The Skrulls are a race of aliens that first appeared in Fantastic Four #2 (written by Stan Lee, artwork by Jack Kirby). At the time, they may have seemed like one-off invaders introduced for the purposes of creating an exciting Fantastic Four comic but here we are more than 50 years later and the Skrulls have developed into a sizeable part of the Marvel Universe. Still, there are many who don't know much about the Skrull. Where did they come from? What do they want? Great questions, audience! That's what we're here to show you. Because as you might have seen already, there's a chance you'll be seeing these Skrulls a lot more in the near future.
They're usually portrayed as villains throughout their appearances -- warmongering galactic conquerors who threaten Earth (and all other planets) with either slavery or annihilation. Don't let all that fool you. There is so much more to them than just the battles or invasion attempts. They have a history, culture, saviors and even superheroes. Those are the things we're going to be showing you here. For those who thought that the Skrulls were just weird-chinned, green bad guys, here are 15 things you never knew!
15 TYPES OF SKRULLS
It's best to start at the basics. In the beginning, there wasn't a single type of Skrull. Skrulls were originally created millions of years ago by the Celestials through genetic experimentation on reptilian creatures on the planet Skrullos. Over the years, we've seen Prime Skrulls, Eternal Skrulls and most prominent of all, the Deviant Skrulls.
Prime Skrulls were ancient. They were a branch that formed millions of years ago. They were wiped out along with the Eternal Skrulls. It was the Deviant Skrulls that completely eradicated their genetic cousins through war. They survived that war and came out on top thanks to shapeshifting abilities unique to that branch of Skrull. Over time, with their technological advancements, they developed more specialized Super-Skrulls to fight in their wars.
14 THEIR HISTORY
As we said, the Skrulls were created by the Celestials and the three branches of Skrull that arose from those experiments warred against one another until the Deviant Skrulls emerged victorious, annihilating the other branches. Those Deviant Skrulls then developed into the modern Skrull and Dire Wraiths, both of which possessed shape-shifting abilities, only the Skrulls continued to develop through science and technological advancements.
The modern Skrulls were originally a peaceful space-faring race whose civilization was based on commerce and trade. When they reached the Milky Way and encountered a more primitive Kree, everything changed for both alien races. The Kree used the Skrull technology and slaughtered the Skrulls, forcing the latter to rebuild their civilization as one revolving around warfare and death. Their war against the Kree would go on for a long, long time.
13 THEIR CIVILIZATION
Skrulls aren't just a race of barbaric aliens; they have a rich culture and structured society. Their empire spanned a galaxy. Each of the near one thousand planets was appointed a governor and all of it was ruled by the royal family until a sequence of cataclysmic events fragmented the empire. The last real ruler was Empress R'Kill, who sought peace and prosperity for the Skrull empire, but that all ended when she fell with the Skrull throneworld of Tarnax IV. The empire is still headed by Princess Veranke, but various warlords such as Kl'rt, have also seized power.
Various sects have also emerged, such as Veranke's deeply religious sect, the Dard'van. They fervently fight to inhabit Earth as prophesied. The prophecy foretold of their throneworld's destruction at the hands of Galactus and their further catastrophe after the Annihilation wave (we'll talk a bit more about those later).
12 SKRULL GODS
We described the Eternal Skrulls as an extinct branch of Skrull but, that's not entirely accurate. There was one last Eternal, Kly'bn, who managed to persuade the Deviant Skrulls that killing him would mean their end as well. He rose to godhood, worshipped by the Skrulls as the leader of the Skrull Pantheon.
Very little is known about the Skrull pantheon, much less about who is actually a member. We know about Kly'bn, who is seen as the emperor of the pantheon, and Sl'gur't, an ancient Skrull empress who was raised to godhood after pledging herself to Kly'bn. There is also Zorr'kiri, a goddess of love who may be a member of that pantheon, but this has never been confirmed. The entire pantheon was destroyed when the Chaos King, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, battled his way to Kly'bn and Sl'gur't to kill them, thus conquering the Skrull pantheon, among others.
