Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” is based loosely off the comic book run of the same title. When Nick Fury realizes that the shapeshifting aliens called Skrulls have been hiding among us in far larger numbers than ever thought, he starts to question who he can trust. During the global press conference for the upcoming MCU series, the cast and those behind the camera discuss where these characters are right now, how Secret Invasion fits into Phase 5, and the newcomers talk about joining the MCU.
Samuel L Jackson (“Nick Fury”)
Cobie Smulders (“Maria Hill”)
Don Cheadle (“James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes”)
Ben Mendelsohn (“Talos”)
Olivia Colman (“Sonya Falsworth”)
Emilia Clarke (“G’iah”)
Kingsley Ben-Adir (“Gravik”)
Ali Selim (Director)
Kevin Feige (Producer)
Jonathan Schwartz (Producer)
How Does Secret Invasion Fit Into Phase 5?
When first asked why now is the time for Secret Invasion, Marvel President and Producer Kevin Feige jokes that now is the time because it was finished and ready to go. He has always been known for keeping Marvel Cinematic Universe secrets, no pun intended.
But where does Secret Invasion fit in the Phase 5 timeline, and what is it about?
Jonathan Schwartz: It’s present day MCU, is what we’re calling it. So it exists basically along the timeline that the shows come out in. So post-She-Hulk, post-blip right at this exact, present day in the MCU. I think that’s all I can say.
Kevin Feige: There are story points that people will see over the course of the series, obviously. But Jonathan came into my office a number of years ago, when we were thinking about what kinds of shows to do on Disney+. He came in with this idea of translating the great Secret Invasion storyline from the comics in a darker, grittier spy show, which we hadn’t done. We love to do different genres for everything, and this was an attempt to really dive back into things we touched upon in The Winter Soldier, Captain America 2, but hadn’t in a while, and really delving into the tone of a spy show. And seeing a very different dynamic between Fury and Talos than we had seen in sort of our ’90s buddy action movie, Captain Marvel.
Ali Selim: I think it’s a very human show. It’s the Nick Fury story. He’s a human. He does have his own version of superpowers, but they’re not like superhero superpowers. It’s a story about him putting his feet back on the ground once again after some time. I like that because I like human stories that come from the heart and are human-scaled and reach for a universal appeal rather than the reverse of that. I liked the espionage, political-thriller element, and we went back to look at The Third Man, and The Conversation, and things like that are very grounded and really human. I hope that we brought enough of that to create the tone. And then there is, without spoilers, there is a point in the story where Nick Fury realizes this is his own battle, and he sort of becomes a classic American western hero. The tone sort of shifted in the later episodes to Nick Fury as John Wayne.
Where The Returning Characters Are At The Start Of Secret Invasion
There are many returning MCU characters in Secret Invasion, some of which we haven’t seen in a while. What was it like to come back to these roles, and where does the cast feel the characters are at?
Samuel L Jackson: This is my second appearance post-snap, and Nick Fury’s been gone for a while. He’s a little tired, a little vulnerable, but coming back to Earth because he’s been summoned. And we’ll see what happens. He’s got a bad knee now, and is not so happy.
Ben Mendelsohn: We’re finding Talos in a difficult time. You’re not gonna get a spoiler out of me, so stop trying to give me that funny spoiler vibe thing. It’s a bad time.
Cobie Smulders: It was really exciting getting to come back. I think the relationship between Maria and Nick is quite strained because she’s been calling, and he hasn’t been answering. I think Maria Hill came back and someone else was sitting in her desk, and immediately kicked them out and got to work. I think there was just a mountain of cases to get to, which is part of her resentment towards Fury, ’cause he was not around.
Samuel L Jackson: We were actually talking last night about the fact that I remember meeting Cobie for the first time at the screen test. ‘Cause I screen tested with all the people that were trying to be Maria Hill. She killed it. You know, and I told her, I was like, “I knew she had this.”
Don Cheadle: I think we’re just kind of finding out what’s happening with Rhodey as this series goes on. He’s in a different role. We see him as more a political animal than we have in the past. He’s been more of a military man, but now he’s, in some ways, a right hand of the president. I’m looking forward to seeing more, getting under the hood of who he is, and seeing how this relationship, not only with Nick Fury, but the other cast members, evolves.
Newcomers On Joining The MCU
At the same time, there are several newcomers to the MCU joining in Secret Invasion. What was it that attracted them to the role, and how does it feel to join, and how would they describe their characters?
Emilia Clarke: Who on Earth would ever not want to be sitting here with all of these incredible people? It’s like, even just a single one of these people on their own is enough. Altogether, it’s completely undeniable. So yeah, that’s why. I think what I can definitely say is that it was the warmest, most gorgeous, safe, lovely, happy, playful set I’ve ever been on. You know you’re coming into. You’ve just gone to the top of the tree, you’re there, and then you find everyone who’s there is just having a really good time. That’s kind of how it felt.
Olivia Colman: After every Marvel film that’s landed in cinemas, I found my agent and said, “Please can I be in a Marvel?” And finally, either she got fed up with me calling her or it happened. So it wasn’t why Secret Invasion. Secret Invasion called. Any mention of the word Marvel and I went, “Yes, please.” So that’s why, and I had an absolute ball, and it lived up to everything that I was hoping for. Sonya works for MI6. And she likes wearing red. And she’s quite funny. And she’s potentially a little bit not that nice sometimes.
Kingsley Ben-Adir: Well, I think to begin with, we had many conversations for hours at the beginning. Gravik just felt like a part that I hadn’t been approached for before. There was an opportunity to do something a little bit different with this one. When we spoke, it was just Sam and Ben who were attached to the project, and Brian sent me a couple of taster scenes, which was the showdown with me and Sam in episode three. In a series called ZeroZeroZero, there was a character called Manuel, and I kept seeing weird parallels, because I knew the show was trying to be more grounded and darker. I guess I took a lot of inspiration from that and how to make him as unsentimental as possible in his hatred.
Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” premieres on Disney+ on June 21st 2023
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.