All roads in the latest phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might seem to be leading to the Multiverse and an inevitable showdown between Earth’s mightiest heroes and the cosmic conqueror, Kang. So much so that it’s easy to forget the other extraterrestrial storylines the franchise has so diligently set up. The final answer to just where Nick Fury has been all these years and exactly what the Skrulls have been up to is…inevitable.
Hints of a bigger event concerning the shape-shifting alien race and the former-ish director of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been dropped in various post-credit scenes since 2019’s Captain Marvel, and it all seems to be coming to fruition in 2023 with the release of Secret Invasion Marvel’s first Disney Plus series to directly feature Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The series has amassed a cast of some familiar and not-so-familiar (at least in the MCU) faces. Here’s what we know about the cast of Secret Invasion.
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Naturally, the cast will be led by Jackson as eyepatch-aficionado Fury. The actor is practically a lynchpin of the MCU, having portrayed the character since 2009’s Iron Man. He’s played the resident superspy in 10 films as well as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s well past time he’s given the chance to headline a show of his own.
Ben Mendelsohn as Talos
Mendelsohn has portrayed the Skrull refugee Talos since his first appearance as the character in Captain Marvel. He also portrayed the Talos’ alter ego, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Keller. In the film, Talos sought to escape a genocidal war from the extraterrestrial Kree. Talos also impersonated Nick Fury (with Jackson handling the “transformed” role) in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Secret Invasion is likely to give fans their first real understanding of what the Skrulls have been up to since their first appearance in Captain Marvel.
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Hill was also impersonated by Skrulls in Far From Home with Talos’ wife, Soren, assuming her identity. This will be Hill’s first appearance in the franchise since her post-credits cameo in The Infinity Saga. She was taken in the “Blip” but appeared—at least we think she did—at Tony Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame. What has she been up to since? Secret Invasion may hold the answers.
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross
Ross has long been the face of the MCU version of the Central Intelligence Agency. He’s also been the franchise’s touchstone with Wakanda since his investigation of Ulysses Klaue brought him into contact with the advanced and secret African kingdom. Does Ross’ appearance mean we’ll get a Wakanda connection to the extraterrestrial storyline of the Skrulls?
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes
So far Rhodey Rhodes is the only actual Avenger confirmed to appear in the series. While this may mean that the Skrulls and Nick Fury’s involvement with them doesn’t involve a threat big enough to include the group of superheroes Fury himself helped to found, it may also imply that Rhodey is the only remaining Avenger with high enough security status to be made aware of any new cosmic threat.
Dermot Mulroney as United States President Ritson
Mulroney will star as the current President of the MCU’s United States, but does this mean that the President is a Skrull? Or is he an ordinary human who becomes aware of whatever the “secret” invasion actually is?
Confirmed in Undisclosed Roles
Kingsley Ben-Adir as a “lead villain
Ben-Adir is best known to U.S. audiences for playing Malcolm X in the Prime Studios film One Night in Miami…. Very little is known about who Ben-Adir will play in Secret Invasion although it is predicted that he will serve as the series antagonist. According to Coming Soon, his character will “have had a long history with Talos.” While this may mean he will play a Kree character, he may easily play a Skrull that has contended with Talos in the past. With the impending release of the MCU’s Fantastic Four, many have conjectured that he may portray the Skrull warrior, Kl’rt, aka the Super Skrull, who possesses all of the FF’s powers. While it’s unlikely he will appear with his full power set, it could be that he may be set up for a future appearance as an FF villain.
Olivia Colman’s character’s name has not been revealed but she is said to be a mysterious figure from Fury’s past. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss has been playing Fury’s comic book paramour, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, in several post-credit scenes. It’s not unlikely that Colman could end up playing a pastiche of the character, to wit, a former flame who is knee-deep in the spy-business Fury took part in before becoming the world’s greatest superhero liaison. There’s heavy rumors that she will play the obscure Marvel Comics character, Union Jack.
Game of Thrones’ greatest Queen will be making her MCU debut in Secret Invasion. While Clarke’s role is as yet undisclosed, the safe money seems to be on her playing S.W.O.R.D. commander Abigail Brand, more or less the polar opposite of Fury’s role. Given that S.W.O.R.D. is dedicated to fighting extraterrestrial threats, she may be none too pleased to find out that Fury has been working so closely with the alien Skrulls.
Scott is probably better known in his native U.K. than in the states, but Secret Invasion may remedy that. While his role is as yet unannounced, there’s been a great deal of fan speculation that he’ll be playing the Skrull, Riz, a character that has more ties to the X-Men than to any other Marvel Comics title. Riz is an anomaly, a Skrull who is also a mutant. In addition to the normal shape-shifting powers, Riz can also alter his size in much the same way Ant-Man does. He was taught how to master his abilities by none other than Professor X.
McDonald, best known for his role as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore, has been a character actor of note for years before making his Marvel debut in Secret Invasion. While it was rumored that McDonald might be the MCU’s Norman Osborn, it’s been disclosed that he will be playing an entirely new character written specifically for the MCU who may go on to appear in other future MCU projects.
True Detective star Carmen Ejogo will be joining the Secret Invasion cast as a powerful figure from Fury’s past. Ejgog’s character may be, like McDonald’s, a new role made specifically for the series, but some fans are theorizing that it will be Ejogo who will play Abigail Brand. That would leave Clarke to play another role (some have even suggested that she may show up as Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman, who was also a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent at one time).
Zawe Ashton as Veranke
Zawe Ashton is slated to play an as-yet-unnamed antagonist in the upcoming Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel vehicle, The Marvels. Although most fans are of the opinion that she’ll play a Kree character, a smaller contingent believes she may be playing Veranke, a Skrull princess who impersonated Jessica Drew in the original comic book crossover event. Secret Invasion. However, this may give more weight to the theory that Emilia Clarke will be playing both Drew and Veranke.
Sofia Boutella as Lyja
It’s probably a long shot but there has been some fan conjecture that The Mummy actress Sofia Boutella might be appearing in Secret Invasion as Lyja, a Skrull Agent that posed as Alicia Masters, the girlfriend of the Fantastic Four’s The Thing. Lyja would go on to marry Johnny Storm before being revealed as a Skrull. Although we’re still a ways off from the official MCU FF movie, there is a slim chance Lyja could show up in her Skrull identity.
Eliza Coupe as Abigail Brand
Happy Endings actor Coupe is another wild card contender to play Abigail Brand, although this may be merely based on the fact that Coupe bears a striking resemblance to Brand’s appearance in the Marvel comic books.