Marvel’s upcoming Secret Invasion TV series is officially on the way. So far, the project has attracted a shipload of galvanizing talents, from MCU constants like Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn to stage actor Kingsley Ben-Adir and Her Royal Highness, the Queen herself, the multi-awarded Olivia Colman (The Crown). With royalty officially on board, you’d think the hype couldn’t possibly get any bigger, and yet it just did, with Emilia Clarke now confirmed to have joined the cast.
News of Emilia Clarke following in the footsteps of Game of Thrones co-stars Jason Momoa, Kit Harrington, and Peter Dinklage and becoming an honest-to-God superhero practically shattered cyberspace, with stalwart fans of the actress and the franchise actively speculating on which role she was in talks for. Now we may know which Marvel character she’s actually playing thanks to Geekosity’s editor-in-chief Mikey Sutton who has reason to believe Clarke will be playing S.W.O.R.D. special agent Abigail Brand, a mutant-alien hybrid originally created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Like fellow mutant Pyro/St. John Allerdyce, Brand can conjure and manipulate fire with just her mind.
Emilia Clarke playing Brand isn’t certain, however. Fans have been pitching that the 34-year-old may also be playing Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew, Invisible Woman/Sue Storm, Mystique/Raven Darkhölme, or Skrull queen Veranke.
Emilia Clarke’s Abigail Brand would be both a mutant and a S.W.O.R.D operative. The marriage of both worlds would finally allow Marvel to establish an intimate connection between the events of WandaVision and the coming of the X-Men. “Secret Invasion” was an eight-issue crossover series about the Skrulls, a race of extraterrestrial shapeshifters, going undercover as doppelgängers of known superpowered individuals and covertly taking over the Earth. The operation had Skrulls assuming the identities of countless superheroes in a “secret invasion” to span a couple or so decades. The arc was created by Eisner-award winning writer Brian Michael Bendis and ran from 2008 to 2009, featuring several comic book tie-ins.
The Skrulls, portrayed in film as persecuted refugees over world conquerors, first arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Skrull agents Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Soren (Sharon Blynn) in 1995 to take down Kree imperialists, led by her old mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). By 2024, the Skrulls have already assumed control of (at least) high-ranking officials at S.H.I.E.L.D., including Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), former director and deputy director of S.H.I.E.L.D., respectively. Talon and his wife Soren impersonated Fury and Hill in Spider-Man: Far From Home at the real Fury’s request. The film’s post-credits scene shows Nick Fury enjoying an artificial tropical landscape while commandeering a Skrull spaceship. It’s unknown how much of S.H.I.E.L.D. — or heck, Planet Earth — is already under the jurisdiction of Skrulls, but it’s clearly setting up the complex socio-political topography of Emilia Clarke’s upcoming Secret Invasion series.
London-born actress Emilia Clarke is no stranger to playing icons. Since her turn as the Mother of Dragons in Game of Thrones, she’s been in Solo: A Star Wars Story as the titular Han’s first love Qi’ra and in Terminator Genisys as the rebooted Sarah Connor. Aside from Secret Invasion, Clarke was cast as Malicia in the animated big-screen adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s 2001 novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. She was last seen playing the down-on-her-luck Christmas store worker to Henry Golding’s charming Tom Webster. The romantic comedy was penned by actress Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise, with live artist Bryony Kimmings co-writing. Clarke also appeared on Saturday Night Live in 2019 as herself.