WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel's Runaways Season 2, streaming now on Hulu.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe's cosmic corner grew, fans often made calls for Skrulls to enter the fray. The film rights to the shape-shifting aliens are shared by Fox and Marvel Studios, leading to speculation that Jessica Chastain's character in Dark Phoenix could mark the live-action debut of the Skrulls. Instead, , that honor will go to Captain Marvel.
Fans have longed to see the aliens seeded throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, living in disguise and hatching a plot similar to the 2008 comic book event Secret Invasion. But in Season 2 of Marvel's Runaways, fans have already gotten a taste of shape-shifting aliens in the form of Xavin, who's a Skrull in the comics but whose origins are tweaked on the Hulu series to ensure the race is exclusive to the big screen, at least for now.
Introduced in Marvel's Runaways Vol. 2, Xavin was a Super-Skrull in training who came to Earth for Karolina Dean, who was promised to him in marriage by her parents. Exiled from their homeworld Majesdane, the Deans struck a deal for the Skrulls to go there, and leave Earth alone. The marriage between Karolina and Xavin was intended to cement the alliance -- but, of course, the Deans expected Xavin's family to die in the invasion of Majesdane. It came as a surprise, then, when he came to Earth to claim his bride.
A lot of romantic drama ensued, with Nico becoming part of a love triangle, and Xavin assuming a female form. Feelings aside, the Skrull became an integral part of the team, not only fighting to protect the love of her life, but all of the Runaways. It all came to head in the comics when Xavin sacrificed herself after a surviving group of Majesdanians came to apprehend Karolina for the crimes of her deceased parents.
The second season of Hulu's Runaways changes Xavin's character by giving us something that's very close to a Skrull, yet not one. Instead, Xavin is a Xartan, another shape-shifting alien species in the Marvel Universe whose identity-manipulation abilities are more or less the same as the better-known Skrulls. It's an easy switch that fans won't really mind because, let's face it, we never expected Skrulls to debut on the small screen once they were announced for Captain Marvel.
Played by Clarissa Thibeaux, Xavin adopt different identities before shifting into her final female form, which she believes will appeal most to Karolina. It's similar to the comics, as Karolina always felt more comfortable around Xavin's female form. However, Xavin's arrival is different on the show, where she was a stowaway on the royal ship that carried Karolina's father Jonah, his wife and their two kids. When they crashed on Earth, only Jonah was able to escape. but as he tries to leave the planet this season, we see him speaking telepathically to Xavin -- who's not just a pilot, but whose abilities actually make the shape of a bio-organic vessel that changes form for interstellar commute.
When the rest of Pride destroys the ship, along with Jonah's family, Xavin's energy is freed and she inhabits a human host, seeking out Karolina, believing they're part of some ancient star-crossed lovers' prophecy.
With a human vessel in her possession, Xavin is now able to shape-shift as she pleases, just like a Skrull would. Nothing stops her from taking any form -- as seen when she turned into Karolina's lover, Nico, and even her mom, Leslie -- so while she may not be called a Skrull, she still operates as one.
Now streaming on Hulu, Marvel’s Runaways Season 2 stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Angel Parker, Ryan Sans, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi and James Yaegashi.