11 THEY'RE WELL HIDDEN
Skrulls are excellent shape-shifters, an ability they used in order to spread and conquer throughout the Andromeda Galaxy as well as the Milky Way. For example, Veranke, who inherited the throne, ordered Skrulls to infiltrate Earth under the guise of well-known superheroes during the 2008-2009 storyline "Secret Invasion." That covert replacement of certain members of the superhero community took place over several years.
To do all that, shapeshifting isn't enough. Super-Skrulls go through an infiltration ritual, which consists of both science and magic. Those Skrulls were hidden from psychics, magic and the heightened senses of superheroes like Wolverine, as we see in New Avengers #31 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Leinil Yu and others) when it was revealed that Elektra had been a Skrull, sparking doubt and uncertainty among Earth's heroes about who they could and couldn't really trust.
10 SKRULL HALL OF FAME
We've told you about a few famous (or infamous, depending on which side you're on) Skrull figures such as Empress Veranke and the gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't. If you want to seem like you know everything about Skrulls, there are just a few more important figures you'll have to familiarize yourself with. There are figures such as Kl'rt, who was a regular Skrull soldier before being turned into the first Super-Skrull, imbued with the powers of the Fantastic Four.
Of course, we can't mention Super-Skrulls without mentioning Dro'ge, the brilliant Skrull scientist and creator of the process through which Super-Skrulls are created. You also need to know about Dorrek VIII, also known as Hulkling, a member of the New Avengers and heir to the Skrull empire, which he decided he wouldn't claim until he's ready.
9 THEY CAN GET IT ON WITH HUMANS
Skrull biology is an interesting topic, though it's not often explored in the comics. We could tell you quite a bit about their anatomy but we're going to stick with the most interesting thing... like the fact that, thanks in part to their changeable bodies, they can get freaky with humans. We've known it to happen just a couple of times, like with Lyja and Johnny Storm when she was masquerading as Alicia Masters.
There was also Tigra and Criti Noll, who, at the time, had assumed the identity of Hank Pym. They had a child, William Nelson, though he's human (for the most part) since Criti used Pym's DNA. Neither of those relationships yielded any actual human/skrull hybrids, so it's uncertain if such a thing is actually possible.
8 THEY'VE BEEN DESTROYED MULTIPLE TIMES
While the entire Skrull race is generally seen as being harbingers of destruction, they've got a history of catastrophe and struggle. Their civilization has come close to complete annihilation several times. Their royal family was killed along with the rest of their throneworld, Tarnax IV, when it was devoured by Galactus.
This was the point at which the empire began to crumble. Things worsened later on in the "Annihilation" crossover storyline in which the Annihilation Wave and the Harvester destroy several Skrull worlds, such as the utopian planet, Aks'lo in Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 (written by Javier Grillo-Marxauch, artwork by Greg Titus and more). As if that weren't enough, what remained of the Skrull Empire was further devastated by the sudden invasion of the Builders. The Skrull have not yet been able to recover from these events, though not for lack of trying.
7 THE NEW SKRULL EMPIRE
Veranke perished at the hands of Norman Osborn near the end of "Secret Invasion," leaving the Skrull with one less legitimate claim to the throne. After the Builders were defeated, the Skrull Empire was given a new chance with Kl'rt the Super-Skrull and member of the Galactic Council, as its emperor with its new throneworld now being Tarnax II. This happens after Kl'rt comes to Earth's aid when Thanos attacks during the "Infinity" storyline while Earth's heroes are away fighting the ancient Builders.
We don't know how many the Skrull number now, but we do know that it's only a fraction of what it once was, especially since the Skrull tend to show no kindness or mercy even toward their own kind, as the Silver Surfer sees in Infinity #1 (written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Jim Cheung and more). It'll be a while before they reach their former heights.
6 KREE-SKRULL WARS
In 1971, we were given a massive crossover storyline titled "Kree-Skrull War" (written by Roy Thomas) in which Earth's heroes fight to prevent Earth from being caught in the crossfire of a massive intergalactic war between the Skrull and the Kree. These two races have been at war for a long time, since the Skrull first invaded a more primitive Kree and unintentionally left behind the technology necessary for the Kree to elevate themselves to rival the Skrull.
