“Don’t trust anyone.”
Those are Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) words to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we all know them well. Secret Invasion is right around the corner, and we’re entering into an unprecedented era of paranoia that has everyone wondering: Who is a Skrull in the MCU?
Following the introduction of the shape-shifting creatures known as Skrulls in 2019’s Captain Marvel, we’ve seen people take the form of familiar and unfamiliar characters alike. Skrulls have come to the aid of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) in the past, but given their ability to morph into anyone they’ve seen at any given time, it’s impossible to know who to trust.
The MCU has been around for a long time, and we’ve seen many characters come and go over the years. Skrulls could be infiltrated everywhere, but we’re going to go over a few friendly faces that might be hiding their true intentions.
5. Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is a surprising member of this list, but allow me to explain. The most common points of entry for Skrulls—based on what we’ve seen so far—are space-based operations and government organizations. Who’s to say a Skrull hasn’t infiltrated the ranks of the Avengers?
When he’s not in his hulking green form, Bruce is an incredibly intelligent, albeit pretty normal guy. He doesn’t have a strikingly discernible personality, or a rich history with anyone on the team, and everyone walks on eggshells around him for fear of bringing out the beast.
It’s not impossible for someone to be impersonating him and using his Avengers-level clearance to access classified information, while our Bruce is on a sun-drenched beach turning brown instead of green.
4. Captain America (Sam Wilson)
Captain America? A Skrull? I know it seems like I’ve lost my mind, but just bear with me. Making Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) a Skrull in the MCU at the beginning of his reign as Captain America sounds preposterous, but playing a dubious shape-shifter and Captain America aren’t mutually exclusive. This leads to the biggest question surrounding this version of Sam Wilson we’ve been most recently exposed to, why won’t he take the super soldier serum?
The argument can be made that he hasn’t taken the serum because he’s seen its effects first hand. He knows what it does to people like John Walker (Wyatt Russell) who don’t stand on the highest morals, but Steve chose him. Steve’s principles were unshakable, and he wouldn’t have chosen Sam as his predecessor if he wasn’t confident the serum wouldn’t corrupt him.
The only reason he’s hesitant about this could be because he’s unsure how the serum would react to his Skrull blood. There would not be a more valuable Skrull than one posing as Captain America.
3. Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross
Deep breaths’ everyone, we’ve arrived at one of the slightly less jarring Skrull theories. There are a few reasons why Thaddeus Ross (Harrison Ford) must be included on a list of potential Skrulls in the MCU: he’s the President, and any opposing force with the goal of invading the planet would benefit from seizing and occupying the role of the most powerful person on the planet—but there’s more at play here.
Bruce Banner is on this list of potential Skrulls as well, a character who has clashed with Thaddeus Ross since the early days of the MCU. It’s the world’s worst kept secret that we’re eventually going to see Ross’ Red Hulk come face to face with Banner’s Hulk.
A conflict of this magnitude will undoubtedly change the course of history. If the Skrulls are able to impersonate a pair with this much power and stave off this fight for the time being, it would go a long way toward securing an influential position.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3*
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) being a Skrull wouldn’t have made any sense before Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, but things are much different now. Guardians 3‘s wild ending sees Star-Lord return to Earth to reconnect with his grandfather, and now it appears he’s going to be involved in more grounded affairs as opposed to journeying throughout the stars.
We know Peter has a personal relationship with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and other Avengers such as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) are also familiar with him. The real Star-Lord may venture back into space after a brief visit with his grandfather, but the version we’re confirmed to see more of going forward could be a Skrull plant, set to gather intel and wreak havoc from the inside.
1. Yelena Belova
The final name on our list is none other than Russia’s own Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). If any of our other theories on this list prove to be true, the Skrulls will have enough help from inside the Avengers camp. What they need now is someone lined up with Val and the Thunderbolts, as to have infiltrators seated on both sides of the aisle.
A quest to take over the world starts with information. Thanos (Josh Brolin) said knowledge is a curse—but when you’re mounting a secret invasion, it’s the most valuable currency on the planet. Yelena has already developed a working relationship with Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), so working to pit both sides against each other to create an implosion would be effortless for her.
Paranoia levels have reached all-time highs heading into ‘Secret Invasion’
These aren’t the most obvious choices as to who could be a Skrull in the MCU, but they are the most fun. It’s easy to pick and choose people like Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who have worked closely with Nick Fury—someone we know has been operating as a Skrull for some time. But if Marvel is willing to take big swings on genres, there’s no reason they can’t do it with characters as well.
Secret Invasion is set to release on Disney+ June 16, and everyone is on edge, wondering who can we trust? It seems the only logical answer is Nick Fury—now back on Earth and tasked with navigating this dilemma alone, without any help from his superpowered friends. But when Nick Fury once said, “don’t trust anyone”, did Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) have a right to wonder if that included him?
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