Secret Invasion is full of Skrulls. There are so many, in fact, that we don’t know who is human and who is not. Like Nick Fury, we truly don’t trust anyone, especially James “Rhodey” Rhodes. The pair’s tense and powerful conversation in episode two, a few story hints, and Rhodey’s general vibes had everyone like hmmmm. In episode four, we discover that Rhodey is, in fact, a Skrull, at least in this Marvel series, even though Rhodey was never a Skrull in the comics. But how long has Rhodey been a Skrull on Secret Invasion and in the MCU, and how did he get replaced? Let’s take a look at what we know so far about Rhodey and how we discover he’s a Skrull.
Rhodey’s Slip of the Tongue Pointed to Him Being a Skrull
Long before we got our Rhodey Skrull confirmation in Secret Invasion episode four, there was a lot of evidence in Rhodey and Fury’s not-so-friendly chat in episode two of Secret Invasion. Not only was the potential Skrull wildly disrespectful (even for Rhodey) when he volunteered to fire his comrade, he called Fury “Nick.” As we all know, no one calls Nick Fury by his first name except his mother. In episode three, Fury affirms this when he catches a Skrull who imitates Talos because he calls him Nick. The real Rhodey knows Nick is the incorrect address for Fury, a person he’s known for a long time… but a Skrull doesn’t know this.
Rhodey Was the Mysterious Voice on the Phone in Secret Invasion Episode Three
At the end of Secret Invasion‘s third episode, Fury’s wife (and known Skrull) Priscilla gets a mysterious phone call from someone. She tells this person that she needs to speak to Gravik, but the voice says that her only choice is to talk to him.
That person sounded a lot like Rhodey, further hinting at him being a Skrull. And, of course, we discover in episode four that it was Rhodey or at least the Skrull version of him. Secret Invasion brings Rhodey and Priscilla together, and he asks her to kill Fury. She doesn’t do this, of course, and Fury hears their plan, which leads him to Rhodey’s house for a confrontation.
Rhodey Is Indeed a Skrull… and Nick Fury Knows It
We see a Skrull hopping out of the shower. The alien being looks in the mirror, and its face transforms into James Rhodes. Yep, we were right. Rhodey is indeed a Skrull in Secret Invasion. He comes out of the bathroom and is shocked to see Fury sitting at his dining room table. (Should anyone be shocked by Fury breaking and entering at this point?) Once again, Fury asks him about getting his job back, and Skrull Rhodey isn’t trying to hear it. He even shows Fury a video of when Gravik (disguised as Fury) shoots Maria Hill and says he will use it if needed. Fury leaves without causing a ruckus. He later confirms in the hospital that he knows the truth about this James Rhodes.
How Long Has James Rhodes Been a Skrull in the MCU?
So, how long has Rhodey been a Skrull in the MCU? Once again, it’s hard to know for sure at this point. But we’d wager not long. We highly doubt Rhodey has been a Skrull since the beginning of his time in the MCU, and he probably wasn’t even one when we saw him last in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He was likely still himself and not a Skrull before the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which took place in 2024 before G’iah knew about her mom’s death. (For context, this show takes place in 2026.) So, the clearest answer at this point is that it took place during this gap, which is after the Blip.
Could Rhodey Have Been a Skrull Since Captain America: Civil War?
All of this said, we do find Rhodey in a hospital gown when he’s saved, and the last time we saw Rhodey in a hospital gown was at the end of Captain America: Civil War and he does seem to struggle to walk. Some viewers have taken this visual cue to mean that Rhodey has been an MCU Skrull since Civil War and that Rhodey was even a Skrull during Avengers: Endgame’s final battle and Tony Stark’s funeral. Perhaps Rhodey has been a skrull in the MCU for nearly a decade. We hope that’s not the case.
The Secret Invasion finale reveals that the real Rhodey was trapped with other humans in Gravik’s compound. However, we ultimately don’t get a real gauge of how long Rhodey has been a Skrull. He’s told that he’s been held there for “a long time.” But this could be months or even over a year. We also don’t know the events that led up to his capture, and we may never get all of those answers. There’s a chance that Rhodey’s Armor Wars movie will dig back into what happened to him. We will have to wait and see.
Marvel Comments on How Long Rhodey Has Been a Skrull
For now, all Marvel and Kevin Feige have to say on the subject is that viewers will eventually “understand exactly how long [Rhodey has] been a Skrull.” Feige notes, “We like the idea of fans going back and watching some of the other appearances of Rhodey and realizing that that wasn’t him.”
Meanwhile, Secret Invasion‘s director Ali Selim also chimed in on the question of how long Rhodey has been a Skrull. Selim seems to lean toward the idea Rhodey has been a Skrull since Civil War but also leaves space for ambiguity. “There are a lot of conversations with Marvel, but it all ends up in the script that Rhodey has been a Skrull, and we can only assume he’s been a Skrull since [Captain America] Civil War. And yet, I think the definitive answer is not as much fun as letting the audience go back to Rhodey scenes and unpack it and see what they think.”
Either way, the truth about Rhodey being a Skrull (and the real one being alive) in Secret Invasion is finally confirmed.
Originally published on July 5, 2023.