Though there have been periods of peace between the Skrull and the Kree, they never last long. There was hope for true peace in Hulkling, who was both Skrull and Kree. It was the hope of both races that were he to take the throne, the animosity would come to an end, however, as we mentioned, Hulkling decided against taking the throne.
5 THEY SUCCESSFULLY INFILTRATED EARTH
While Earth's heroes have thwarted many a Skrull plot, they've missed a lot, largely due to the unmatched natural espionage capabilities of the Skrull. Since the early 20th century, the Skrull have constantly infiltrated Earth in order to spy on it and ensure that it doesn't become a greater threat to the Skrull empire than they already think it is.
At times, these invasions aren't that subtle, like Paibok's assault on Earth after Lyja was resurrected, an assault that caused the Human Torch to pretty much explode and destroy a university campus. Other times, however, like the Secret Invasion we mentioned earlier, you can see just how frighteningly masterful the Skrull are at what they do. At the end of that storyline, Earth is rid of Skrulls thanks to Reed Richards' device but, who knows how many remain under the radar?
4 SKRULL COWS
In Fantastic Four #2, three Skrulls are forced to turn into cows by Reed Richards and allowed to live on a farm with a herd of normal Earth cows. However, they weren't technically the first Skrull cows. In Fantastic Four Vol 4 #10 (written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Mark Bagley and more), we see Reed Richards travel through time to prevent a Skrull scheme from unfolding. He resorts to hypnotizing the Skrull agents he encounters into believing that they're cows, thus beginning a long line of Skrull cows.
Of course, having thousands of Skrull cows isn't all fun and games. The original three Skrulls were slaughtered and their meat essentially poisoned a small town, causing many (those who survived eating the meat) to exhibit shapeshifting abilities, as well as an irrational and extreme hatred and fear of Skrulls. Well done, Reed.
3 CADRE K
Just like humans, among Skrulls there are mutants and just like humans, the Skrull abhor their mutants. There was hope for them, however, when Charles Xavier lent his support to mutant Skrulls in Uncanny X-Men #379 (written by Alan Davis, illustrated by Tom Raney and others). He founded Cadre K, consisting of the Skrull mutants: Fiz, Nuro, R'tee, Spunje, Z'Cann and Goroth.
After the death of Xavier, Cadre X decided to remain on Earth in order to live peacefully since their own kind despised them. They opened a ranch in South Dakota as was shown in A+X #16 (written by Gerry Duggan, illustrated by Cam Smith and more) to take care of Reed Richards' Skrull cows. They bare no hatred toward Earth's heroes or humanity and even helped them against the forces of Doctor Doom.
2 FILM RIGHTS
It was recently announced that Skrulls would be appearing in the MCU in the upcoming Captain Marvel (directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck). Before we get to the film, let's talk about why this is such big news. For years it was believed that the film rights to the Skrulls belonged to 20th Century Fox, which holds the film rights to the Fantastic Four and their supporting characters like Doctor Doom, Galactus and others, so it was assumed that Skrulls would be owned by them too.
Turns out, that's only partially true. James Gunn clarified in an interview that the film rights for Skrulls are co-owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios. Marvel can include Skrulls for the most part, there are just certain Skrull characters that cannot be included because those specific Skrulls are owned by Fox.
1 CAPTAIN MARVEL FILM
This should come as great news because it really shows us how the Captain Marvel film will really help expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe in ways even the Guardians of the Galaxy films (directed by James Gunn) couldn't really do since they were, in part, more focused on Thanos and Star Lord. It was recently revealed that the Captain Marvel film will adapt the Kree-Skrull War storyline, pretty much guaranteeing more depth in the outer-worldly aspects of the MCU.
We were also given a peek at concept art by Jerad S. Merantz, showing us what the Skrulls will look like in the film. If you haven't already looked it up, let us describe it for you: they're staying faithful to the comics and it's awesome. That pretty much sums it up.
What other weird and wonderful things do you think people should know about Skrulls? Tell us in the comments!