Marvel Doomed Disney+ Show With Last-Minute Replacement, New Report Claims

in Entertainment, Marvel

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in 'Secret Invasion'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ ill-fated Secret Invasion miniseries will go down in history as being, perhaps, one of the most disappointing installments in franchise history, despite boasting A-list star power from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Emilia Clarke, and Olivia Colman. And according to a new report, it’s easy to track down the very moment when things started to go south behind the scenes.

Nick Fury shocked in Marvel's 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Secret Invasion premiered on Disney+ in June 2023, and based on its first two episodes, expectations were high. Promising a darker, more grounded espionage-thriller not often seen in the MCU these days, its high-stakes, suspenseful storyline showed promise early on before going…downhill, to say the least.

The show picks up shortly after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019) and centers around former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury as he continues to process the trauma of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) Snap, in which he and half of the universe’s population were Blipped out of existence for five years.

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

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After he reluctantly returns to Earth, Secret Invasion sees Nick Fury teaming up with ex-Skrull General Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) to help stop a global conspiracy set in place by a group of radicalized Skull refugees intent on claiming Earth as their own.

Secret Invasion is loosely based on the 2008 Marvel comic book run of the same name and ran on Disney+ for six episodes before completing its short run in late July. Unfortunately, after getting off to a strong start, the show’s quality declined, and the final episode, titled “Home,” was, for lack of a better word, dreadful.

G'iah (Emilia Clarke) in 'Secret Invasion' 1.06
Credit: Marvel Studios

 The finale was voted the lowest-rated Marvel title of all time, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which is seriously impressive considering Secret Invasion came on the heels of other poorly-rated titles like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

So, what went wrong? Well, to many, the show’s inconsistent pacing made for a difficult watch, while others found themselves unimpressed with its central villain, Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir). There’s also G’iah’s, frankly, goofy, CGI-laden hero reveal, on top of Rhodey’s (Don Cheadle) shape-shifter twist, which wasn’t as much as a twist as much as it was an extremely obvious plot point from the get-go.

Ravva in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Additionally, many viewers weren’t too happy with how much Secret Invasion seemed to retcon the events of the Infinity Saga, with Rhodey’s Skull alter-ego having attended Iron Man/Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) funeral —something that seems a little out of character for a duplicitous, shape-shifting alien terrorist. 

Many of these issues can be traced back to poor scripts, which were penned by Mr. Robot‘s Kyle Bradstreet for roughly a year before he was suddenly fired and replaced by Brian Tucker, Thomas Bezucha, and director Ali Selim in an effort to help crack the story.

secret-invasion-director-ali-selim
Credit: Marvel

While this type of last-minute switch-up is pretty much the norm for Marvel Studios at this point, after taking up showrunner duties, something seems to have gotten lost in translation between Bradstreet and his replacements, leading to some tense moments on set.

According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporterthings started to turn sour in Summer 2022, when “factions became entrenched and leaders vied for supremacy” during Secret Invasion’s pre-production in London.

Olivia Colman as Sonya Falsworth in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

An insider claimed that tensions “erupted” after weeks of toxicity, leading the studio to enlist Jonathan Schwartz, a senior executive and member of Marvel’s creative steering committee known as The Parliament, to get Secret Invasion back on track:

It was weeks of people not getting along, and it erupted.

By the time September rolled around, much of the original Secret Invasion team had been replaced, with new line producers, unit production managers, and assistant directors taking over. It also didn’t help that Bezucha, who was supposed to direct three episodes, left the show because of scheduling conflicts, causing Marvel to reassign Chris Gary in the role.

Emilia Clarke's G'iah talking to Ben Mendelsohn's Talos
Credit: Marvel Studios

This Secret Invasion news, while undeniably shocking, is hardly a rarity these days, with similar emotions running high behind the scenes as Marvel scrambles to overhaul its floundering TV business. On the Oscar Isaac-led Moon Knight, show creator Jeremy Slater quit, and director Mohamed Diab took the reins. Meanwhile, Jessica Gao developed and wrote She-Hulk: Attorney at Law but was sidelined once director Kat Coiro came into the picture.

More recently, fans were left concerned when it was revealed that the eagerly-awaited Daredevil: Born Again, which paused production in mid-June during the writers’ strike, would be undergoing a complete overhaul after Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige supposedly watched the existing footage, deeming it borderline unwatchable and unfaithful to the Netflix-produced Daredevil show.

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios/Netflix

As a result, head writers Chris Ord and Matt Corman and all of the series’ directors were allegedly booted from the project, which is already the victim of several strike-related delays. This update aligns with what those who work with Marvel on the TV side have been saying for years, with a lack of central vision affecting the studio’s Disney+ originals due to constant creative differences and tension.

So, what is Marvel doing to actively fix this? Well, according to longtime Marvel exec Brad Winderbaum, the superhero studio is making concrete changes in how it makes TV, with plans being set in stone to hire showrunners, who will write pilots and show bibles, to spearhead Disney+ projects that will have a creative throughline from start to finish. 

Martin Freeman as Everett Ross in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio also plans to have full-time TV execs rather than having executives alternate between television and film. This could help make the quality of the MCU’s Disney+ shows more consistent, with the studio reportedly leaning into multi-season serialized TV in favor of the controversial miniseries format, allowing audiences to grow with certain characters and storylines over an many years.

With Marvel’s Disney+ catalog being at the center of seemingly endless online discourse — and Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger flat-out admitting that Marvel “diluted focus and attention” from fans by offering so many TV shows — it’s clear that things need to change.

If the struggling studio can make more personal TV entries that serve a more important purpose than setting up the next Avengers movie, then there may be hope yet. But only time will tell if the MCU will succeed in putting quality over quantity or if audiences’ growing sense of “superhero fatigue” will destroy its chances before it can make any meaningful changes in its TV department.

What do you think of this explosive behind-the-scenes drama on the set of Secret Invasion? What do you think Marvel Studios needs to do to save itself from inevitable doom? Let us know in the comments below.

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