With Avengers: Endgame coming to theaters this April, fans can expect to see the culmination of seven years of storytelling. There have been all kinds of speculation around how Thanos’ fate and the Decimation will be dealt with.
There are also the rampant theories about which Avengers won’t survive what looks to be the final confrontation with Thanos. Looking ahead, this begs the question: what will the next threat be? There are several clues that suggest Secret Invasion could be the next big MCU storyline.
Secret Invasion is an eight-issue limited series. The conclusion of the covert alien invasion of the Marvel Universe throughout Brian Michael Bendis’s Avengers books ran from April to December 2008. It’s one of, if not the biggest, story arcs surrounding the Skrulls. A possible adaptation became a hot topic when the first concept art released for Captain Marvel included Skrulls.
Marvel Studios has been working for over 10 years building up their cinematic universe, bringing all their characters up to this point together. They hardly seem like the type to rest on their laurels, so it’s not unrealistic to think Kevin Feige already started planting seeds for new plotlines in current movies.
Judging by the special look that dropped this week, Captain Marvel feels a lot like what Captain America: The First Avenger was to Phase 1—a period piece that will set up backstories for new threats, the Skrulls, and our new protagonist, Captain Marvel.
It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce the mainstream audience to the aliens’ ability to shape-shift. Moreover, it’s not a leap to assume Marvel could plant seeds of a Skrull infiltration going back to the 90s, as they did with Hydra. When asked about Skrulls, Feige even said there was a reason the MCU waited until now to reveal them.
There are also reports the upcoming Black Widow movie will be a prequel, taking place in the early 2000s before Iron Man 2. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence Marvel plans to do two prequels this close together. There could possibly be some tie-in with the next big overarching storyline.
This is all just a theory, of course, but there are some similarities to the comics that could hint at the possibility. Secret Invasion started shortly after Civil War, when Captain America died. We don’t know if Cap will survive yet, but we already know Endgame will be Chris Evans’s last Avengers movie. In the new trailer, Hawkeye was wearing the Ronin costume—which he was also wearing during Secret Invasion.
An invasion is definitely plausible with all the chaos going on in the MCU. The comics leading up to Secret Invasion were so compelling because of this. Enough characters died or disappeared to make their reappearances suspicious. How do we know Scott Lang escaped the Quantum Realm? What if he’s still trapped, and the Scott seen in the trailer is a Skrull in disguise?
Marvel Studios already has a foot firmly in their cosmic universe. Captain Marvel is just another step in building out a larger universe for the foreseeable future. A large-scale Skrull infiltration seems like the best opportunity to bring all their characters back together after Endgame.
Imagine the audible gasp if one of the casualties of Avengers: Endgame reverts back to a Skrull in a post-credit scene. What better way to one-up Infinity War and set up the next few years of Marvel movies? It would be devastating, and brilliant, to finally to bring the Avengers back together, only to sow seeds of distrust in a new way.