The MCU’s recent Disney+ show, Secret Invasion, relies on one key concept: shape-shifting aliens secretly walk among us, and they could be anyone—even someone’s closest friends. It’s what makes the Skrulls so intimidating; who knows where they could be hiding.
In that vein, fans were expecting the Disney+ series to tell them a familiar MCU character has secretly been a Skrull.
While last week’s episode teased that reveal, the show’s fourth installment straight-up confirmed it.
SPOILER Was a Skrull in the MCU All Along
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Secret Invasion.
Feige shared how they needed "a character that one would not expect to be a Skrull," something Don Cheadle himself "was on board for:"
“We needed to have a character that one would not expect to be a Skrull... Don [Cheadle] was on board for this reveal of playing and revealing another side of Rhodey and revealing that, yeah, Rhodey has been a Skrull.”
Feige shared that the idea was pitched to Cheadle in the "very early days:"
“When we have amazing actors, like Don, that have been with us for so many years, we very much treat them as partners in the creative collaboration... It was very early days when we pitched this concept to Don, and he very much was into it and into being able to play with different sides of Rhodey that we haven’t seen before.”
While Feige didn't reveal exactly how long the character's been in disguise, the Marvel boss teased that fans will come to "understand exactly how long he's been a Skrull" before hinting that Cheadle's Rhodes has been a Skrull in "some" of his previous MCU appearances:
“We like the idea of fans going back and watching some of the other appearances of Rhodey and realizing that that wasn’t him.”
Prior to Secret Invasion, Cheadle's Rhodes appeared in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, 2019's Avengers: Endgame, and 2021's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which even earned him an Emmy nom!)
In Secret Invasion Episode 4, Rhodey is revealed to be one of Gravik's pawns early in the episode when he meets with Priscilla, Nick Fury's wife.
Marvel then double-downs on the twist when audiences see Rhodey shape-shift into a Skrull during his morning routine.
While this Skrull's name isn't spoken during the episode, her name is revealed as Raava thanks to the credits.
How Long Has Rhodey Been a Skrull?
Such a big twist like this can be hard for audiences to swallow. This is especially true when Marvel seems to be claiming that someone like War Machine has been a Skrull for a long time.
With Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige mentioning fans going back and watching previous Rhodey appearances, that alone indicates Raava was in disguise for quite a bit.
What’ll make it hard for viewers to accept is that this could mean War Machine, who was with the Avengers for five years and saw his closest friend die, was actually a Skrull and not the real deal. Many will feel like such a reveal cheapens all of those moments.
It also means that all of those fun interactions between Rhodey and the wider MCU cast were never actually him.
It’ll certainly give Rhodey an interesting place to start for Armor Wars. The poor dude is going to have a lot of catch-up to do when he comes out of his Skrull-orchestrated hibernation.
Secret Invasion is now streaming on Disney+.