Many fans are convinced Avengers: Endgame subtly sets up a "Secret Invasion" plot for the MCU - but does it really?. In 1962, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created an alien race of shapeshifters known as the Skrulls. Over the years, the Skrulls became a recurring threat in Marvel Comics, frequently attempting to invade the Earth. Curiously, though, precious few arcs really saw the Skrull exploit their shapeshifting powers to conduct a stealth invasion, which frankly seems like a pretty obvious plot.
All that changed in 2007, when writer Brian Bendis launched Secret Invasion. He revealed that the Skrulls had secretly been infiltrating Earth's leadership for years; they'd compromised everything from S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Avengers themselves. The Skrulls came within a hair's breadth of successfully conquering the planet, taking down the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and almost driving Tony Stark insane. It all ended in a massive battle in New York City, with Earth's beleaguered heroes struggling to take on the powerful alien army.
At the time, Secret Invasion wasn't particularly well-received. Although the basic concept was sound, Bendis soon got caught up in the typical superhero slugfests, and the more interesting sense of paranoia and suspicion was relegated to the tie-ins. Still, over the years the event's reputation has improved, in part because it set up the much-loved Dark Reign era in which Norman Osborn ascended to power over the Marvel Comics universe. Fans are eager to see the "Secret Invasion" happen in the MCU, and could Avengers: Endgame tease just that?
Talos Has Been "Spotted" At The End Of Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel introduced the Skrulls into the MCU, with Ben Mendelsohn playing their war-leader Talos. Talos was attempting to locate the Tesseract on Earth, and in order to accomplish this he infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and took on the role of Nick Fury's commanding officer, Director Keller. Mendelsohn played both roles, with heavy makeup and CGI for the Skrull form. He was last seen flying off to a new homeworld with Carol Danvers in 1990.
But has Talos returned to Earth? At the very end of Avengers: Endgame, when Peter Parker returns to school and has an emotional reunion with his best friend Ned, in the background there's a teacher who looks suspiciously like Mendelsohn. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment and rather blurred, but there's no denying the similarities: the figure in the background has the right kind of suit, hairstyle, glasses and even mannerisms. The actor isn't credited, but if this is indeed Talos, then it could be a very subtle setup for the MCU's Secret Invasion.
Captain Marvel Didn't Set Up Secret Invasion - But It Could Still Happen
While Captain Marvel did introduce the Skrulls, it didn't exactly have a traditional comic book interpretation of the shapeshifters. In the comics, the Skrulls and their arch-enemies the Kree are two vast, rapacious alien empires, both equally militant and ruthless. The Skrulls have a particular interest in Earth, which they believe has been guaranteed to them as a gift by their gods. That's why they launched their Secret Invasion in the first place.
But the MCU's version are very different. Although Carol Danvers initially believed the Skrulls to be a dangerous, warlike race, she eventually learned that wasn't the case. Instead, she discovered that the Skrulls were victims of Kree aggression, on the verge of extinction and desperate to survive. The Skrulls had been using their shapeshifting powers to attempt to hide from the villainous Kree, and as a result, the Kree had become ever more brutal in their methods. If the Kree learned a single Skrull was on a planet, they literally razed the entire world, killing all life upon it. By the end of the film, Captain Marvel had forged an alliance with the Skrull refugees, and had helped them leave Earth in order to find a new home, one where the Kree could never find them. She was determined to bring about an end to all the Kree's wars, including their persecution of the Skrulls.
Compelling as it may be, that radically different portrayal most definitely doesn't set up a "Secret Invasion" plot. But Captain Marvel is set in 1995; a lot can change in 20 years. Just because the Skrulls were peaceful victims in the 1990s, it doesn't mean they still will be in the 2020s. Could Talos have returned in Avengers: Endgame to enact an evil plan? Well, if it is him...
Does Avengers: Endgame Really Set Up Secret Invasion?
This entire line of thinking comes from the speculation that someone that Ben Mendelsohn is in Avengers: Endgame uncredited. Someone who certainly looks like him is, but there's nothing to directly link him to the part. Nor does it make sense from a character point. Even if the Skrulls have enacted a Secret Invasion, Talos is a high-ranking operative, and there's no reason he'd be infiltrating Midtown High: by his own admission, he's one of the Skrull's best shapeshifters, and his skills would be better deployed elsewhere in any invasion. Furthermore, if the Skrulls are invading, it would be odd to duplicate the appearance of a S.H.I.E.L.D. director from 1995.
Ultimately, this doesn't fit how Marvel sets up future movies. References to Namor or Captain Britain in Avengers: Endgame may be easy to miss on first watch, but they are still pointed. This potential Talos spot is simply too background to serve as a proper tease.
Biggest of all, it's unlikely a Secret Invasion film would involve Talos at all. Shortly after Captain Marvel's release, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige assured viewers that the idea could still happen in the MCU. "Just like not all humans are bad, and not all humans are good, I think Skrulls probably have a variety of moralities amongst them," he pointed out. "When they can do what they can do, it probably gets very tempting. So, it's fun to have introduced this concept and see where it goes." Most science-fiction treats aliens as a homogeneous unit, a single well-defined cultural block. In contrast, Feige is suggesting that Skrulls are an individualistic species, and as a result there could be a range of different views and ideologies among their number. Indeed, some could even quite like the idea of becoming conquerors rather than victims, the hunters rather than the hunted.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019