Right now we are caught in the torturous limbo between the shock ending of Avengers: Infinity War and the game-changing reveals of Avengers 4 - but Marvel fans being Marvel fans, there are already a lot of discussions unfolding across the Internet about what will come after Avengers 4, in the new Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
Ever since it was revealed that Captain Marvel is going to be introducing the Skrull Empire to MCU, Marvel fans have speculated that the "Secret Invasion" crossover in 2000s Marvel Comics would be adapted as part of the Phase 4 rollout of the MCU. Well, one big part of "Secret Invasion" is the reveal that Marvel characters in key positions of influence or power have actually be Skrull impostors for years, which has led to the big question: which MCU characters would we see exposed as Skrulls?
The topic has been addressed for well over a year now, but the possibilities definitely shift and change with each subsequent movie release. After Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp, these seem to be the most likely candidates for MCU characters who are actually Skrulls.
The notion that Skrull impostors could be anyone in the MCU has narrowed with each new movie we've seen. As Screen Rant noted in an earlier breakdown of the subject, Marvel Studios has some larger franchise and continuity concerns driving their storytelling, which pretty much eliminates a lot of the primary Avengers characters who have major solo franchises from being revealed as Skrulls.
The solo films have all had important arcs for their central characters - or in cases like Captain America: Civil War, several major MCU characters. Revealing that the characters we watched go through these arcs were actually alien impostors would invalidate so many of the performances and thematic impact of the stories, in exchange for a "gotcha!" twist. It would also force Marvel Studios to reintroduce audiences to the "real" versions of these characters at some point, which would be a backwards step instead of the advancement fans really want to see.
So if we can't really count on a lot of the biggest heroes (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk) - or the biggest heroes lost in "The Snap" (Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Vision, Scarlet Witch, most of the Guardians...), who should we be keeping an eye on? Scroll below for our top picks!
Sure, the logic about the original Avengers not being Skrulls seems valid - but there is one exception: Hawkeye. Hawkeye is the only original Avenger to be conveniently "retired" at the time Infinity War occurs, and so far, it seems his role in Avengers 4 will be in the very different guise, of his "Ronin" persona from the comics. There have been a lot of theories as to why Hawkeye could go through such change, and even rumor that he could be actually hunting Skrulls in the next Avengers 4 - or, that could all be setup for a later reveal that the Hawkeye who come back to the team wasn't the one who retired. Finding out that Clint Barton (and his family?) was killed and replaced would be a devastating blow to fans - and open the door to the female Hawkeye to make her debut.
There's a sub-category of characters that a lot of fan theories don't consider as potential Skrulls: those who never really come back from "The Snap." Marvel Studios filmmakers have already been teasing that no matter how the day gets saved in Avengers 4, some MCU characters will stay dead - but the nature of how that plays out could be a big twist.
Take a case like Maria Hill: she was vaporized in The Snap, and could be seen again after Avengers 4 - but what if it's not Hill? In the chaos of the MCU restoration Skrulls could replace any MIA characters in key places. Nick Fury's most trusted confidant (Hill) would give the Skrulls access to the man who knows all of the MCU's deepest secrets.
"Secret Invasion" was built on the reveal that Skrull agents had been infiltrating the Marvel Universe for years before the actual invasion began - and the MCU adaptation would do well to pull a similar twist. The problem, as stated, would be revealing longtime characters as Skrulls could trip up previous MCU movies - but one very popular fan theory is that Thunderbolt Ross could fulfill be the exception. Ross largely dropped off the radar after The Incredible Hulk, but was instrumental in disrupting the entire superhero order via Avengers: Age of Ultron's Sakovia Accords. If Skrulls like putting agents in positions of power and influence, and working through manipulation and subterfuge, then Ross would fit the bill, perfectly.
The same principle that applies to Maria Hill applies to Falcon: someone who was lost in The Snap, but never truly makes it back - someone in close proximity to an MCU power-player. Having Falcon eventually revealed as a Skrull, and the real Sam Wilson either captured or dead, would be enough to rock the Steve Rogers (or the next Captain America, Bucky Barnes) to the core.
Besides Thunderbolt Ross, the other longtime MCU player who would be a prime candidate for Skrull exposure would be Rhodey. Rhodey has been around and influential in the MCU, but wouldn't invalidate any previous storylines if exposed as a fraud. On the contrary: Rhodey being a Skrull would be a good way to explain his spinal recovery (wasn't just Stark tech - Skrulls have malleable bodies). It would also be a great meta-joke to make the casting switch between Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle into a functional part of the MCU storyline.
In "Secret Invasion", the unconquerable Wakanda was a major holdout against the Skrull invasion - but in the MCU, it may already have a target on its back, and an infiltrator in its ranks. Everett Ross came out of nowhere in Captain America: Civil War, but has quickly become a big mover in shaker in terms of MCU events (the Sakovia Accords, opening Wakanda to the world...). Could it be he's a good G-man? Or was there another reason he was so good at piloting that Wakandan ship?
Sharon Carter has been quietly making her way through the espionage side of the MCU, and it could be a career path with a purpose: like helping the Skrulls map out the entire power structure of Earth. From SHIELD to the CIA, to the World Security Council, Agent 13 has has a lot of insight and influence: her being a major Skrull agent would finally give Sharon a big arc in the MCU - and would be devastating to Steve Rogers, if he had to lose a Carter woman he loved, all over again.
It's been confirmed that Valkyrie survived Avengers: Infinity War, but the next time we see her, it may not be the Valkyrie we know. "Secret Invasion" can't just be focused on Earth's heroes: the Skrulls will need to neutralize cosmic players, as well. Getting close to Thor and the Asgardians wouldn't be easy - which would make Valkyrie the perfect pick for a Trojan Horse.
Who are your picks for MCU characters that may be Skrull agents? Let us know in the comments!
Avengers: Infinity War is now available as a digital download and on Blu-ray and DVD. Ant-Man and the Wasp is now playing in theaters. Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019; Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5th, 2019. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been delayed indefinitely.