One of the most exciting things about the Secret Invasion comic book storyline was the underlying paranoia that any of your favorite superheroes could, in fact, be a shape-shifting Skrull. Unfortunately, in Marvel’s live-action version, it’s painfully obvious that one of our favorite characters is a Skrull.
Before you read on, we want to make clear this is all speculation on our part, so there are not technically any Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers ahead. However, we want to be clear we’ve watched all of the Marvel movies in order and have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of Marvel comics, so our predictions have been accurate in the past. So if you’re spoiler-phobic, you may want to leave us now.
You’re still here? Good, I knew you had the bearings of a real hero, not like that other reader (You know, the one). Anyway, you don’t want to read my prattling. You want to know who we think is a Skrull. It’s Rhodey (Don Cheadle).
Yeah, seriously, it’s obviously James Rhodes, aka Rhodey, aka War Machine. What evidence do we have that Tony Stark’s best friend in the world is, in fact, a shape-shifting alien? Well, nothing concrete, but we have something far better, conjecture (Editor: There’s not a jury in the world who wouldn’t convict).
Now there have been several reports from scoopers online that Secret Invasion will reveal a fan favorite’s secretly a Skrull. Normally we’d take these reports with a pinch of salt so large it’d put us at risk of serious kidney problems, but when we consider that we learned about Super-Skrulls in Secret Invasion episode 2, it starts to make a little more sense.
Normally we’d expect the reveal of super-powered Skrulls capable of taking on the Avengers to happen in the back half of the series, not the front. This suggests Secret Invasion has more reveals on the way, and considering the source material, it makes sense to reveal one of our favorite MCU characters is, in fact, a Skrull.
After all, that was the comic’s big trick, and it was genuinely shocking at the time to learn fan faves like Hank Pym, Spider-Woman, and Elektra had been replaced by Skrulls. There’s just one problem, drawing characters is cheap, while getting an actor to appear in your TV series is not.
It’s unlikely then (But not impossible) that Secret Invasion doesn’t have the budget to bring in another big-name star. I mean, you’re already paying for Samuel L. Jackson, Emilia Clarke, Ben Mendelsohn, and Olivia Colman. There can’t be much left in the casting department’s purse to get someone who the audience will care about when it’s revealed they’re a Skrull.
But you know who they do have ready and waiting? Don Cheadle. Cheadle’s already appeared in the first two episodes, so he was clearly budgeted from the start. He’s also been around since Phase 1 and has ties to the one and only Tony Stark. Revealing that the Rhodey we’ve known all these years was a Skrull would be a real rug-pull moment for the MCU and shake the dust off the slightly tired shared universe.
This would also explain Rhodey’s slightly out-of-character reaction to Nick Fury telling him about the Skrull Invasion. We just don’t see someone who fought against Thanos dismissing an alien threat so quickly.
Beyond that, Feige’s already said that Secret Invasion will lead into the Armor Wars movie, which will be War Machine’s first solo project. Could the superhero movie deal with a Skrull Rhodey coming to terms with the fact his entire life’s been a lie, or perhaps they rescue the real Rhodey, and he has to deal with the trauma of having months (If not years) of his life stolen?
Sounds like a pretty good set-up for a film to us. So sorry, Marvel; we’re pretty sure we’ve seen your grand plan. If we’re right, you owe us some sugar with a dash of espresso, and if we’re wrong? Well, I’ll write an apology letter to Kevin Feige directly.
If you’re enjoying Nick Fury’s big adventure, check out the Secret Invasion release schedule or our guide breaking down everything you need to know all about Marvel’s Phase 5. Furthermore, we’ve got individual guides on The Marvels release date, the Thunderbolts release date, and the Avengers 5 release date.
If you’re after something a little different though, you can check out our list of the best movies ever made. We’ve got 101 of them.