Is a Secret War Coming to the MCU?
Since the moment that Avengers: Endgame finished, Marvel fans and other movie lovers have wondered what’s next. Well, if a rumor is accurate, we have a good idea of what will drive the story for the next few years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Is a Secret Wars coming? If so, what does this mean for MCU?
What Is Secret Invasion?
Presuming that this rumor is valid – and it seems plausible – the MCU would need to start with a Secret Invasion. That’s something that may have started with Captain Marvel.
As Marvel fans know, Skrulls are capable of shapeshifting. They can alter their appearance to mirror that of any living creature. Generally, Skrulls have mimicked humans more than anyone else. In fact, in the comic version of Secret Invasion, Skrulls weaponized this ability.
In 2008, then-Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis unveiled Secret Invasion, a series of eight comic books with dozens of other tie-in issues. The central plot of Secret Invasion involved several Avengers and other superheroes.
During the series, Bendis revealed that Skrulls had kidnapped these characters and replaced them with shapeshifting aliens. In one famous instance, a West Coast Avengers power couple – Mockingbird and Hawkeye – had lived a lie.
A Skrull had taken Mockingbird prisoner and pretended to be Bobby Morse, unbeknownst to Hawkeye. Similarly, Spider-Woman, one of the most popular Avengers at the time and a personal favorite of Bendis, notified Nick Fury of her impending abduction. So, the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. knew that an alien plot to overthrow Earth was underway.
The genius of Secret Invasion is that the concept turns friends into potential foes. Nobody could know for sure whether a friend or even a lover was the person they claimed to be. Paranoia ran rampant, and the impact of Secret Invasion has filtered over into the MCU.
Since Iron Man, fans have paid careful attention to the characters just in case anyone does anything Skrull-y. The producers of the MCU have played up this concern, teasing fans that some Skrulls might already have joined The Avengers.
Skrulls and Kree in the MCU
The Secret Invasion targeted Earth, but the battle involved two other races. In the comics, the origin of the Skrulls involves the split of a group of reptiles into three races: the Deviants, the Eternals, and the Prime. That last group is the Skrulls, at least the ones who didn’t become more powerful. With The Eternals coming out in November, this history appears vital to the next phase of the MCU.
Of course, Marvel isn’t above mucking with the story some. To wit, the Kree and the Skrull were locked in an intergalactic war for supremacy of the known universe.
In this conflict, the Skrulls were the villains, while the Kree also wanted to erase humanity from existence. So, Earth didn’t have a lot of friends. Thankfully, a member of the Kree, Captain Marvel, aided humanity in a struggle against his own people (Captain Marvel is a male in the comics).
Some of these ideas might itch in your brain right now because you’ve seen them in the movie, Captain Marvel. The difference is that Mar-Vell has brainwashed the superheroine and caused her to forget her roots. At the same time, Mar-Vell has enlisted other Kree in trying to wipe out the Skrulls, who are helpless refugees in this story.
Now, I’ve left out some details here, as Captain Marvel employs a lot of twists and turns with the characters of Mar-Vell, Dr. Wendy Lawson, and Carol Danvers. However, the pertinent fact is that Skrulls aren’t bad guys in the MCU in the 1990s.
But What About that End Credits Scene…
Yes, the Skrulls come up again in the coda to Phase Three of the MCU. During the closing credits for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Nick Fury and Maria Hill drop their disguises. At this point, the movie reveals that the characters are Talos and Soren, the married Skrulls from Captain Marvel.
So, the last moment from Phase Three definitely seems to signal the significance of Skrulls in Phase Four. Also, this sequence reveals that Fury has maintained his friendship with Talos, hinting that the Skrulls are still allies of humanity.
Friends, this change is dramatic. In the Fantastic Four comics, one of the most dangerous villains is the Super Skrull. He is someone genetically altered to possess the powers of all members of the Fantastic Four. The thought of a Skrull as a comrade-in-arms tilts the MCU upside down.
However, this premise holds. Throughout the Marvel movies to date, the Kree have been unbearable jerks, arrogant and self-important. Kree members that we’ve seen thus far include the members of Star Force such as Yon-Rogg (Jude Law’s character), Ronan the Accuser (the villain whom Star-Lord out-dances), and Korath (Djimon Hounsou’s character). And that’s before we factor in a story arc from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that may or not be MCU canon.
During Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, Star-Lord has run-ins with several members of Star Force along with several other alien races like the Sovereign. In fact, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 includes several mid-credits scenes that expand the MCU with new races and alliances. Marvel executives have clearly planned Phase Four and Phase Five well in advance.
Secret Invasion vs. Secret Wars
Here’s where things get muddy. Secret Invasion and Secret Wars are entirely different events from the comics. The former special event is entirely modern, while Secret Wars first occurred during the 1980s. In this event, an alien known as The Beyonder pulled entire teams of superheroes onto a planet called Battleworld.
In 2015, Marvel ran a modern update to the story, one that threatened the collapse of the Multiverse. Frankly, that sounds a bit high-brow for movie-going audiences. Still, ideas from both versions of Secret Wars would help Disney fill in some of the gaps in the MCU.
Secret Wars involving alien races like the Deviants, Skrulls, Kree, Eternals, and the Sovereign would blanket the entirety of the MCU. During Phase One through Phase Three, all roads led to Thanos. Disney could do something similar with its upcoming television shows and movies.
Buying into the Rumor
In short, a Secret Invasion could lead to Secret Wars. In the process, Marvel would have at least a few years’ worth of entertainment. And all of it would maintain the expected quality of the MCU in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. A multi-galaxy battle for supremacy would have the scope needed to sell tickets and Disney+ subscriptions.
Also, the idea fits thematically. After all, Ronan the Accuser and others have worked for Thanos for many decades now. They’ve hinted that they did so grudgingly, indicating that, weirdly, Thanos kept the peace. Powerful alien races were too frightened of him to move against him actively. Now that he’s gone, several different entities will want to carve out some of his territories as their own.
So, on a micro-level, shapeshifters who can take on the identities of superheroes works well. On a macro-level, having four or five races trying to win control of the galaxy adds a sense of grandeur to this intergalactic gold rush.
Since Avengers: Endgame ended, people have wondered what’s next. Intergalactic war definitely qualifies. Plus, a Battleworld movie would provide similar appeal to Captain America: Civil War as beloved superheroes are forced to fight. And it would give the MCU a chance to introduce new characters…like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.