Fury and Maria Hill, respectively, while Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos also plays a key role in the series. Zachary Quinto is also rumored to be making an appearance. Other returning MCU favorites include Don Cheadle as War Machine and Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross.

That being said, fans shouldn’t necessarily expect a close adaptation of the comic. We don’t even know for sure the Skrulls are the ones invading Earth this time. Don’t forget that 2019’s Captain Marvel revealed Fury has been working alongside Talos and other Skrulls since the ’90s. The post-credits scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home hints at Fury’s ambitious plans, which may involve spearheading SHIELD’s space-focused sister agency SWORD.

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