Emilia Clarke has been one of the biggest names in fandom over the last decade after her iconic role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. When she signed on to Marvel Studios' Secret Invasion, the MCU faithful began doing what they do best... speculating.
Warning - This article contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Secret Invasion.
Fans believed that the star of Emilia Clarke would carry this supplemental character first introduced in 2019's Captain Marvel to the next level of the MCU roster. Then G'iah's run ends abruptly in the third episode of Secret Invasion, when she was seemingly shot and killed.
So what does the future hold for the Mother of Dragons in the world's biggest movie/TV franchise?
Did Emilia Clarke Die in Secret Invasion?
The most likely scenario is that Episode 4 of Secret Invasion opens with Emilia Clarke's G'iah surviving the gunshot from Gravik in some espionage runaround. If footage from the trailer is any indication, this is all but confirmed with so many shots of G'iah in Secret Invasion that have not been shown.
This "reveal" seems incredibly telegraphed because if G'iah really is dead and that trailer footage was a green herring, then Emilia Clarke's MCU career consisted of three episodes where she was a supporting character at best. A bummer to say the least.
So while the odds-on favorite situation is that G'iah's death is a smokescreen, the ceiling for this character after a fake-out death is significantly lower than those hopes for Clarke when she was announced for this show.
So what if Gravik did shoot G'iah? If trailer footage is any indication, the end of G'iah's story is not the end of Emilia Clarke's. In the nature of being a Skrull, if G'iah is gone but Emilia Clarke still has scenes left, attention pivots to whoever this Daenerys Targaryen-looking woman G'iah took over is.
Enter Abigail Brand
G'iah has been undercover as the woman she uses for her human form for a very long time, as it was established that the longer a Skrull stays in their human body, the harder they are to detect.
This could be an innocent bystander that just so happens to be Emilia Clarke. But it is also established that the Skrulls have infiltrated some of the most important humans in the MCU. So who is someone of major importance that G'iah could have been impersonating this whole time?
Introducing Abigail Brand, one of the biggest fan-favorite X-Men(ish) characters in the Marvel Universe. In the comics, Abigail Brand is a half-alien half-human/mutant who is the no-nonsense leader of SWORD. She is known for her firey attitude, a begrudging alliance with the X-Men, and her wunderkind rise to power within the U.S. Government.
Most recently, Brand's leadership over SWORD saw many other fellow mutant heroes joining the organization's ranks alongside her.
Brand is a character much more aligned with the initial expectations for Emilia Clarke in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She is also the perfect character to be taken over by a Skrull in Secret Invasion as she is primarily responsible for defending Earth from extraterrestrial attacks.
The chapter of G'iah may be over but the Book of Brand might be just beginning.
Everything Is Connected in the MCU
Another option to "MCU-ify" Skrulls and Abigail Brand in this universe is to use the story being told in Secret Invasion to build Brand's origin story, rather than start her off with the X-Men as she is more commonly associated in the comics.
Kingsley Ben-Adir's Gravik has already shown that the Super Skrull program gives him the ability to heal using Extremis. If G'iah got her hands on that secret sauce the reveal could be that Extremis allows her to survive the "fatal" gunshot wound.
With G'iah 99.5% for sure coming back in Episode 4, there is still a path to Abigail Brand. This potential face-turn could be what pushes G'iah to the side of Talos and Nick Fury to take down the Skrull Invasion. Say they succeed and Fury gives G'iah a role in SABRE (which the MCU is using to replace the corrupted SWORD) as she keeps her Emilia Clarke appearance under the codename "Abigail Brand".
This would give a very MCU-forward explanation to Brand being half-alien and having such a prominent role moving forward to back up the stardom of Emilia Clarke.
It Was Abigail All Along
Keen-eyed fans will remember that the rumor of Emilia Clarke being Abigail Brand has always been much more than fan casting. The look works. The character-to-actor levels work. And Secret Invasion is a great way to introduce the character ahead of future MCU projects, particularly The Marvels.
But beyond all of the variables, Marvel Studios added fuel to this fire with an early-stage promotional GIF of Emilia Clarke's character in Secret Invasion. The GIF shows the character audiences have been with for the past three weeks but the metadata shows that the GIF was tagged with "#Abigail-Brand".
Could this have been a mistake? Sure. But with the non-satiated ending for G'iah, the near guarantee of more Emilia Clarke to come, and the Abigail Brand branding being swiftly removed by Marvel Studios from the aforementioned GIF, this theory has picked up steam and it might be the only way to reach the value that was promised by bringing on The Breaker Of Chains.
Secret Invasion continues with Episode 4 streaming on Disney+ on Wednesday, July 12.