In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the villains are usually just as exciting as the heroes. Consider the popularity of Loki, Bucky’s complicated journey from villain to hero, and all the memes that have come out of Thanos’s snap. There is little we like more than a great villain. As the years have progressed, the MCU villains have gotten even more complex. With Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp, we have a sympathetic character who lives with chronic pain -- something we’ve yet to see in the MCU. Looking ahead to the next MCU movie, Captain Marvel will be the first solo female superhero film. Between her insane powers and awesome Nine Inch Nails shirt, there’s a lot to look forward to with that film, including the villains.
The Skrulls have been kicking around Marvel Comics for a while, but Captain Marvel will be focusing more on these green aliens. Captain Marvel has battled her fair share of aliens while being Earth’s Avenger in space. From space pirates to Thanos himself, Captain Marvel has proven herself capable of taking on powerful villains. Depending on the comics you read, it may well be that you haven’t read much about the Skrulls. What’s great about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that you don’t have to know every comic book detail, but it is fun to have some context. In case you want to know more about the Skrulls, we got the list for you! Here at CBR, we have the 15 crucial things MCU fans need to know about the Skrulls.
In 1962, Marvel Comics introduced us to the Skrulls in Fantastic Four #2 “Skrulls from Outer Space!” The issue begins with the Fantastic Four acting strangely, and it’s because they’re not themselves -- they’re Skrulls!
From their first appearance, Skrulls demonstrated their ability to mimic the appearance of others. Mimicking heroes can be dangerous since depending on their actions that can heavily sway public opinion and do real damage! In the end, Reed Richards does figure out how to fight them. He even turns the remaining Skrulls into cows and then wipes their memories. A savage move from Mr. Fantastic.
Skrulls have been around in the Marvel Comics Universe for a very long time. In fact, they are considered the oldest empire in the Universe’s history. They have changed a lot over the billion years they have been around, however.
The Skrulls began as a peaceful species, but as we know now, they are a warrior race that’s bent on domination. This is how we see them in their first comics appearance in 1962. They had a fleet and were ready to do what it takes to conquer Earth. Skrulls have done this repeatedly in the universe for hundreds of thousands of years.
According to the comics, the Celestials are kind of responsible for how the Skrulls are. About a billion years ago, the Celestials performed experiments on the Skrulls, leading them to be split into three different races: the Eternals, the normals and the Deviants.
All existing Skrulls come from the Deviant line who were the ones with shapeshifting powers. Once the Celestials left, the Deviants turned on the other Skrulls, which lead to the end of the other Skrull races. True to their name, the Deviants went on to use their shape-shifting trickery to conquer other planets. Unfortunately for us, they have repeatedly targeted Earth.
Galactus is a big deal in Marvel Comics. He is the Devourer of Worlds, literally: he feeds off of the life forces of planets. In the about 50 years he’s been around, he’s remained a popular villain among comic book fans.
Like the Skrulls, Galactus also made his debut in a Fantastic Four comic. Galactus then went on to directly go up against the Skrulls. The Skrulls relocated their central government to the planet Throneworld, which Galactus then had for lunch. Upon Throneworld’s destruction, the Skrull government splintered into different factions, each one having a leader claiming to be the rightful Emperor. All because Galactus was hungry.
There is a lot of work being done for more diversity in the geek world. The CW recently cast a transgender actress to play a transgender superhero, and in general, fandoms are moving in the direction of embracing people of color and the LGBTQ community as content creators.
The Skrulls, though usually villains, have a surprisingly progressive attitude towards gender. In a time where non-binary, genderfluid and transgender people are still struggling to be respected, it’s kind of refreshing that Skrulls change back and forth between genders and not see it as a big deal. What’s a big deal to the Skrulls expanding their empire, and it doesn’t matter if they’re a female or a male at the time.
Like the colonizers of our Earth, the Skrulls have taken over quite a lot of land over the years. While they have an Emperor that reigns over the entire empire, each planet also has a governor that serves under the Emperor.
Because of the size of their empire, they can be heading multiple missions at once. While they have dominated many races in the universe, some of them have remained independent through treaties or through intense resistance to the Skrulls. The Skrulls favor war and have been in wars with the Kree as well as the Xandarians.
So out of all the planets in the universe, why would the Skrull Empire repeatedly target Earth? First, they know that Earth is protected by superheroes. At minimum, there will be the Avengers to contend with. Second, they’ve got to know that global warming has messed up our atmosphere, right? It’s not the ideal world to take over.
The “Secret Invasion” storyline revealed that Skrulls want Earth for religious purposes. Their sacred texts mention that Earth belongs to them, which explains their behavior towards our planet. We wouldn’t want to mess with Captain Marvel unless we felt we absolutely had to.
