1 Year On, I’m Still Not Over How Badly The MCU Messed Up Its Lowest Rated Show

After one year, I’m still not happy about how the Marvel Cinematic Universe failed to make Secret Invasion work. I’m a believer that the MCU’s series have been hit-or-miss. While I would say that creating Disney+ and expanding the MCU on TV is something I quite liked, the mandate for limited series, with dramas running for only six episodes, is honestly baffling. So far, the only live-action series to run for multiple seasons — and perhaps the best Marvel Studios TV show — is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, with Daredevil: Born Again confirmed to run for at least two seasons too.

Okay, so if Marvel was more focused on creating limited series, then the quality had to be high. Well, WandaVision was certainly a success story, but not many of the other MCU shows managed to land in the upper half of the franchise — at least in my opinion. Following the creative overhaul of Daredevil: Born Again and Marvel making major changes to its TV division, slowing down the development of shows, and hiring actual showrunners, I’m hopeful for better shows. Adding to that, I think upcoming MCU projects could learn from the major bomb that was Secret Invasion.

Secret Invasion Should Have Been Incredibly Easy To Make

The Seminal Marvel Story Had So Much Potential

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) before the bombing in Secret Invasion episode 1

I was extremely excited when Secret Invasion was announced. While I knew that as the project was a TV show, it would never have the same huge scope the original comic book story had, I was still expecting to watch a series that would be very different from the usual MCU fare. Secret Invasion had a top-notch cast, led by Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in his first MCU lead role, and a story of political intrigue that could place it next to one of my favorite MCU movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Sadly, all that potential was wasted. By the end of its first episode, Secret Invasion had already irritated me to no end by killing Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. The project was the perfect place to finally let her shine in the MCU, with her conversations with Fury in episode one setting the stage for an exploration of their relationship, only for Marvel to kill her unceremoniously. Getting Secret Invasion right should have been easy, with street-level MCU heroes there, plus Fury slowly discovering that people close to him were Skrulls and having to navigate that, building high stakes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did a version of that story perfectly with its LMD storyline.

What Went So Wrong With Secret Invasion

Quite A Few Things, To Say The Least

G'iah with Drax's arm in Secret Invasion

The most interesting aspect of Secret Invasion should have been the paranoia, both from the characters and the audience, of not knowing who was a Skrull or not. However, the MCU series never delivered on that. Pretty much all of Secret Invasion‘s Skrull reveals were easy to guess or had little to no impact. For a show all about a shape-shifting alien race infiltrating Earth to take control of the planet in secret, the series missed out on the intrigue and tension that should have come with that threat.

Secret Invasion ended up being a dull addition to the MCU’s long list of projects, one most people will likely never watch more than once. The series also threw away most of the goodwill towards it in its finale. Not only was the Secret Invasion series finale rushed like pretty much all the other Marvel Studios series due to the problems with their model, but the big CGI fight between Gravik and Emilia Clarke’s G’iah — where she became the MCU’s most overpowered hero — looked bad and created a problem for the future in how to handle G’iah.

Hopefully, Marvel Will Never Make Any Show As Bad As Secret Invasion Ever Again

Changes Are Being Made Behind The Scenes At Marvel Television

Nick Fury in front of a bright light in Secret Invasion's finale

Secret Invasion was a story made for the big screen, as it could have thrived as the plot of a contained Avengers movie before Earth’s Mightiest Heroes teamed up for multiversal adventures. However, even though it lost a lot by being developed for the small screen, I believe the show could have been a success with some needed changes. Secret Invasion‘s story issues and pacing problems, with a short runtime and few episodes, are aspects that Marvel can and should correct for its TV series in the future.

I want to see the MCU keep experimenting with genres and characters on TV, as I think that is the best medium for those stories in the franchise — but I want them to be good. One year later, Secret Invasion stands as a cautionary tale for future Marvel TV projects. Sometimes, having a fantastic cast and exciting source material will not lead to a surefire hit. Thankfully, Marvel Studios is making major changes to address its quality issues on the TV side, and I’m hopeful that the studio will learn from Secret Invasion and not repeat the mistakes it made.

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