Since the post-credits scene of Iron Man in 2008, we’ve known that the world of the cinematic Avengers was full of just as many secret agents as it is superheroes. And yet, despite some valiant efforts from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Falcon and Winter Solider, Black Window and a smattering of other secret agent characters throughout the MCU, the most famous entertainment franchise on the planet has never, given us a truly great spy story. Until now.
The new trailer for Secret Invasion promises to be the espionage story that Marvel has been teasing, and arguably, fumbling through the existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While hardcore Marvel fans will claim that aspects of Captain America: Winter Solider or even Agent Carter delivered intrigue and espionage that was markedly different than the rest of the MCU, the mood of Secret Invasion feels much more grounded. If the spy action of Falcon and Winter Solider was like a Tom Clancy novel, the trailer for Secret Invasion feels closer to John le Carré.
Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, the S.H.I.E.L.D spymaster who has come in from the cold. Turns out, the shape-shifting Skrulls have infiltrated Earth, which on paper, sounds a lot like the clunky premises of various other Marvel plots. And yet, the tone of the Secret Invasion trailer delivers more realism than we’ve seen from the MCU in a very long time. For several, several films, the appearance of Nick Fury in a Marvel movie felt like a punchline, a character there to roll his eyes at the people in the funny costumes, while, he, was the one really trying to fix what was going on with the world. If Black Widow was the MCU’s version of a James Bond movie, it seems like Secret Invasion is giving Fury his due by doing the Marvel version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Focusing on the spymaster, rather than just the agents in the field, creates a totally different dynamic, which is something Marvel has never really quite tried. And, if this show can keep the superheroes out of the plot, that may be better.
The trailer makes a big deal of asking “where are the Avengers?” But, let’s hope this series has the good sense to make that a mood, rather than a mystery box. We see agents Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) back in action, as well as Everett Ross (Martin Freeman). And, the potential here is for Marvel not to pivot to just having superheroes bail us out and instead focus on these very real people getting down and dirty. What if there are some conflicts — even in the absurd MCU — that have to be taken on by old-fashioned spies?
If there’s one American actor who has earned this kind of potentially great spy show, it’s clearly Samuel L. Jackson. And if the series is as good as the trailer, then Secret Invasion might end up being the best thing he’s done in the MCU, period.
Secret Invasion Release Date
Secret Invasion hits Disney+ on June 21, 2023. It will consist of six episodes.