‘Secret Invasion’ Failure Threatens to Destroy Marvel’s Presence on Disney+

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Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) in Marvel's 'Secret Invasion'

Credit: Marvel Studios / Inside the Magic

Marvel’s Secret Invasion has officially arrived on Disney+, and so far, its viewership numbers aren’t looking good—even putting it below the highly-divisive She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury looking to the sky in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Samuel L. Jackson’s action-packed return to the MCU isn’t being met with the fanfare Marvel likely expected after its first episode premiered on Disney+ last week.

The new series follows former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury as he returns to Earth to help his allies, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Skrull General Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), to stop an escalating war between humanity and a radicalized group of disgruntled Skrull refugees, who are trying to claim the planet as their own from the shadows.

Secret Invasion Emilia Clarke
Credit: Marvel Studios

All-star actors, including MCU newcomers like Emilia Clarke, who plays G’iah, and Olivia Colman’s Agent Sonya Falsworth, also round out the cast, as well as familiar faces like Martin Freeman’s CIA Agent Everett Ross and Don Cheadle’s James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes (AKA War Machine).

Check out the official trailer for Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion below:

So far, early reviews don’t exactly indicate that Secret Invasion has lived up to the hype, especially when compared to previous MCU series that have debuted on Disney+ in recent years, including WandaVision, Loki, and Moon Knight.

Audiences’ opinions aside, a recent report from Samba TV confirmed suspicions that Secret Invasion might be one of Marvel’s worst TV shows yet—at least in terms of viewership numbers. The outlet revealed that 994 thousand U.S. households streamed Secret Invasion’s premiere in the first five days of release, which may seem like a lot, but in reality, pales in comparison to other MCU series.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in Marvel's 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

This makes Samuel L. Jackson’s new series the second-lowest MCU Disney+ show premiere of all time, even placing it below 2022’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which earned 1.5 million viewers on streaming. Meanwhile, only Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel lags behind, with 775 thousand U.S. households tuning into its premiere in 2022.

So, why are U.S. audiences choosing to hit “skip” on Secret Invasion? Well, it’s hard to say, especially considering Nick Fury is a staple character of the MCU who’s popped up in several projects since 2008’s Iron Man. But even though he’s led the Avengers, fought H.Y.D.R.A., and survived Thanos’ Snap, the truth is, maybe viewers just simply aren’t interested in seeing an entire show centered on Nick Fury.

the Skrull villain Gravik in Secret Invasion
Credit: Marvel

It doesn’t help that Secret Invasion is surrounded by controversy, thanks to its ties to the generally unremarkable Captain Marvel (2019) and the more recent debate about the ethics of Marvel using AI technology to generate the show’s opening credits. 

Secret Invasion could also easily be another victim of superhero fatigue, especially considering that three big-budget comic book movies were released in theaters over the past two months. And with Marvel having just kicked off their slate of Phase Five projects, it’s unlikely the studio will slow down anytime soon.

Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson
Credit: Marvel Studios

There’s still five weeks left for Secret Invasion to turn things around, which might just have to be the case for a mature, slow-burn crime-thriller like this one. The series is certainly a departure from other recent MCU projects, so maybe fans just need time to warm up to the story and its new characters.

Here’s hoping the six-part series can pick up stream—and fast. Or else, Secret Invasion might just spell trouble for the future of Marvel’s TV presence on Disney+.

Have you watched the first episode of Marvel’s Secret Invasion yet? If so, what did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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