Secret Invasion Could Be Much Better Without a Bunch of MCU Cameos
Marvel Studios' Secret Invasion is weeks away from landing on Disney+, but the series still remains largely a mystery. However, because the comic book event the series takes its name from featured the entire roster of A-list heroes, fans are expecting to see plenty of recognizable heroes. However, Secret Invasion will be a better series without a bunch of Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos getting in the way. Marvel Studios released the first five minutes of Secret Invasion after a social media marketing stunt reminiscent of the online augmented reality games of the early 2000s. The scene features a new character, Richard Dormer's Agent Prescott, talking to Martin Freeman's Agent Everett Ross. Or is he? It's a fair question after Prescott tackles him at the end of the clip
After the scene, another trailer plays, including a line from Olivia Coleman's character asking why Nick Fury doesn't call his super-powered friends. Secret Invasion is a Samuel L. Jackson joint, a bringing in any Avenger risks overshadowing that character. In the clip, Fury replies by saying this is a war he has to fight on his own. However, along with Ross, some of his other frequent allies join him. Ben Mendelsohn is back as Talos, while Cobie Smulders again suits up as Maria Hill. Including these characters makes sense. However, like with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, fans may be hyping themselves up for cameos that were never promised. In fact, keeping the series focused on non-powered humans versus Skrull terrorists is a better story.
It's clear that Marvel Studios invests as much budget into its TV series for Disney+ as with the movies. Yet, that budget has to stretch over six hours rather than two-and-a-half. Tony Stark's funeral in Avengers: Endgame is jokingly called "Marvel's most expensive scene ever" because of how much each of those franchise stars command in salary. In the comics, it was nothing to bring Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man and everyone else into the fray for an event like Secret Invasion. However, for the TV series, the budget is better spent on the show than Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth or some other movie star for a walk-on cameo.
With Armor Wars and Ironheart also on the horizon, it makes sense that Don Cheadle's James Rhodes shows up. He's still deeply involved with the US government, while being the only known hero out there with Tony Stark's Iron Man armor. He also works as all the super-powered cavalry the heroes might need come episode five or six. However, the series should keep its focus on Fury and the other regular humans who frequently brush elbows with demigods. Sure, it'd be fun to see Fury interacting with Scott Lang or one of The Marvels' stars. Yet, MCU fans have yet to see Fury hold his own on a "solo" mission.
Despite having appeared in no fewer than 15 MCU films and series, Samuel L. Jackson is underutilized by Marvel Studios. However, save for The Avengers and Captain Marvel, he typically shows up, helps save the day and that's that. Viewers have never gotten to spend time with Fury as a character. Jackson easily takes command in a room full of superheroes, but imagine what an actor like that can give audiences when he doesn't have them to fall back on.
Multiple MCU Cameos In Secret Invasion Would Be More Frustrating Than Fun
One thing MCU fans forget about Thor: The Dark World (other than bad plotting) is Chris Evans appeared in it as Captain America. Technically, it was Loki using his illusory powers to make himself look like one of Thor's new friends. It's a great, funny scene. However, viewers know that to film that scene, Evans had to be on set and in costume. This left many fans wishing the filmmakers had just brought the "real" Captain America into the story for a scene or two.
In Secret Invasion any big MCU names that pop up are almost certainly just going to be Skrulls. There are ways the storytellers could do this and make it satisfying for audiences. But why go to the trouble when Jackson, Olivia Colman and MCU newcomer Emilia Clarke are more than "enough" for the story? Just because Secret Invasion in the comics included the entire Marvel Universe, it doesn't mean the series can't be its own thing.
For his 16th project in the MCU (counting The Marvels), Jackson deserves to "headline" Secret Invasion. Viewers have seen what it looks like when he rallies a team of heroes together to save the world. In The Marvels, they'll see him doing it to save the universe. Secret Invasion is the chance for Jackson to flex his considerable acting muscles, adding depth and nuance to a character he's played for 15 years. The TV series format gives the storytellers the chance to dive into character and draw out the tension in this alien-invasion thriller. There's no need to clutter up the story with costumed hero cameos.
Secret Invasion debuts on Disney+ on June 21, 2023.