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9 things we learned about the Skrulls in Secret Invasion episode 1

Published Jun 22nd, 2023 9:15PM EDT
Kingsley Ben-Adir as Rebel Skrull leader Gravik in Marvel Studios' Secret Invasion.
Image: Marvel Studios

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We last saw the Skrulls in WandaVision, when a shape-shifter came to Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) to inform her that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was looking for her. That was a credits scene of a Disney Plus show that had nothing to do with the Skrulls. But Secret Invasion brings the Skrulls front and center, as a faction of the aliens residing on Earth has rebelled.

We’re going to learn a lot more about this alien race during this season than ever before, and Secret Invasion episode 1 already delivered plenty of important details about them. You’ll need to understand exactly how Skrulls work to understand the action in Secret Invasion. And maybe other MCU stories. Before I explain the top 9 things we learned from episode 1, I’ll note that big spoilers will follow.

Skrulls live very long lives

Barring a premature death, Skrulls will outlive humans. We learned in episode 1 that Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is 136 years old. And he still hasn’t reached his mid-life crisis. That gives the bad Skrulls ample time to plan and execute a secret invasion over how many years it’ll take.

We first saw Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) & Co. in Captain Marvel when Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Fury saved them and promised them a new home. That was more than 30 years ago.

Skrulls are very strong

Fake Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) fell to his death early in the episode. We learn this was a Skrull taking his form. But he might have thought he’d survive the fall. Bullets kill Skrulls, too, a lot easier than expected.

But in hand-to-hand combat, they’re very strong. Maybe that’s a way to tell that someone isn’t a real person. Talos does that at some point in the episode while fighting a Skrull posing as a human.

Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) in Secret Invasion trailer.
Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) in Secret Invasion trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

A Skrull death reveals their identity

Secret Invasion season 1 confirms what we’ve known all along. That death will reveal the true identity of a shape-shifter. If it’s a Skrull masquerading as a human, they’ll switch back to their true form after death.

Detection might be nearly impossible

However, G’iah (Emilia Clarke) reveals that the longer a Skrull stays in the same human shell, the more difficult it’ll be for others to tell they’re not human. That implies there are ways to find out who is a Skrull without killing everyone in your proximity and waiting to see whose body turns green.

We have no idea how you’d tell a Skrull posing as a human from a real human yet.

Staying in the same “costume” is also easier for Marvel’s pockets. It won’t have to spend as much money on visual effects for some characters.

G'iah (Emilia Clarke) in Secret Invasion trailer.
G’iah (Emilia Clarke) in Secret Invasion trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

Two ways to take a human form

All a Skrull has to do to take someone’s appearance is look at them. We saw it happen first in Captain Marvel.

But the same thing occurs in the climax of Secret Invasion. Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) shape-shifts into various people in a crowded square before taking Fury’s identity. He uses this identity to kill Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), who appears to be a human.

The second transformation is a brilliant detail for Avengers

But there’s a deeper connection that a Skrull can make with a human. In addition to taking their face, the Skrull can also use a machine to extract the host’s mind. That way, the resulting shape-shifter would have the memories of the real person they’re replacing.

This would be a huge detail to remember in case Marvel replaces Avengers with Skrulls. That’s something I’d definitely want to see later in Secret Invasion. Maybe they’ll replace Fury completely.

Also, this method means the Skrull would kidnap the humans and keep them alive in one of those mind-transferring machines. This explains what happens with real Avengers that could be replaced by Skrulls.

Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) has Mr. Fantastic-like powers.
Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) has Mr. Fantastic-like powers. Image source: Marvel Studios

Skrulls don’t mind radiation

We learn early in Secret Invasion episode 1 that Skrulls have chosen former nuclear plant sites in Russia to hide in plain sight. They don’t mind the radiation, and that’s why they’ve taken refuge there.
Also, their goal is to escalate the US-Russia rivalry to full-blown war, which could lead to a nuclear diaster that would essentially wipe human life from the planet.

This tolerance to radioactivity might be important down the road.

Gravik’s faction killed Soren

Soren (Sharon Blynn) was Talos’s wife in Captain Marvel and No Way Home. But she died since then, apparently at the hands of the bad Skrulls.

This family detail is important as it explains how G’iah will pivot from the Gravik team to Fury & Co. She didn’t know her mother was dead until Talos told her.

Skrulls have infiltrated the ranks of major world powers

Finally, we learn from Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) that Skrulls have infiltrated the ranks of major world powers. That will be an important plot point for the remainder of Secret Invasion and future MCU adventures.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.