Why Marvel’s Secret Invasion Could Bring Back Adrianne Palicki’s Mockingbird

Marvel Studios reunites Captain Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn in Disney+ original series Secret Invasion, which could bring super-spy Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. Palicki starred as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Bobbi Morse in seasons 2 and 3 of ABC and Marvel Television's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which split off from the mainstream MCU in later seasons despite earlier tie-ins with MCU-set feature films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Secret Invasion, one of the many Marvel Studios series that will intersect with the movies, Palicki could reprise her role for the first time since season 3 episode "Parting Shot" in 2016.

Morse and ex-husband Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) exited Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a spy's goodbye in "Parting Shot," part of a plan to spin the spies off into Marvel's Most Wanted. The spin-off's unaired pilot would have teamed Morse and Hunter with rogue adventurer Dominic Fortune (Delroy Lindo), but the project did not move forward at Disney-owned ABC.

In the Marvel comic books, Morse is one of several superheroes kept prisoner by the shape-shifting Skrulls and replaced by a deeply undercover sleeper agent on Earth. During the Secret Invasion crossover event, Morse returns from space and is reunited with her ex-husband, Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye/Ronin of the Avengers.

Spider-Man: Far From Home teased the newly-announced Marvel Studios series in a post-credits scene Easter egg, where the license plate of a vehicle piloted by good guy Skrulls Talos (Mendelsohn) and Soren (Sharon Blynn) references an issue of Secret Invasion tie-in comic Hawkeye & Mockingbird.

In that issue taking place after Morse returns to Earth and reclaims her identity stolen by Skrulls, she's paired with Dominic Fortune in the jungles of the Savage Land when she comes across Nick Fury. She quickly realizes this "Fury" is a Skrull, telling him: "I spent three years of my life with your kind. Imprisoned. Beaten. On the run. You can never trick me again, no matter whose face you have. I'll kill you every time."

Most Wanted also had Morse and Hunter on the run while trying to uncover a conspiracy. Secret Invasion could mark Morse's return, regardless of whether the MCU-set series acknowledges her time on the MCU-adjoined Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — possibly revealing the spy as one of the Skrulls who have infiltrated every level of life on Earth. This would give Palicki a blank slate as a newly-returned Mockingbird in the MCU proper.

"Listen, if they ask me to come back, I would absolutely come back," the Orville star told TV Line when asked about a Mockingbird return last year. "I was like, 'Nick [Blood] came back [for a Season 5 episode of S.H.I.E.L.D.] — what the hell, guys!'"

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"Next to Civil War, Secret Invasion is arguably the biggest crossover comic event of the last 20 years," Marvel's chief creative officer Kevin Feige said when announcing the series during Disney Investor Day. It's there Feige confirmed Secret Invasion would "tie directly to MCU feature films," likely referring to Brie Larson's Captain Marvel 2 in November 2022.

Secret Invasion is expected to release on Disney+ in 2022.