On Wednesday, June 21, 2023, the series premiere of Marvel’s Secret Invasion arrives for streaming on Disney+. The highly anticipated series draws on a decade and a half of Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity. Here’s what to remember before Secret Invasion arrives on June 21.

Nick Fury Jr.

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).

Iron Man.

Secret Invasion‘s backstory goes all the way back to the very first MCU movie. This is thanks to the fact that it stars Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). This character first made his debut in the post-credits scene for 2008’s Iron Man. There, he invited Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) to become part of a “bigger universe.” Fury then explained he was present to discuss the Avengers Initiative. Iron Man also introduced the character of James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Originally played by Terrance Howard in Iron Man, Don Cheadle took over the role of Rhodes in 2010’s Iron Man 2 and has played the character ever since. Rhodey is an Air Force Officer and Stark’s best friend. He eventually gets his own powered armor suit, becoming known as both “War Machine” and “Iron Patriot.”

In addition to introducing Fury, Iron Man also introduced S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to play a role throughout the Phase One MCU movies, leading up to 2012’s The Avengers. In this movie, Fury played a significant supporting role. It also introduced viewers to S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). In the second act, Coulson was murdered by Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Fury used Coulson’s death to rally the Avengers together as a team.


Agent Hill (Colbie Smulders).

The Avengers.

After The Avengers, Fury continued to be closely associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. Nevertheless, it was Coulson, resurrected by Kree technology, who led ABC’s 2013 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off series, which ran for seven seasons. However, Fury appeared in two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season 1, and Hill appeared in three episodes over the course of seasons 1 and 2. In 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, both Fury and Hill appeared to play heroic supporting roles to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). This movie revealed S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated and compromised by the evil fascist organization HYDRA. At the conclusion of The Winter Soldier, Fury faked his death (replete with a gravestone referencing Pulp Fiction).

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In 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, both Fury and Hill assist the Avengers in defeating the “final remnants” of HYDRA. Fury continues to serve in a leadership role for the Avengers, and both Fury and Hill are present at the inauguration of the new Avengers Compound at the conclusion of the movie.

The Blip

Josh Brolin as Thanos just before the Snap.

Avengers: Infinity War.

Both Fury and Hill are once again together when they appear in a mid-credits scene for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Both characters are turned to dust by the Infinity Gauntlet snap of Thanos (Josh Brolin). As Fury disintegrates he activates a pager that summons Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). 

In 2019’s Captain Marvel, set earlier on the timeline during the 1990s, the meeting of Fury and Danvers was revealed. This movie gave us a look at Fury’s history in S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as allowing Coulson to return to the screen. It also revealed that Fury was originally inspired by his experience with Danvers to create the Avengers Initiative. Plus, we learn that Fury lost his eye due to a fateful paw swipe by Goose the Flerken. In 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers were able to reverse the snap. This returned Fury and Hill to life after five years as dust. Both were subsequently able to attend Stark’s funeral.


Ben Mendelsohn as Talos.

Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Captain Marvel also introduced the shapeshifting alien species known as the Skrulls. This included Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). Talos initially posed as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but his deception was uncovered by Fury and Danvers. He subsequently became a close ally to Fury. At the conclusion of the movie, Danvers vows to help the Skrulls find a home where they will be free from Kree persecution.

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In 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, characters who appeared to be Fury and Hill played supporting roles to Peter Parker (Tom Holland) throughout the movie. However, in the post-credits scene, it was revealed that this wasn’t really Fury and Hill, but rather Skrull agents Talos and Soren (Sharon Blynn). The scene also revealed that they disguised themselves at the real Fury’s behest. He is revealed to be on a Skrull ship in space.


Martin Freeman as Ross.

Secret Invasion character poster.

Another returning character who we know will play a role in Secret Invasion is Everett Ross (Martin Freeman). Ross made his debut as a CIA Agent in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. He also played a supporting role in 2018’s Black Panther.

He returned in 2022’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In this movie, it was revealed that his ex was CIA Director Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), aka “Val.” At the conclusion of the movie, Ross was ejected from the CIA and arrested. However, he escaped incarceration thanks to his alliance with the Wakandans.

Continuing Enigmas

Lori Livingston as FBI Skrull Agent.

WandaVision, “The Series Finale.”

There are also details regarding Fury’s current status that have yet to be answered. In a mid-credits scene for the series finale of WandaVision, a Skrull agent (Lori Livingston) infiltrated the FBI to recruit Agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). Rambeau is seen working with Fury in space in the trailer for November 2023’s The Marvels.

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Another detail seemingly revealed by the trailer for Secret Invasion is the narrative introduction of Fury’s father, Nick Fury Senior. While this character plays a significant role in Marvel Comics continuity, he has yet to appear (or even be mentioned) in the MCU. However, he was played by David Hasselhoff in the 1998 non-MCU movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. This movie also features alternate incarnations of Val and other S.H.I.E.L.D.-adjacent characters.

Arriving June 21

Plenty of questions remain regarding the plot of Secret Invasion. Is this even our Fury or could the show’s protagonist actually be a Skrull? When it comes to an MCU thriller about shapeshifters, no theory seems too paranoid.

You can stream all the MCU shows and movies mentioned above on Disney+.

This article was originally published on 5/30/23.

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