We know that Charles Xavier is a loving man who will take basically any mutant under his wing if he feels they can be led to a positive lifestyle. Charles even did this for a class of Skrull mutants called “Cadre K.”
The Skrull mutants, whose technical term is “K-class Skrull deviants,” were born with powers outside of just shape-shifting. They were persecuted by Skrulls, so Charles Xavier helped to train them in space. In the end, the Skrull mutants fled to Earth to escape the Skrulls. They just wanted to live peacefully on a ranch in South Dakota.
Hulkling, not to be confused with the Hulk, is a member of the Young Avengers. Also known as Teddy Smith, Hulkling’s parentage is impressive. His father is Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell, not Carol Danvers) and Princess Anelle of the Skrulls.
Hulkling’s powers mean he’s super strong (not a surprise, considering his name). He can also shape-shift and heal quickly. After the events of "Secret Wars", the Skrulls wanted Hulkling to be their emperor. Because Hulkling is part-Kree and part-Skrull, it could be a way to unite the warring races. However, Hulkling chooses to stay on Earth to protect it.
The Skrulls’ powers are generally limited to shape-shifting. However, there are exceptions. Thanks to their superior technology (they’ve been around forever, so they’ve had a lot of time to work on their tech), they have the ability to genetically augment some of their kind, forming the Super Skrull and Warskrulls.
The first Super Skrull was created in 1963, debuting shortly after the first Skrull appearance. Kl’rt had all the abilities of Fantastic Four in addition to his shapeshifting abilities. He’s a recurring character in Marvel Comics who after the“Infinity” events became Emperor of the Skrulls. Warskrulls, like the Super Skrull, were also a product of the Skrulls’ advanced technology.
In the “Secret Invasion” storyline, it took a number of heroes to retaliate against the Skrulls. One of these heroes was a rather unlikely one: Deadpool. Deadpool is an unlikely hero and as a mercenary, he’s had to separate his emotions from his jobs. However, he steps up to the plate in the face of the Skrull invasion with prodding from Nick Fury.
Nicky Fury sends Deadpool to infiltrate the Skrull ship. When they imitate his super healing powers, it turns against them. Deadpool is able to upload data from the ship about the Queen and send it to Fury, which was then stolen by Norman Osborn. Norman Osborn consequently kills the Queen.
Warskrulls are the product of the Skrull’s genetic experimentation. As we know, the Super Skrull is also a product of genetic experiments, leading him to have all the powers of the Fantastic Four plus shape-shifting abilities. Marvel Comics introduced the Warskrulls in the '90s whose powers went beyond the typical Skrull.
Warskrulls can copy the appearance of someone like a regular Skrull, but they can also imitate powers. This became significant in the “Secret Invasion” event because it would be even harder to tell who was the real superhero and who was a Skrull in disguise.
The Kree-Skrull War began because the Skrull decided to pit the two races of Hala against each other: the Kree and the Cotati. At this point, the Kree and Cotati were still more primitive cultures. The Skrull began to favor the Cotati, which the Kree didn’t like, so the Kree attacked the Skrull and stole their technology, causing a galactic war.
The second Kree-Skrull War happened because the Celestials instigated the Skrulls into attacking the Kree again. The Super Skrull came back for this war, and eventually, the two races agreed to a peace treaty. However, this peace did not last long, and there’s still bad blood between the Kree and the Skrull, which we will likely see in Captain Marvel.
After “Secret Invasion” didn’t work out in their favor, the Skrulls needed to find another way to reclaim power in the universe. These plans were thwarted, however, by the events of "Infinity".
The Builders set their eyes on several of the Skrulls’ planets. And if we thought the Avengers were difficult for the Skrulls to beat, the Builders pose an even greater great! Silver Surfer did his best to help out the Skrulls, but many of them ended up perishing. The toll in "Infinity" was already high, obviously. However, it is interesting that the oldest race in the universe, one with highly advanced technology at that, also needed saving in the wake of the "Infinity" events.
This is where we have the most tantalizing hints at what’s to come in the Captain Marvel movie. With Skrulls involved in the film, it would make sense for there to be a “Secret Invasion” type of story down the line in the MCU. There could be hints made in Captain Marvel that will lead to this kind of story.
If the Skrulls impersonate heroes, or even powerful people, this could lead to a lot of distrust and unrest, which are the perfect ingredients to overthrow someone’s government. At minimum, this would directly affect America, but at maximum -- Earth as a whole. Captain Marvel will need help to deal with a threat like the Skrulls, which is why we were so excited to see Lashana Lynch playing Maria Rambeau in this film.