The Skrulls are some of the earliest villains to appear in the Marvel Universe, making their first appearance in some of the first issues of Fantastic Four. They have the ability to shapeshift, and are often caught posing as important human figures and heroes, usually attempting to infiltrate powerful organizations. Over the decades, they've been a constant thorn in the side of Earth's defenders. Despite all of this, the Skrulls won't be making an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until 2019's Captain Marvel.
Initially, it seemed like Fox might own the rights to the Skrulls, as they first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic. Marvel was able to work out a deal, however, and the green skinned shapeshifters are ready for their big screen debut. While it's always exciting to see classic villains in live action, it's time to admit that the Skrulls kind of suck. In fact, there are a lot of other aliens that would make way better enemies. Since it seems like studios are willing to share species, it's possible that any one of these alien empires could (and should) appear in the movies instead of the Skrulls. Here's why the Skrulls suck, followed by who should replace them!
16 THEY GET OBLITERATED WAY TOO OFTEN
The galaxy in the Marvel Universe is a dangerous place. It's filled with violent aliens and warring empires, and it's not uncommon to see a political superpower crumble after some major disaster. It just seems like it happens to the Skrulls all the time. It seems like this particular galactic empire is constantly being dealt devastating blow after devastating blow.
First, Galactus consumed their homeworld in Fantastic Four #257 (1983) by John Byrne. Then, there was the genetic bomb from Avengers Annual #14 (1985) by Roger Stern and John Byrne that robbed all Skrulls of their shapeshifting abilities. Recently, the Skrull empire was decimated by the Annihilation Wave, and again by the Builders in Infinity (2013). Sure, their sworn enemies the Kree have suffered some hardships, but not as frequently or as devastatingly as the Skrulls.
15 THEY CAN MIMIC POWERS, BUT THEY CAN'T MASTER THEM
Skrulls have the ability to shapeshift, allowing them to take the form of most living beings and even inanimate objects. Initially, they could only change their appearance, but they eventually developed the ability to replicate super powers and give them to certain soldiers. The first of these Super Skrulls, Kl'rt, first appeared in Fantastic Four #18 (1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. These types of soldiers would also be heavily used during the Secret Invasion (2008) storyline.
Each of the super Skrulls is given a wide variety of powers, making them more powerful than the Earth heroes they're replicating. Unfortunately, the Skrulls don't seem to be as good at using the powers as the Earth heroes, who often have limited power sets that they have to master. The skrulls overpower their soldiers, but they still just end up losing.
14 THE SUPER SKRULL'S ORIGINAL WEAKNESS
As previously mentioned, Kl'rt became the Skrulls' first Super Skrull back in Fantastic Four #18 (1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After their defeat at the hands of the Fantastic Four, the Skrulls figured out a way to give one of their warriors each of the Fantastic Four's powers. With his combined powers and military training, Kl'rt was able to temporarily beat Marvel's first family.
Unfortunately, Kl'rt had one major weakness: his abilities are beamed to him from the Skrull homeworld. Reed Richards blocks the beam, and the team easily defeats the now powerless foe. Of course, the beam could have been disrupted by any number of other events, so this was kind of a huge oversight on the Skrulls' part. Wouldn't it have made more sense to figure out a way to keep Super Skrull powered up from a closer source?
13 THEY RELY ON SHAPE SHIFTING WAY TOO MUCH
During the Skrulls' early stages of evolution, they were able to become the dominant species on their planet due to their ability to shapeshift. While it's obviously a useful skill, it's clear that over the decades the Skrulls have become too reliant on shapeshifting. Often, this power is used against them, including one extremely embarrassing defeat at the hands of Mr Fantastic.
When the Skrulls first appeared in Fantastic Four #2 (1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, when the Fantastic Four discovered a group of Skrull agents. After tricking the nearby fleet into leaving, Mr Fantastic forced the remaining Skrulls to transform into cows, where he hypnotized them into thinking they were actually cows. They eventually ended up in a slaughterhouse where they were turned into hamburgers (according to the origin of the Skrull Kill Krew).
12 THEY'RE TERRIBLE AT EXECUTING A PLAN
In what should have been the Skrulls' shining moment, Secret Invasion (2008) by Brian Bendis ended up being just another reminder as to how ineffectual they truly are. After the destruction of their homeworld by Galactus, the Skrulls began utilizing a technique that allowed their agents to take the form of any human, superhuman or mutant and be completely undetectable.
