This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Despite a promising start, the tale of the rebel Skrulls and their attempted hostile takeover of the Earth falls short in the Secret Invasion finale. Gravik’s radical movement appears to be defeated, and a great number of Skrulls lose their lives in the process. Not only is the finale’s final act unsatisfying from a storytelling perspective, but it also eliminates two previously active occupants from our Skrulls power rankings.
Last week’s Secret Invasion episode five power rankings include a deceased Skrull in Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), as the field of eligible characters was drastically thinned. This week’s list faces this problem to a greater extent, forcing the inclusion of more deceased Skrulls than living ones. Each included character has been ranked based on their body of work throughout the series, resulting in their spot on the final edition of our power rankings.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Secret Invasion finale*
Secret Invasion episode 6 Skrulls power rankings
For the sixth and final time, a reminder that only established Skrulls, or characters being impersonated by one during an episode of Secret Invasion qualify for inclusion on our list. Skrulls who are either seen or referenced in previous projects, but do not appear in this series, are not included. With Beto (Samuel Adewunmi), Poprishchin (Uriel Emil), the Skrull impersonating Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), Pagon (Killian Scott), Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Raava (Don Cheadle) and Talos all passing away during the series, it has become necessary to allot three extra spots to that group of characters this week.
5. Raava (A.K.A. Col. James Rhodes – deceased)
Last week: 4 (down one spot)
In the closing minutes of the Secret Invasion finale, the real James Rhodes finally stands up (with some assistance). Raava, the Skrull impersonating him, catches a bullet from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and meets her end. Based on Rhodey’s inability to walk when he awakens from Skrull captivity, his abduction could have taken place as early as Captain America: Civil War. While the episode does leave the timing of Rhodey’s capture up to interpretation, Director Ali Selim’s recent comments lend credibility to the idea that it happened after Civil War. Regardless of when Raava’s imitation of Rhodey begins, her downfall is largely due to her own arrogance. She clearly underestimates Fury’s desperation in her final moments.
4. Talos (deceased)
Last week: 5 (up one spot)
Moving up a spot despite being dead for the final two episodes is an impressive feat! Talos’ jump up the board has more to do with Raava’s death than anything else, but his presence is sorely missed towards the end of the series. Talos’ benevolent and loyal nature may be what finally does him in, but these qualities should be considered a strength, not a weakness. He’s naive to think the Skrull rebellion can be solved peacefully, but his restraint when dealing with Gravik is commendable considering what the latter did to his wife, Soren (Sharon Blynn). While Talos’ efforts ultimately fail, he’s a good man, as well as a devout husband and father.
3. Gravik (deceased)
Last week: 2 (down one spot)
Gravik’s demise in the Secret Invasion finale makes him the charter member of the ‘Dead Skrulls Society.’ Disposing of a character who could have proven to be an exceptional villain across multiple projects so quickly is a frustrating creative decision from Marvel Studios, which has become a concerning trend. The manner in which G’iah (Emilia Clarke) is able to kill Gravik despite his Extremis DNA is also quite puzzling.
That being said, it’s noteworthy just how much emotion the Skrull General shows when speaking to “Fury” about killing the man whose identity he has been using all this time. More dialogue that illustrates the years of hardship the Skrulls went through while trying to blend in is needed in the series. Secret Invasion would also benefit from additional background on this group of Skrull refugees and the challenges they endure while waiting endlessly for Fury to fulfill his promise.
Last week: 3 (up one spot)
Finally, a Skrull who still has a pulse! Varra (Charlayne Woodard) doesn’t see much action in the finale, but making it to the end without biting the dust scores you points on this list. With the Skrulls’ radical movement defeated and their population on Earth drastically reduced in the process, it’s unknown if and where Varra will pop up next. At the very least, she seems to be at a healthier place in her marriage! That is some liplock between her and Fury before liftoff to the SWORD space base.
Last week: 1 (no change)
Of all creative decisions made throughout the Secret Invasion finale, choosing to make G’iah this insanely powerful is possibly the most short-sighted. The amount of enhanced abilities at her fingertips make it virtually impossible for any MCU character to go head-to-head with her and walk away with their lives. Good for Emilia Clarke, as this should give her some staying power in future projects, but in order for G’iah to not be a walking cheat code moving forward, her power level will have to be brought down a smidge. Super Skrulls are certainly supposed to be tough, but G’iah appears unbeatable at this point, as evidenced by how easily she impales Gravik.
What does the future hold for the Skrulls within the MCU?
As of right now, it’s unknown whether there are plans for a second season of Secret Invasion. For that reason, it’s not clear where the Skrulls could conceivably show up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. G’iah and Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) appear to strike up a business arrangement near the end of the finale, so it’s possible that they could pop up in an upcoming series or film on the hunt for more Skrulls still in hiding. The Marvels also has a built-in connection to Secret Invasion, and the odds of a shape-shifter or two coming out of the woodwork there seem decent. Besides that, there aren’t any obvious opportunities for Skrulls to resurface.
Secret Invasion’s ending has been polarizing, to say the least. The promise of an espionage style thriller wound up being reduced to a clunky mess with wasted opportunities for better storytelling about the Skrulls and their struggles. It is stated on multiple occasions throughout the series that the core issue is one that Nick Fury needs to resolve without help from his rolodex of enhanced individuals. For that to be emphasized only to have the climax revolve around a huge CGI Super Skrull battle is extremely misleading, not to mention disappointing.
That being said, the opportunity to rank each of these shady shape-shifters every week was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone for reading! Perhaps more power rankings lie ahead for future projects.
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