Secret Invasion will make history on Disney Plus for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) when it launches in 2023.
The limited series is the first Marvel TV show to be billed as a “crossover event” – a phrase that suggests Secret Invasion will be the first MCU Disney Plus show that ties into the upcoming slate of Marvel movies. The intriguing and historic description can be found in the Disney Plus Originals Page (opens in new tab) (thanks to reddit (opens in new tab) for the capture), although there is no indication as to which other productions will be linked.
So far, Marvel Studios’ Disney Plus productions have followed standalone stories that occasionally set up events in some MCU movies. A classic example is WandaVision, the first MCU TV series that kicked off Marvel’s Phase 4, which simultaneously told a complete story and teased Wanda’s extensive involvement in Doctor Strange 2.
However, Secret Invasion is the first TV show in the MCU officially described as a “crossover event”. Other TV entries in the MCU, including Hawkeye and Miss Marvel, were not labeled as such, despite the fact that they created Marvel projects, including Echo and The Marvels. It seems, then, that Secret Invasion could be a much more important Marvel TV show than we realize.
This isn’t the first crossover-style event on Disney Plus. The streamer’s Star Wars TV lineup was similarly positioned as a crossover event, with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka united by an overarching narrative. Maybe Marvel is taking a page out of Lucasfilm’s book…
Secret Invasion sees Samuel L Jackson reprising his role as Nick Fury, the former director of SHIELD, as he leads an investigation into a sect of Skrulls that have infiltrated (and live among) Earth’s human population. The series will also feature Ben Mendolsohn as Talos and Cobie Smulders as former SHIELD agent Maria Hill. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke, Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman and One Night in Miami’s Kingsley Ben-Adir are also part of the cast.
Originally slated to release this year, Secret Invasion will now arrive in Spring 2023 as part of Marvel Phase 5. The show is currently undergoing reshoots in London, with Jackson previously confirming that he was returning to the UK to film new scenes for the show and The Marvels. Jackson also teased Fury’s future in the MCU, so we can expect to see him appear in other Phase 5 projects.
Analysis: How could the secret invasion affect the MCU?
Given its description of a “crossover event”, it’s possible that Secret Invasion is an Avengers-style mini project, with various superheroes and MCU characters appearing at various points throughout its episodic run. Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Martin Freeman’s Everett K Ross are already set for a cameo, so it’s not out of the question that other prominent MCU characters could appear.
The series may also be the first open-ended series for Marvel Disney Plus. If it’s going to instigate events in Phase 5 MCU projects like The Marvels and/or Captain America: New World Order, Secret Invasion doesn’t necessarily need a finite ending, especially if its narrative bleeds into future Marvel productions.
The Secret Invasion will pick up where the Marvels’ predecessor – aka 2019’s Captain Marvel – left off, particularly with Captain Marvel leading Talos and the other Skrull refugees into the cosmos to find a new permanent home. With Talos set to feature prominently in Secret Invasion, the show’s ties to the Marvels feel quite right at this point.
There have even been rumors that Secret Invasion could be released in two parts – similar to how Netflix released the fourth season of Stranger Things – on either side of Marvel’s July 2023 release. This would further cement its place as the MCU’s first TV crossover event, as long as the rumors are true.
Meanwhile, the “New World Order” part of Captain America 4’s title may allude to the Skrulls who hold important positions in government, the military, and even superheroes across the world. This is a big storyline that plays out in the Secret Invasion comic book, so it’s one that could be explored in more detail if Sam Wilson / Anthony Mackie’s Captain America makes a surprise appearance in Secret Invasion.
Perhaps the Thunderbolts also tie into the Secret Invasion. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Fontaine has taken on a Fury-style anti-hero role in recent Marvel movies. If she’s the one who puts the Thunderbolts together, they might be tasked with removing the Skrulls from their high-ranking earthly positions. A secret, undercover mission like this would be perfect for this anti-hero/villain supergroup, especially if one or two MCU heroes are surprisingly unmasked as Skrulls. How subversive and cool would it be to see a Marvel superhero actually be a Skrull – as some are in the comics – and be the villain of the play?
We have some time to wait before we see how Secret Invasion affects the MCU. In the meantime, check out our Marvel movies guide in order. Alternatively, read the last two main entries for Phase 4 – She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – arriving later this year.