The latest episode of Marvel's "Secret Invasion" revealed yet another major Marvel character as a Skrull, only Kevin Feige promises this familiar face has been an alien for a while, including in some of their previous Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances.
Just like the original "Secret Invasion" comic book series, it looks like anyone could turn out to be a Skrull in the new Disney+ series -- and maybe they've been one all along (or at least for awhile).
The latest episode of the series dropped the biggest alien reveal yet, and it's a character Marvel's chief creative officer Kevin Feige says has been a Skrull for a while. Just how long will be revealed by the end of this six-episode limited event series.
Consider this your **SPOILER WARNING** because it's not going to be possible to really talk about how big of a reveal this is without revealing who it is. Suffice to say, it's quite a shock and could have fans scrambling to dig through prior MCU projects to try and analyze all their scenes -- in fact, Feige hopes you do!
This week's fourth chapter revealed that Gi'ah (Emilia Clarke) did not die, but she still doesn't agree with her father, Talos' (Ben Mendelsohn), peaceful dream of co-existence with humans on Earth. In this one, we're going to have to agree with her. It remains to be seen if that dream is still alive -- just as it remains to be seen if Talos is still alive.
As Episode 3 ended with Gi'ah seemingly shot and killed, so did this episode end with Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) -- in all his Super Skrull glory -- seemingly executing Talos. Once again, he killed one of Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) closest allies in front of the former colonel, even as Fury was making a quick escape to save the president's (Dermot Mulroney) life.
Speaking of the "former" of Fury's career, we suppose it's time to address the elephant (or Skrull, as the case may be) in the room. After Fury's wife Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard) is called to a church, she is given orders to kill Fury by none other than the man who just fired him, Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle).
That's the one! Rhodey aka War Machine aka Iron Man's best friend is a Skrull. Priscilla wasn't able to go through with killing Fury, who knew it was coming as he'd planted a bug (as paranoid ex-spies are prone to do), nor could he kill her.
As he'd bugged his wife, he also quickly recognized the voice giving her orders. And so, he and Rhodey hade a hotel room confrontation, with Rhodes threatening to reveal footage of Gravik-as-Fury killing all those people in the premiere.
But what appeared to be a Fury fail was actually him planting a liquid tracer inside Rhodes, which enabled him and Talos to arrive at the presidential caravan in time to save the president, as covered above.
So what does this mean that Rhodey is a Skrull? And how long has he been one? In the comic book universe, several heroes were revealed to have been Skrulls, with some of them having been replaced years ago, impacting a whole lot of stories.
It looks like the MCU is taking a note from the source material, as Feige told Marvel.com that Cheadle has been on board with this plan for quite a while now.
"When we have amazing actors, like Don, that have been with us for so many years, we very much treat them as partners in the creative collaboration," Feige said. "It was very early days when we pitched this concept to Don, and he very much was into it and into being able to play with different sides of Rhodey that we haven't seen before."
"We needed to have a character that one would not expect to be a Skrull," he said. Eagle-eared fans did pick up on the fact that Rhodey called Fury by his first name earlier in this series, a detail that helped Fury identify a Skrull who was pretending to be Talos.
"Nobody calls me Nick, Bob," Fury said. It's likely he was suspicious of Rhodey from the moment that happened. It's also worth noting that Priscill called him Nick this week, though that could be the intimacy of her being his wife. We kind of like the idea that only Skrulls call him that, though.
While Feige has promised that fans will eventually learn how long Rhodey has been a Skrull, he also said, "We like the idea of fans going back and watching some of the other appearances of Rhodey and realizing that that wasn't him." Are there clues baked in that fans missed?
First portrayed by Terrence Howard, James Rhodes made his MCU debut right from the beginning, in "Iron Man." Cheadle took over the role for the sequel -- and it would be kind of hilarious if this is when he became a Skrull.
He would go on to appear in "Iron Man 3," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Captain Marvel," "Avengers: Endgame," and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." He is set to headline "Armor Wars," with this new wrinkle raising all kinds of questions and possibilities about that series.
While Rhodey has evidently been an alien for a while now, the same cannot be said for Agent Everett Ross, who was revealed to be a Skrull in the premiere. Martin Freeman said that so far as he knows, he was the real Ross in ever prior experience.
That said, he also conceded he may be wrong about that. "I don't want to believe he's been a Skrull this whole time," he said, "so I don't."
There are two more episodes of "Secret Invasion" yet to premiere, with new ones dropping every Wednesday on Disney+.