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How Secret Invasion might ruin one of the best-ever Marvel movies

Published Jul 17th, 2023 1:38PM EDT
Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson in Secret Invasion.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is widely regarded as one of the best Marvel of all time. But once you see the Secret Invasion Disney Plus TV show you’ll quickly realize that Marvel might have ruined its best Captain America movie due to a few lines of dialogue between two of the show’s protagonists.

Secret Invasion spoilers will follow below, so make sure you watch the show on Disney Plus before you read any further.

Secret Invasion could have been one of the best pieces of MCU content Marvel had the studio taken actual risks with the story and the characters. But after four Secret Invasion episodes, that’s clearly not the case. And I don’t have high hopes for the final two episodes, either. Secret Invasion will probably deliver the safe finale we expect without upending the MCU.

However, Secret Invasion does provide ample details about the Skrulls and their relationship with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) since the events in Captain Marvel. Fury’s interactions with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) are especially exciting, and the latter’s apparent death in episode 4 is a huge disservice to the MCU. But that’s not the point I’m making here.

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

Talos was Nick Fury’s secret weapon all along

Talos reminded Fury in episode 3 how integral his Skrull spies were to Fury’s success. The shape-shifting aliens gave Fury plenty of actionable intelligence over the years, allowing him to save the day more than once. And, in the process, he climbedthe SHIELD ladder alone. Fury has always taken the credit, as the world had no idea the Skrulls existed.

This retcons Fury’s history at SHIELD. That might include the creation of the Avengers. With the Skruls shape-shifting as humans, Fury would have had advanced knowledge of individuals with superpowers on Earth. As well as information on how to best keep the Avengers together.

The problem with these revelations from Talos is that they somewhat ruin the Winter Soldier events. Perhaps one of Fury’s biggest failures as leader of SHIELD was to allow the Hydra infiltration, an infiltration that the Skrulls were never able to detect.

That’s a detail I hadn’t even considered until going over a Redditor’s realization that the Skrulls might not be that great at spying if they totally missed Hydra like that.

I would imagine that the higher Fury rose, the more resources he had to make better use of the Skrulls. Thus, it seems highly unlikely for the Skrulls not to have infiltrated Hydra themselves when the time came.

Come to think of it, Hydra might have learned about the Skrulls as well, given how large and well-funded that organization was.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in Secret Invasion trailer.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the Secret Invasion trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

How Marvel can fix it

The same Redditor provides a quick fix for Marvel that Secret Invasion could have delivered. A dialogue between the same Fury and Talos, with the former mocking his friend for never detecting Hydra.

Another simple fix I’d be more partial to would be for the Skrull rebels to have infiltrated Hydra long ago and never told Talos about it.

They could have used the organization to destroy SHIELD, with the events in Winter Soldier representing a failed Skrull mission to destroy all potential dangers to the Skrull uprising with the help of humans. Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) could have mentioned the failed Hydra attack in one of his dialogues with other sympathetic Skrulls.

Think about it: How awesome would it be for us to learn that the Sokovia Accords were also implemented because of the Skrull rebels as a means to cripple the Avengers before the actual invasion could happen.

I did hope Secret Invasion would make us rethink the MCU for the right reasons. Like Rhodey (Don Cheadle) being a Skrull for god knows how long. And for other Avengers to have been replaced by Skrulls. I never thought the show would turn the Skrulls into a potentially massive Captain America: The Winter Soldier plot hole.

Secret Invasion episode 5 premiers on Disney Plus next Wednesday, with the finale dropping a week after that.

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.