Secret Invasion was one of the very first comics storylines to be considered for an MCU TV adaptation – but the plan was to transform it from the inside out.
As Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explained: “Jonathan (Schwartz, Marvel producer) came into my office a number of years ago, when we were thinking about what kinds of shows to do on Disney Plus. He came in with this idea of translating the great Secret Invasion storyline from the comics into a darker, grittier spy show, which we hadn’t done.
“We love to do different genres for everything, and this was an attempt to really dive back into things we touched upon in The Winter Soldier but hadn’t in a while, and delve into the tone of a spy show. It allowed us to see a very different dynamic between Nick Fury and Talos than we had seen in sort of our ’90s buddy action movie, Captain Marvel.”
This process meant the original, universe-shattering storyline in which several Avengers are revealed to have been secret Skrulls was jettisoned for a more self-contained story, centred around the relationship between Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn’s characters.
He continued: “We knew we weren’t going to have every character in the Marvel Universe the way it is in the comics, we knew the focus would stay on Sam Jackson and this ensemble.”
Part of this is because this project didn’t even start life as a Secret Invasion adaptation. Schwartz went into further depth of how the series came together behind the scenes: “I think if you really go back, it did start on Captain Marvel, even if it wasn’t a Secret Invasion idea yet.
“We knew there was more to do with the relationship between Nick and Talos. And then the Disney Plus door opened up and we got the opportunity to play more in genres and expand the sandbox of what we can do.
“That meant Secret Invasion not only had great source material behind it as a comic event that a lot of people knew and responded to, but it was now within a very cool genre, specifically for these two characters, which really brought the show to life.”
The next step was getting a director on board, which is where Ali Selim came in. He helmed all six episodes of the series, and was motivated to join the project due to the fact superhero antics were not the central focus of the plot.
He said: “I think it’s a very human show. It’s the Nick Fury story; he’s human, and the superpowers he has aren’t like those of a superhero.
“It’s a story about him putting his feet back on the ground once more after some time away, which I liked. It’s a human story that came from the heart; it really tried to delve into very simple human emotions, like trust and suspicion and the personal life of Nick Fury and inner life of Nick Fury. It’s very different from people flying through the air.”
The other attraction to the project was being able to put his own distinctive spin on the political thriller genre.
Selim continued: “I liked the espionage, political-thriller element, and we went back to look at films like The Third Man, and The Conversation – movies in that genre that are very grounded and
“There is a point later on in the story where Nick Fury realises this is his own battle, and he sort of becomes a classic American western hero. And the tone sort of shifted in the later episodes to Nick Fury as John Wayne.”
From a tense thriller to a Marvel take on the western? Oh, we really can’t wait to see what this show has in store for us in the weeks to come…
Secret Invasion premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, 21st June.