It's commonly believed that Marvel Studios is gearing up for a "Secret Invasion" plotline that will shake the MCU to its core - but which of the Avengers could secretly be Skrulls? Next year's Captain Marvel will introduce the Skrulls, a shapeshifting alien race from the comics, to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A warlike people who have been locked in conflict with the Kree for millennia, the Skrulls are notorious for using their shapeshifting powers to infiltrate other worlds before conquering them and plundering their resources for the war.
Over in the comics, the Skrulls are best known for the 2007 "Secret Invasion" event. Spearheaded by writer Brian Bendis, "Secret Invasion" revealed that the Skrulls had spent years - perhaps even decades - working their way into every area of public life on Earth. The Avengers first learned about the Skrull invasion when the Hand's leader Elektra was killed, and her body shifted back to the form of a Skrull. It didn't take long for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes to discover that they had no way of detecting the Skrull duplicates. The event's strapline was a simple but effective one; "Who do you trust?"
Adding a race of shapeshifting, warlike aliens into MCU history definitely seems to set up the potential for a "Secret Invasion" plotline. What's more, given that Captain Marvel is set in the '90s, the Skrulls will presumably have decades to build up a presence on Earth. That means anyone could potentially be a Skrull - even a member of the Avengers.
This Page: Why the Big Avengers Can't be Skrulls
Why the Big Avengers Can't be Skrulls
Back in 2007, Brian Bendis swiftly spotted a potential issue with his "Secret Invasion" arc. The last few years had seen Earth's heroes make morally dubious decisions, as part of both the "Civil War" and the "World War Hulk" events. Some characters actually seemed badly damaged by their arcs, none more so than Iron Man. Several of the tie-ins to "Civil War" had essentially portrayed Iron Man as an out-and-out fascist, and he'd gone so far as to create a prison in the Negative Zone in which he'd imprisoned old friends and allies. Readers immediately began to suspect Iron Man was actually a Skrull, and that this was a convenient strategy to back out of a poorly-received character arc. In an interview with CBR, Bendis insisted that wasn't the case.
"People who spent good money on "Civil War" and now "World War Hulk" can rest assured — as promised that those events happened unto themselves. There’s no sinister doings that we did not reveal. Whatever the plan afoot is for the Skrull Empire 'Civil War' certainly helped it. They let it happen. They were sort of like, 'Oh you guys want to beat the s**t out of each other? Go ahead.'"
In other words, Bendis insisted that the Skrull invasion wasn't responsible for divisive events like "House of M," Civil War," or "Secret War." Rather, the Skrulls simply took advantage of the chaos in the superhero community in order to push ahead with their own plans. Two key Avengers were revealed to be Skrulls; Spider-Woman and Hank Pym. Both had been well-placed, but were only secondary characters in arcs like "Civil War."
Marvel Studios would face exactly the same issues if they revealed any of the main Avengers were Skrulls. Imagine if Tony Stark had been a Skrull impostor for years; Captain America: Civil War would lose all of its emotional impact, because everything Iron Man did in the film would really have been part of a Machiavellian scheme to tear the Avengers apart. Thor's character arc through Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War would lose all meaning if he turned out to be a Skrull. Even the Hulk couldn't really be a Skrull, given Marvel is working on a three-film character arc for the Jade Giant, one that would be completely ditched if it were revealed Bruce Banner had actually been replaced. And as for Spider-Man, there's simply no way Marvel would damage his character arc by revealing he was actually a Skrull.
So the first thing we can say for certain is that the central Avengers simply cannot be Skrulls. That would damage the narrative fabric of the MCU, twisting the stories of previous films to the point where they lost all emotional impact.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019