SECRET INVASION1 of 7
There must be a reason Captain Marvel is set in the 90s.
Marvel’s only previous period piece movie is Captain America: The First Avenger, which established the building blocks of MCU history. So we don’t think it’s a leap to assume there’s a similar motive for bringing Captain Marvel to the 1990s – and the film’s primary villains, the Skrulls, into the MCU.
We’ve already explored the implication of what those two facts - Captain Marvel’s setting and villain – could mean together, but now we’re going to go in-depth on one specific aspect that can be extrapolated about the plot of Captain Marvel.
Given that the Skrulls’ stock-in-trade is impersonation and infiltration, we think these motives could be one and the same. The natural conclusion of the villain and the setting is that someone – possibly someone important to the MCU – will be revealed as a Skrull. Someone whose secret villainy would have enough far reaching implications to affect the post-Avengers: Infinity War status quo. And with the impending Thor: Ragnarok potentially introducing several alien races, this might be the moment to start thinking about the Skrulls.
So we started thinking about who could fit the bill. Who would make sense to appear in Captain Marvel (even if just a cameo), that would have been active in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 90s, and whose subversion would have the necessary impact even stretching to the modern-day films? Along with those key points, we eliminated anyone who has had their own movie since we've experienced their point of view, and (almost) everyone that would have been a young kid in the 90s.
We've narrowed it down to a few choices that we'll outline here. And that's leaving out the possibility that there could be more than one...
HANK PYM2 of 7
Hank Pym meets a lot of the criteria to be a Skrull. We know he was around in the 90s and that he was connected to S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s got a connection to the modern Avengers. His subversion would have an impact.
And of course, he’s technically a shapeshifter. No, he doesn’t change his appearance, but that’s not the only way Skrulls use their power. No, we’re not necessarily asserting Hank Pym’s been a Skrull since the 60s (though it’s not technically impossible…) or that Pym Particles are some kind of Skrull tech (though that’s not technically impossible either. Remember Repulsor tech is based on Infinity Stone), we’re saying that impersonating someone who already changes shape is a great cover for a Skrull.
Maybe there are a few too many moving parts here, but in Secret Invasion, Pym was replaced by a Skrull for a time, so there’s also a precedent.
BLACK WIDOW3 of 7Yes, we’re breaking our own rule about characters that were children in the early 1990s, but on the other hand... if the Skrull can shapeshift, they can certainty mimic the size and appearance of a child and simulate growth and maturity, right?
Black Widow is just too much of a chameleon herself not to garner some consideration.
Moreso than her changing her appearance (though her hair is always different), her true talent is becoming whatever is necessary to fulfill her mission. And her physical abilities have always bordered on the ... well, more than - if not overtly super - human.
The Winter Soldier started her on a path to apparent growth - she appeared to start developing a conscience over her instinctual duplicitous nature, but her motivations can certainly still be questioned.
Making Widow a Skrull would be the ultimate MCU mind-!@#$, but it would also 100% be in keeping with her entire reason for being.
And she’s also apparently attracted to green men.
So there’s that.
JAMES 'RHODEY' RHODES4 of 7
We’ve already discussed how and why Rhodey could/would/should appear in Captain Marvel - and that’s exactly why he’s a great candidate to be a Skrull in modern continuity. Tony Stark’s best friend – and fellow Avenger – being an imposter and an infiltrator for an alien takeover would be a clutch move for the Skrulls, to be sure.
But that may be the only thing really stacking the odds against him. For one thing, he’s already been partially paralyzed by the Avengers’ inter-team clash in Captain America: Civil War which seems like something a Skrull could avoid. More than that, the MCU is going to have to move away from being Tony Stark-centric sooner rather than later.
If we’re getting 10 years of Marvel centered on the Skrulls, you can bet it won’t also be 10 more years of Iron Man.
NICK FURY5 of 7
Who better to keep the ultimate secret than the ultimate secret agent? Nick Fury’s been down and out for a while in the MCU. He was last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and sat out Captain America: Civil War entirely. In comic books, Fury was absent from Civil War because he was preparing for the Skrulls in Secret Invasion.
What if that’s also true in the MCU – but with a twist?
What if the Fury we know, the one that assembled the Avengers, is a Skrull? And what if that’s what’s being set up by his appearance in Captain Marvel?
Fury said in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that he lost his eye because he “made the mistake of trusting someone once.”
Trust and multi-layered hidden agendas is almost entirely what Fury is all about. And his motivations are often unclear.
It’s a bit of stretch, sure. There was the time Fury almost died – but in comic books the infiltrator Skrulls weren’t revealed until they actually died, even after grievous injuries. And the implication – that the Avengers were co-founded by a Skrull – would carry an obvious impact on the MCU.
And you don't think Marvel would make Nick Fury a villain? Well, I guess you haven't read Original Sin.
THADDEUS 'THUNDERBOLT' ROSS6 of 7
Thunderbolt Ross checks all our boxes – he’s more than old enough, was in a position of power in the early 1990s, has acted (very) shadily in the past, and is driven by personal agenda.
Sure, maybe a patriotic Ross wanted to recreate and weaponize Hulks to establish an unstoppable U.S. military force for good - or maybe he wanted them under his control to serve as a mole Skrull army…
But it isn’t even his possible motivation than rung our bell. Ross’ return of Secretary of State in Captain America: Civil War was just a little… well, odd, and we thought so long before Saturday’s Skrull reveal.
His role was at best superfluous, delivering exposition that any new character could have delivered, without requiring a slightly awkward account of a heart attack on a golf course seemingly explaining his change in character from someone who wanted to create raw power to someone wanting to mute it.
Maybe it was just a 'why not' callback to an earlier film, but it isn’t like 2008’s The Incredible Hulk is particularly well regarded - if anything you'd think Marvel Studios would distance itself from it. And Ross isn't remembered as a standout character. So why him?
Maybe, after failing his attempts to create new Hulks for the Skrull, his mission changed to helping direct the future - which included jailing half of - the superhero team that successfully fought off a Chituari invasion?
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