Marvel’s BTS Drama Reportedly Caused ‘Secret Invasion’ Failure

in Marvel, Television

Nick Fury looking terrified in a gray forest

Credit: Marvel Studios

A Marvel Studios insider has revealed the behind-the-scenes drama that factored into Secret Invasion (2023), becoming one of the worst-reviewed shows in the MCU.

Nick Fury and Skrulls in Secret Invasion
Credit: Inside the Magic

Secret Invasion was supposed to be one of the most significant shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reintroducing the Skrull, paving the way for Captain Marvel in The Marvels (2023), and debuting G’iha, one of the most powerful characters in the entire MCU.

The Disney+ limited series featured an all-star cast, including Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes (AKA War Machine), Emilia Clarke as the Skrull G’iha, Kingsley Ben-Adir as the villain Gravik, and Olivia Colman as MI6 Agent Sonya Falsworth. How could this possibly fail?

Rhodey (Don Cheadle) in Marvel's 'Secret Invasion' with a Skrull hidden behind him
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Well, it did. Hard. Secret Invasion disappointed critics and Marvel fans alike, earning some of the lowest scores and ratings across the MCU.

Naturally, this has led to speculation regarding what exactly went wrong with a show following one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Some claim it was due to bad writing, while others point to the boring action sequences. However, one Marvel insider has a different answer: the behind-the-scenes drama at Marvel Studios.

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Martin Freeman as Everett Ross in 'Secret Invasion' wearing a beanie and partially covered in shadow
Credit: Marvel Studios

Many fingers have been pointed regarding where Secret Invasion went wrong. However, a Marvel Studios insider recently told the Hollywood Reporter that the real issue was the behind-the-scenes drama at Marvel Studios.

Originally, the show was being helmed by Kyle Bradstreet, a writer most well-known for Mr. Robot (2015-2019). After a year, Marvel got rid of him after deciding to move the series “in a new direction.” This brought on writer Brian Tucker and two directors, Thomas Bezucha and Ali Selim. While these seem like drastic changes, these were considered normal for Marvel at the time.

The Skrull villain Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) screaming toward camera in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel

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However, things truly became disastrous when higher-ups began to bump heads. While the details were described as “murky,” people at Marvel Studios began forming factions in the summer of 2022, vying for control of the show during pre-production. “It was weeks of people not getting along,” said the insider, “and it erupted.”

Eventually, executives at the company were removed or reassigned in an attempt to get Secret Invasion back on track. By the end of September, a good portion of the team had been replaced. Soon, Bezucha left as well due to prior commitments.

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

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Basically, egos had gotten in the way of trying to make a good television show. One Marvel insider described it perfectly: “TV is a writer-driven medium. Marvel is a Marvel-driven medium.” And according to recent reports, Marvel Studios is looking to change that.

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Maria Hill and Nick Fury in a yellow room
Credit: Marvel Studios

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While it can be argued whether this drama completely destroyed the vision of Secret Invasion, there’s no doubt that these tumultuous circumstances at least had some kind of effect. Now, Marvel Studios is promising to have designated showrunners for each show and shift to a focus on multiseason television.

Many people praise this decision, excited for the return to quality seen in shows like Daredevil (2015-2018) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020). However, others are quick to note that this wasn’t entirely the studio’s decision.

Less saturated version of Olivia Colman in Secret Invasion, looking inquisitive in a red dress
Credit: Marvel Studios

Writer Kelechi Urama noted on X (formerly Twitter) that these were all requirements the WGA earned through their strike against the AMPTP. “We didn’t strike for nearly five months for companies to take credit for this,” she said. “These companies aren’t doing this simply bc they realized the process wasn’t working, but because writers struck to require that Showrunners be writers and not non-writing execs/directors—and we WON!”

Urama continued, “TV writers have been BEGGING for a return to the traditional model that worked for decades before tech companies took over. As these companies revert back to it (or something close), no one should ever forget it was largely our strike that forced them to do so. You’re welcome!”

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This was later confirmed in a community note from X, noting that Marvel Studios never had “plans to make these changes, as evidenced by the 148-day strike period.”

Still, this is the plan going forward, and Disney and Marvel Studios will have to do a lot to earn back the lost trust of fans around the world. Hopefully, this will all be a step in the right direction, and highly-anticipated shows like Echo (2024) and Daredevil: Born Again (TBA).

Do you think Marvel Studios is actually trying to improve the behind-the-scenes situation? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below.

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