'It's A Departure From The Usual Marvel Style': Secret Invasion Director Ali Salem

The new MCU show stars Samuel L Jackson, Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke
'It's A Departure From The Usual Marvel Style': Secret Invasion Director Ali Salem

Fresh off the success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, the MCU’s latest streaming offering is Secret Invasion – slated to hit DisneyPlus Hotstar on Wednesday. Loosely based on the premise from Brian Michael Bendis's Marvel comic of the same name, Secret Invasion follows the story of the Skrulls, a race of shape-shifting aliens introduced in Captain Marvel, as they secretly take over global institutions to execute their plan of taking over the Earth.

As the conspiracy comes to light, the man who originally assembled the Avengers, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), returns to Earth to deal with the threat. From the first two episodes, it is evident that Fury is a different, perhaps more jaded man, and the show itself is tonally different from the MCU we know so far.

Secret Invasion director Ali Salem spoke about what drew him to the story and how it fits into - or deviates from - MCU canon. 

What drew you to Secret Invasion as storyline and as a show within the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  

I was really intrigued by the premise of this show that Kyle Bradstreet wrote and created. Secret Invasion is very different from what Marvel shows are typically. It's a story about trust, paranoia and suspicion – and it’s a story about an older man who has returned to earth after the ‘Blip’, trying to get his step back.

Nobody flies in this series – it focuses instead on a man trying to regain his footing on solid Earth. It was this departure from the usual Marvel style that intrigued me as a director. 

'It's A Departure From The Usual Marvel Style': Secret Invasion Director Ali Salem
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I wanted to pick on that aspect. Secret Invasion is very different from the MCU we know. How easy or tough was it to do your own thing, given the larger MCU canon?

Well, I wouldn’t classify it as my own thing – this is a tremendous team effort from Marvel. And I was never fighting Marvel along the way, we were all connected and making the same show – even though it’s a departure from what Marvel usually does. Again, I always go back to: The story needs to be told the way it needs to be told. This is a story Nick Fury brings us into, and we meet a lot of great characters through him. However, it is essentially Nick Fury’s journey, and you have to tell that story.

If you start introducing flying people, you’re then telling a different story, and making a different show. It’s always easy for me to say: Let’s go back to the core story. That's not a struggle when you’re telling a good one like Secret Invasion.

Given the story, tone, and Samuel L Jackson’s approach to Fury in the two episodes we’ve seen so far – it almost seems like this may be his MCU Swan Song, his Logan if you will. Would that be a correct assumption?

Well, the only person who can answer that question, and who knows what’s going to happen in the future in the MCU is Kevin Fiege. It’s in his head, and I’m not in his head. I’m sure he would welcome the question, which is a very good question, but I’m not qualified it.

Samuel L Jackson in Secret Invasion.
Samuel L Jackson in Secret Invasion.

Do you have a message for the Marvel fans in India who are looking forward to Secret Invasion?

Of course. I want them to enjoy the show. It’s a unique part of the MCU – and I think it is going to be very surprising and thrilling as well.

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