Secret Invasion Director Ali Selim on Adapting the Marvel Comic Arc

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By Black Widow

Ali Selim Discusses the Unique Approach to Secret Invasion and the Influence of Classic Thrillers

In an exclusive interview, director Ali Selim sheds light on his approach to Marvel’s highly anticipated Disney+ miniseries, Secret Invasion. Selim acknowledges that the show diverges from the beloved comic book arc, instead focusing on showcasing the exceptional characters and actors that have captured audiences’ attention in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The series stemmed from the electric on-screen chemistry between Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos in Captain Marvel, compelling Marvel to explore their dynamic further.

Secret Invasion adapting Marvel Comic Arc

A Departure from the Comics

Selim candidly admits that Secret Invasion has little to do with its comic book counterpart, as he was instructed not to reference the source material. The series stands as a self-contained story, prioritizing logical and thrilling storytelling within its six episodes. Selim’s role was to push boundaries and unleash the creative potential, while Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige ensured coherence with the overarching MCU narrative.

Thriller and Espionage Influences

Selim’s fondness for the political thriller and espionage genres heavily influenced Secret Invasion. He believes that the greatest drama lies in the intricacies of deception and mistrust between characters. Drawing inspiration from classics like “The Third Man” and Francis Coppola’s “The Conversation,” Selim explores themes of trust and the evolving nature of Nick Fury’s character. Fury’s journey from a political thriller detective to a lone wolf echoes the motifs of classic American Westerns like “The Searchers” and “Unforgiven.”

Exploring the Aftermath of the Blip

As a central theme, the series delves into the aftermath of the Blip, the period following Thanos’ snap. Selim and Sam Jackson found this aspect particularly influential, as it shaped their characters’ experiences more profoundly than the science fiction elements. While previous Marvel shows largely ignored the Blip, Selim emphasizes the importance of understanding it to comprehend the narrative context.

Directing Secret Invasion

Selim’s previous experience in directing espionage thrillers prepared him well for Secret Invasion. The key aspects remain consistent: preparation, focus, and working with talented actors. However, the challenge lies in striking a balance between crafting a self-contained story and leveraging the power of the MCU. This duality adds complexity and depth to the storytelling process, making it both challenging and rewarding.

Exploring Themes of Otherness

Selim Ali‘s personal background, being half Egyptian, informs his exploration of themes surrounding identity and “otherness” in Secret Invasion. Rather than solely focusing on Black masculinity, the series delves into the concept of “other” through the Skrulls’ presence and Fury’s own internal struggle with his identity within a culture. It offers a universal exploration of otherness that resonates beyond specific demographics.

Did Ali Selim consult with other MCU writers and directors? 

Selim’s primary focus was crafting a compelling story within Secret Invasion’s six episodes. While he shepherded the Marvel brand, Kevin Feige played the role of ensuring continuity and cohesion within the MCU.

How did Selim handle the themes of Black masculinity in Nick Fury's story? 

Selim approached the narrative from the lens of identity and “otherness” rather than specifically focusing on Black masculinity. He acknowledges that Sam Jackson brings a unique perspective to the character, while Selim himself contributed a sense of otherness based on his own background.

Secret Invasion premieres on Disney+ on June 21, 2023, offering a fresh take on the beloved comic book arc while delving into themes of trust, and otherness.