The aliens apparently spent years infiltrating all of Earth's major groups, and weren't discovered until the agent posing as Elektra was killed in New Avengers #31 (2007) by Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu. After that, however, the Skrulls still waited to reveal themselves, giving the heroes time to prepare and ultimately defeating almost their entire army in a single day. They had a solid plan, but the skrulls just didn't have the ability to make it succeed.
11 THEY GOT OUTSMARTED BY DEADPOOL
One of the reasons the Skrulls were defeated in Secret Invasion was because Deadpool was able to go undercover in the alien fleet and steal information that allowed Norman Osborn to build a weapon capable of killing the Skrull Queen Veranke. It all started in Deadpool #1 (2008) by Daniel Way and Paco Medina, when Deadpool pretended to betray the Earth and surrendered himself to the invading aliens.
He allowed the Skrulls to create super skrulls using his DNA, knowing that his healing ability only works because he has cancer. When the skrulls co-opt Deadpool's powers, they end up killing the test subjects, giving Deadpool time to complete his actual mission. Granted, Deadpool messed up and Norman Osborn ended up with the information instead of Nick Fury, but that just makes it even more embarrassing that he was able to outsmart the skrulls in the first place.
10 THEY GOT TRICKED BY PICTURES
Getting outsmarted by Deadpool isn't even their most embarrassing defeat. That came all the way back in their first appearance in Fantastic Four #2 (1962), where Reed Richards tricked them into abandoning Earth by using nothing more than scary pictures. After discovering the Skrull threat, the Fantastic Four first defeat the undercover agents on Earth. Then, they travel to the mother-ship, pretending to be the undercover Skrull agents (pretending that they were still disguised as the humans, despite being on the mother-ship).
They showed the Skrull leader pictures from science fiction comics, pretending that the monsters that appeared within were real threats on Earth. It's not a great plan, but the Skrulls fell for it. They have a space ship, it would have been easy to fly down to the planet and verify the information, but instead they just trusted some scary pictures.
9 THEY DRESS LIKE SPACE JESTERS
It's pretty well established that many alien species all wear the same clothes. Granted, it's not the most important aspect of an entire race, but if everybody comes together and generally agrees to wear a dumb looking outfit, that means something. The Skrulls, for example, have all decided to wear an outfit that makes them look like outer space jesters, and it's hard to respect them based on this look.
Granted, because they have green skin, going with purple body suits makes sense. The Skrulls are at least good at matching colors. The headpieces, however, are just silly, and that's one part of every uniform that's consistent. There are several designs for the neck piece, upper chest piece, but almost all Skrulls wear that terrible headpiece. They must waste so much time making sure that the pointed part in the middle is always perfectly centered.
The Phalanx aren't technically an alien species of their own, instead being the result of when organic beings are infected with the Technarchy's techno-organic transmode virus. Considered an abomination by their parent race, the Phalanx are programmed to build a structure known as a Babel Spire, which sends a signal to the Technarchy, who destroy the Phalanx nest (along with all life).
Despite their doomed lifecycle, the Phalanx are very destructive. Like the Skrulls, they can assume the form of other beings or objects. Unlike the Skrulls, they can absorb a being into their collective, turning them into a Phalanx agent. They've also successfully defeated the X-Men (during 1994's The Phalanx Covenant) and the Kree Empire (in 2007's Annihilation: Conquest). Also, being techno-organic matter, they're almost impossible to physically harm.
7 THE BROOD
Just like the Skrulls, the Brood can change their form. Unlike the Skrulls, the Brood can't shapeshift into any form they wish. Instead, they do something much more sinister. The sleazoids (as the X-Men refer to them) first appeared in The Uncanny X-men 155 (1983) by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. The insect like creatures reproduce by laying embryos in unsuspecting hosts, who may not even be aware that they have a Brood inside of them.
As the embryo grows, it eventually takes over the host's body, typically wiping out the original personality. Like the Phalanx, Brood agents can live among the humans without detection. With the Skrulls, the original person is often left alive, which means that they can be saved. With the Brood, there's no saving the original host, unless they themselves were naturally able to preserve their personality.
