Super Skrulls are Skrulls who have undergone genetic alterations to possess superpowers similar to those of the Avengers. This revelation was made in Secret Invasion episode 3, following hints in the previous episode. The Super Skrulls serve as a precautionary measure in case the Avengers uncover the Skrulls’ plan. Additionally, Skrulls have the ability to replicate and replace Avengers, particularly those without superhuman abilities like Iron Man (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.).
In Secret Invasion episode 2, a Skrull Avenger was teased, and episode 3 may have confirmed the identity of the first Skrull Avenger. However, it is also possible that Marvel is employing some misdirection. As such, be aware that significant spoilers may be discussed ahead, and it is advisable to watch all three episodes of Secret Invasion on Disney Plus before continuing.
The theory circulating suggests that Colonel James Rhodes (played by Don Cheadle), also known as War Machine, might be a Skrull in disguise. According to this popular speculation, the Skrulls could have replaced Rhodes at some point, allowing them to infiltrate both the world’s most powerful organization and the US military and government simultaneously, all without detection.
War Machine relies on an armored suit to fight alongside the Avengers, as he does not possess inherent superhuman abilities. Consequently, any Skrull assuming Rhodey’s appearance and mindset would be capable of utilizing the same suit and fighting alongside the team.
In Secret Invasion episode 2, there is a meeting between Nick Fury (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson) and Rhodey in London. Rhodey attends the meeting as a courtesy, representing the United States, alongside the leaders of the European Union and the UK. This meeting is a response to recent terrorist events originating from Russia. America’s allies suspect Fury and Maria Hill (played by Cobie Smulders) of involvement in an attack attributed to American extremists.
During their conversation, Rhodey refers to Fury by his first name, “Nick,” which is unusual since everyone typically addresses him as “Fury.” This raised suspicions that Rhodey might be a Skrull. However, it is worth considering that other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have referred to Fury as “Nick” in the past. So, it could either be a deliberate misdirection by Marvel or a genuine indication of Rhodey being a Skrull. It raises the question of whether those characters who called Fury “Nick” were Skrulls as well.
In episode 3, while attempting to prevent another attack that could escalate into World War 3, Fury hears Talos (played by Ben Mendelsohn) referring to him as “Nick.” This triggers Fury’s realization that something is amiss, as he discovers a Skrull disguised as a Bob holding Talos at gunpoint.
Since Fury reacts appropriately to being called “Nick” by Talos, it suggests that he must have also recognized Rhodey calling him that in episode 2. However, Fury chooses not to reveal his knowledge that War Machine is now a Skrull.
This leads to the conclusion that either Rhodes is currently a Skrull in the MCU timeline, or episode 2 contains a plot hole.
Indeed, there is more evidence to consider. In Secret Invasion episode 3, during a meeting between Fury and Talos, Fury discloses that a US government official present in London is a Skrull in disguise and that he requires Talos’ assistance. Given that the only high-ranking official present from the US is James Rhodes, it strongly suggests that Rhodes is the Skrull in question.
However, Marvel has a penchant for employing misdirection, so it’s possible that there is a reason why Rhodes can refer to Fury as “Nick.” It’s worth noting that any Skrull who has taken over War Machine’s memories would likely have some recollection of the “Nick” situation. Additionally, the intense exchange between Fury and Rhodes could serve as a reason for the Skrull to momentarily forget that they don’t typically address Fury by his first name.
Although Fury and Talos were unable to confront the Skrull posing as the US government official due to a more pressing mission, it is anticipated that Secret Invasion episode 4 will shed further light on the identity and nature of the first Skrull Avenger.