The Marvels’ disappointing box office performance could have been avoided if it had adapted Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion storyline. Combining The Marvels and Secret Invasion into one event movie would have raised the stakes and brought in more viewers, perhaps avoiding The Marvels major box office disappointment. The placement of Secret Invasion and The Marvels in the MCU timeline doesn’t make sense, but combining them could have provided the opportunity for better continuity.

Making one small change to the storyline of The Marvels could have spared Marvel Studios’ Multiverse Saga from two of its biggest disappointments. Phase 5 of the MCU has been a mixed bag so far, with some projects, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Loki season 2, being celebrated as some of Marvel Studios’ strongest work, while others have become some of the MCU’s lowest-rated installments and biggest box office bombs. In fact, the MCU’s biggest box office bomb ever could have been avoided had 2023’s The Marvels explored one of Marvel Comics’ most intense and world-changing storylines.

The Marvels hit theaters in November 2023, bringing together Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan for the first time in the MCU as they find their light-based abilities entangled. The Marvels brought its heroes into conflict with Zawe Ashton’s Kree villain Dar-Benn, and while the film made huge developments in the Multiverse Saga, its release still marked a major disappointment for Marvel Studios. Despite being the highest-grossing film for a Black female director, with Nia DaCosta making her MCU debut, The Marvels became the MCU’s lowest-grossing project, but this could have been avoided.


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Captain Marvel’s 2023 sequel, The Marvels, released on November 10, and has since broken some unfortunate box office records for Marvel Studios.

Captain Marvel 2 Adapting Secret Invasion Could’ve Made It A Major MCU Event Movie

Aside from The Marvels, Phase 5’s Secret Invasion also became one of the MCU’s lowest-rated projects following its release on Disney+ in June 2023. Had these two projects been combined into one event movie, however, the Captain Marvel sequel may have fared much better at the box office. Instead of pitting its heroes against a new villain, The Marvels could have seen Carol Danvers fighting alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against the impending threat of the shape-shifting Skrulls, acting as a more direct sequel to Brie Larson’s 2019 debut, and bringing one of Marvel Comics’ biggest storylines to life more accurately.

There was some confusion regarding the lack of Avengers in Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion series on Disney+, as the Marvel Comics storyline features the majority of the heroes of the Marvel Universe. Had Secret Invasion been adapted into a movie, perhaps replacing The Marvels as the sequel to Captain Marvel, more high-profile heroes could have been included in the project. This would have transformed The Marvels into more of an event movie, along the same lines as 2016’s pseudo-Avengers crossover project Captain America: Civil War, which would have raised the star-power and box office draws of the Phase 5 film.

Secret Invasion Being Adapted In An MCU Movie Could’ve Raised The Stakes

Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion released between June 2008 and January 2009, and was one of the Marvel Universe’s most game-changing narratives. The Skrulls embarked on an outright invasion of Earth, hoping to claim the planet as their own, and several notable superheroes were outed as Skrulls in disguise. This created an intense atmosphere of paranoia, and culminated in several action-packed battles between the Skrull warriors and many of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Adapting this storyline for the MCU, however, meant that many of these grander themes were lost completely, but making Secret Invasion into an event movie could have solved this.

Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion saw Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury return to Earth to deal with the threat of a rebellious faction of Skrulls. Led by Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Gravik, this Skrull rebellion had grown tired of waiting for Fury and Danvers to find them a new home, and wanted to claim Earth for themselves, but ultimately posed a very small threat to the MCU.

Had The Marvels adapted Secret Invasion, Marvel Studios could have included some of the MCU’s newest heroes in the epic crossover event, helping to solve criticisms of disconnection and disjointedness in the Multiverse Saga. There could have also been more surprise reveals than only Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross and Don Cheadle’s Rhodey being outed as Skrulls, as the MCU’s bigger names could have been revealed to also have been replaced. This would have seriously raised the stakes of the storyline, allowing Secret Invasion to have a greater impact on the future of the MCU, rather than telling a smaller-scale espionage story.

Captain Marvel 2 Being An Event Movie May Have Prevented The Marvels’ Box Office Bomb

Ultimately, both Secret Invasion and The Marvels felt like only half a story. Secret Invasion directly continued themes and storylines laid out in 2019’s Captain Marvel, as it marked the end of the Skrulls’ patience in waiting for Carol Danvers and Nick Fury to find them a new home, while The Marvels dealt with Danvers’ own story, but practically ignored the Skrulls. Skrulls played a huge role in Captain Marvel, so it may have made more sense for the sequel to feature them more heavily, and adapting Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion for the Phase 5 film would have accomplished this.

Adapting the Secret Invasion storyline into a film would have drawn in more viewers, especially if the MCU’s more high-profile stars had been confirmed for the project. This would have avoided The Marvels’ disappointing box office performance, and could have seen the project reach similar levels of success to its 2019 predecessor, which surpassed $1 billion. Making The Marvels an event movie could have brought this to fruition, as was previously seen with Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and even Spider-Man: No Way Home, which managed to almost reach $2 billion despite being released in the otherwise low-grossing Multiverse Saga.

Captain Marvel 2 Adapting Secret Invasion Would’ve Fixed MCU Continuity Issues

Secret Invasion and The Marvels’ places in the MCU’s official timeline don’t really make sense. The Marvels acts as the continuation of storylines from 2019’s Captain Marvel, 2021’s WandaVision, 2022’s Ms. Marvel and 2023’s Secret Invasion, and while Secret Invasion was set before The Marvels, the timelines of the other projects don’t match up. For instance, Ms. Marvel takes place immediately prior to The Marvels, as revealed by the series finale’s post-credits scene, but Ms. Marvel is placed months prior to Secret Invasion in the MCU’s timeline on Disney+, sandwiched between She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Combining Secret Invasion and The Marvels into one event movie would have given Marvel Studios the opportunity to adjust its timeline placing accordingly. Some have argued that Secret Invasion would have worked better being released shortly after Endgame, as Nick Fury dealt directly with the five-year-long Blip and the absence of Avengers, and this could have been an interesting place for a theatrical Secret Invasion adaptation to release. This could have continued Captain Marvel’s story from Endgame, while perhaps revealing several heroes to have been replaced during the Blip. Unfortunately, however, the fate of The Marvels has already been sealed.

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