6 THE BADOON
One day, the greatest military threat in the galaxy will be the Badoon. At least, that's according to the time traveling Major Victory. The reptilian species made their first appearance in Silver Surfer #2 (1968) by Stan Lee and John Buscema, and since then, they've regularly threatened the Earth, facing off against the New Warriors, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
To be honest, it's the prophecy that makes this race interesting. The movies have yet to embrace many of the time traveling stories from Marvel's catalog. Introducing the Badoon as a potential future threat would put the Avengers in a tough position. Do they take them out before they build up strength, do they wait for them to actually do something wrong? These are the sorts of questions that classic comics are built from, and they should be asked in the movies as well.
5 THE BEYONDERS
The Beyonder first appeared in Marvel Comics Secret Wars #1 (1984) by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. The omnipotent being had gathered groups of Earth's heroes and villains and forced them to fight each other on a newly created planet he called Battleworld. The Beyonder's origins were unknown (or, often retconned in the comics) until recently. During Time Runs Out (2015), however, it was revealed that this Beyonder was just a child unit, and that there were many more Beyonders out there.
In fact, they Beyonders were responsible for the collapse of the multiverse. That's obviously scarier than anything the Skrulls are even capable of doing. All it took was one (apparently young) Beyonder to abduct the vast majority of Earth's heroes. If the movies need to raise the stakes after Thanos, the Beyonders are really the only way to go.
4 THE BUILDERS
As one of the universe's oldest races (if not, in fact, the oldest), the Builders are also one of the most powerful. They first appeared in Avengers #2 (2013) by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena. They had sent a Gardener named Ed Nihilo to Mars, along with his sister Abyss and the robotic Aleph. They terraformed the red planet, which wasn't a that big deal, but then launched evolution bombs at Earth, which caused a great deal of havoc.
While their workers caused enough problems, the Builders themselves ultimately started an intergalactic war during the events of Infinity (2013), which was only stopped by a coalition of almost every major empire in the galaxy, led by the Avengers. Unlike the Skrulls, the Builders represent a threat that's larger than just protecting a single planet from a single invading species.
3 SPACE PHANTOMS
When the Hulk first joined the Avengers, his other teammates didn't know if they could trust him and his infamous temper. It didn't take long for things to come to a boiling point in Avengers (1963) #2 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, when a Space Phantom tricked the Avengers into fighting the Hulk.
Like the Skrulls, Space Phantoms have the ability to replace people. When they take someone's place, however, that person is sent to limbo, unaware of what's happening. This means that Space Phantoms can make it look like somebody is going on a rampage, and then return the original person who has no knowledge and would be fully unprepared to defend themselves. This little detail makes them that much more interesting than the Skrulls, whose victims are usually aware they've been kidnapped.
2 THE ANNIHILATION WAVE
While this entry is technically not about aliens, and instead an invading force from the Negative Zone, it's easy to imagine that the residents of Earth wouldn't notice a difference; besides, they are "alien" (meaning not native) to the 616 Marvel universe! The Annihilation Wave, led by Annihilus, made its first appearance in Annihilation: Prologue (2006) by Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins, and started a path of destruction that nearly wiped out the entire galaxy.
The wave made some powerful allies, and was eventually able to take down Galactus and use him as a power source. What makes the wave terrifying is how it seems to swarm over its enemies as if they were being consumed by a giant insect. Visually, the wave is a horrifying image that would be both compelling and horrifying, making for a great movie addition.
1 THE SHI'AR
One of the Earth's greatest intergalactic allies is also one of their greatest threats. The Shi'ar first appeared in X-Men #97 (1976) by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. When the X-Men helped Lilandra take control of the Empire away from the corrupt D'Ken, Earth earned a powerful ally. The Shi'ar, however, have a strong code of honor, and have always held Earth heroes responsible for their actions.
They once put Reed Richards on trial for not allowing Galactus to die, and recently attempted to hold a time traveling Jean Grey responsible for the actions of her future self (or the Phoenix entity). Unlike almost all of the other species on this list, the Shi'ar are mostly good natured (aside from the occasional period of open hostility and/or uncompromising gods). This makes fighting them that much more difficult, because they're ultimately an honorable foe... unfortunately, they're also locked up over at Fox in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, so this will of course never happen. Stranger things have happened, though!
The Skrulls probably won't be giving Carol Danvers too much trouble in Captain Marvel, due in theaters March 8, 2019. Who would YOU rather see in their place?