With the tense music and green swirls of its cool opening credits, Secret Invasion has covertly released on Disney Plus and begun its weekly run. The show is the latest bead in a string of Marvel long-form projects for the streamer, but how different is Secret Invasion from the comics?
The Marvel series follows Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury and his cohorts as they contend with a conflict bubbling underneath the world’s veneer: the Skrulls Fury promised to help find a new home world have been left without one. The Disney Plus show has pulled inspiration from the comic book of the same name, but just how much inspiration?
Here are 5 crucial ways Kevin Feige and executive producer Jonathan Schwartz changed what happened in the Secret Invasion comics for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warning, find out how to watch Secret Invasion before reading on because spoilers for the first episode and the comics are ahead.
5. Nick Fury is the main character in the TV series
In the comics, Fury is one of the first people to realize a Skrull invasion was taking place. The spymaster assembles a team of B-listers (working with high-powered individuals who may not be who they say they are was presumably riskier) led by former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson/Quake. But he’s just one element of a sprawling cast of characters.
In the Secret Invasion series, Fury is front and center, and we live every twist and turn through his worn eyes (eye?). Following an un-powered character with un-powered friends removes some of the danger from the story, but it’s also pretty interesting to take a more spy-based approach.
4. Maria Hill dies in Disney Plus’ Secret Invasion
Maria Hill died in Secret Invasion episode 1, while in the comics, she survives the story — which is actually rather miraculous because she was one of the sensible targets for a species looking to infiltrate government and special forces.
Cobie Smulders’ Marvel Cinematic Universe character wasn’t so lucky, unfortunately. ‘New Skrullos” leader Gravik did away with her at the end of Secret Invasion’s premiere episode. And just when we thought we were finally going to get more of her… boo!
3. The reason for the invasion in the comics was different
In the TV show, Gravik and the Skrulls on Earth actually have a pretty good reason for having become radicalized: they arrived as child war refugees (in the events of Captain Marvel), and there was an understanding Carol Danvers would search for a new planet for them to make their own while Fury would help them exist on Earth covertly. Decades later, they’re still in hiding.
In the comics, the seed is similar, but the motivation of the Skrulls is a bit less sympathetic, given they’re more villainous in the comics in general. Their homeworld Tarnax IV was destroyed by the character Galactus, and most of the Skrull empire was decimated in other events. Desperate, they methodically infiltrated Earth by replacing key personnel across important sectors, paving the way for a takeover.
2. Key superheroes had been replaced by Skrulls in the comics
Secret Invasion’s comic story tees up the crossover event with a shock reveal — Elektra was killed in combat, and her body reverted into a Skrull, shocking everyone. The Avengers became suspicious of each other, but by this time, it was too late: Spider-Woman was actually a Skrull, as were Hank Pym, Black Bolt, and more. These are not people you want body-swapped.
The TV series chose to open with Agent Ross (but not really) dying, implying Skrulls had already begun replacing people. Where Ross actually is in current-time is a mystery, but it’s a stark difference from the gravity of the comic book’s first move.
1. There are no Avengers in Secret Invasion yet…
The fun of the Secret invasion event, in essence, was that anyone could be a Skrull. And if anyone could be a Skrull, that meant Avengers, X-Men, and the most trusted and influential figures from the page could be disguised aliens with nefarious plans who had been there for much longer than was comfortable to think about.
We have to admit; it kind of sucks to have that part of the story’s tension stripped away. The comic story was a massive, game-changing moment that upended Earth-616 for a lengthy time. however, we’d be surprised if the MCU chooses not to implicate any Avengers, or at least mention them by the time the end credits on the finale roll.
Those are the major differences between the original story and its adaptation. We’ll have to see how it pans out, but accepting Disney’s different direction here could be key to enjoying ourselves with the new smaller scale. That being said, Secret Invasion should have been an Avengers movie if you ask us!
For more nerdy thoughts, see how Spider-Verse 2 confirmed Kevin Feige’s still wrong about Earth-616, why we still don’t know if Doctor Strange 2 is bad, and our reminder that some things are more important than the MCU.
Or, if you’re after more details on Secret Invasion, strap in: we’ve got answers to who does Emilia Clarke play in Secret Invasion, when does Secret Invasion take place, and Secret Invasion SABER explained. You can also take a break from all the jargon with our list of the best TV series of all time.