April 6-7, 2024
The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have begun when Robert Downey Jr. first strapped on his Iron Man suit in 2008, but it was Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo in the film’s post-credit scene that first hinted at the franchise’s true potential. Having served as the inspiration for Mark Millar’s 2002 redesign of the character in the Ultimates comics, it was Jackson’s live-action debut as the enigmatic Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. that set the MCU on a path to becoming the cinematic behemoth it is today.
Now, some 15 years and fourteen movie and television appearances later, Jackson’s beloved spymaster is stepping out of the shadows to lead his own Disney+ series, Secret Invasion. Loosely based on the Marvel comic storyline of the same name, Secret Invasion serves as Fury’s first real MCU appearance following the cataclysmic events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. While Jackson would return for 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, it turned out his character was actually the Skrull known as Talos, while the real Nick Fury was busy elsewhere orbiting the Earth on the S.A.B.E.R. Space Station.
But the Nick Fury that eventually comes back down to Earth for Secret Invasion is not the cool customer audiences once knew from the MCU’s early days. “This is my second appearance post-snap,” Jackson explained during a recent press conference attended by Supanova. “And he’s been kinda gone for a while. He’s a little tired, a little vulnerable, but coming back to Earth because he’s been summoned. And we’ll see what happens. Got a bad knee now. Not so happy.”
Of course, it would take some serious problems to draw the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director down from his brand-new space station, and Fury’s latest earthside visit is not without a good reason. Some 30 years have passed since Fury first promised to find the dispossessed Skrulls a new home in Captain Marvel, a promise he is still yet to fulfil. Tired of broken oaths and disappointed by their unwitting human hosts, a renegade faction of Skrulls have embarked on a clandestine effort to assume control of the planet by using their shape-shifting abilities to take up positions of power across the globe.
Yet Fury is not alone in his efforts to derail the renegade Skrull’s nefarious plans, and he is also joined once more by his long-term MCU collaborator Cobie Smulders. Having played Fury’s loyal right-hand Maria Hill since the first Avengers movie, Smulders explained that “it was really exciting to come back”.
However, Fury’s absence has not been without consequences, and even Maria Hill’s once unquestioned dedication has suffered as a result. “I think the relationship is quite strained,” Smulders explained, “because she’s been calling, and he hasn’t been answering.”
Aside from Smulders’ Maria Hill, Jackson’s Fury is also joined by fellow MCU stalwarts Ben Mendelsohn, Martin Freeman and Don Cheadle. Reprising their respective roles as Talos, Everett Ross and James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes, the events of Secret Invasion find some of the most beloved Marvel characters at a dark and dangerous crossroads whose effects will continue to be felt across the entire cinematic universe.
Perhaps no one character will be more affected by the events of this series than Cheadle’s James Rhodes. Having lost his best friend in the form of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, Secret Invasion is expected to lead directly into Cheadle’s own solo outing in the upcoming Armor Wars movie.
“I think we’re just kind of finding out what’s happening with Rhodey as this series goes on,” Cheadle revealed. “He’s in a different role. We see him as a more political animal than we have in the past. He’s been more of a military man, but now he’s sort of, you know, in some ways, a right hand of the President and this special envoy, in that regard. But I think what I’m looking forward to is just seeing more, you know, getting under the hood of who he is and seeing how this relationship, not only with Nick Fury, but the other cast members evolves.”
Meanwhile, Secret Invasion will also see the introduction of several new faces including Barbie’s Kingsley Ben-Adir, The Crown’s Olivia Colman and Game of Thrones’ very own Mother of Dragons, Emilia Clarke. Clarke, who plays G’iah the now grown-up daughter of Mendelsohn’s Talos, suddenly finds herself torn between her allegiance to her people and her love for her father. Having already appeared in some of pop culture’s biggest franchises, including Star Wars, Terminator and Game of Thrones, Clarke’s introduction into the MCU was a surprisingly warm one, according to the actress.
“I think what I can definitely say is that it was the warmest, most gorgeous, safe, lovely, happy, playful set I’ve ever been on,” Clarke explained. “You’ve just gone to the top of the tree, you’re there, and then you find everyone who’s there is just having a really good time. That’s kind of how it felt.”
Mendelsohn, who also shares a Star Wars credit with his onscreen daughter, echoed her sentiments. “I’d like to add… Marvel are the best people that you’ll ever get to work for. In my 40 years, no one comes close to working for Marvel. Working for Marvel is the shiz-nit.”
Yet, perhaps it is Jackson himself who provides us with the best idea of what to expect from Marvel’s Secret Invasion. Suggesting this new series “ranks as number one” in his impressive 15-year tenure as Nick Fury, the veteran actor also explained that the latest MCU series has much in common with an earlier franchise entry.
“I really loved Winter Soldier,” Jackson revealed. “So that tone, you know, flows into this in a very real kind of way. And it’s a story about people doing people stuff, without all those supers coming in to save you and help you and doing all that other stuff.”
Currently streaming on Disney+, ‘Secret Invasion’ is a must-watch for all Marvel fans