The Skrulls are one of the deadliest alien races in the Marvel Universe. Their shapeshifting powers allow them to remain undetected, and sow discord. During their infamous Secret Invasion, the Skrulls were led by a ruler known as Queen Veranke. This conniving leader almost succeeded in defeating the Avengers, and bringing Earth to its knees.
With Disney+'s Secret Invasion on its way, we're not the only ones suspecting Veranke might play a surprise role in the Samuel L. Jackson-led series. But what if we were to tell you, like in comics, this Skrull queen from comics already mighty have already debuted in the MCU years ago right under your nose?
Who is Veranke, how did she tear the Marvel Universe apart, and what role does she play in the MCU? Let’s dive in.
Who is Veranke in the comics?
Veranke is the Queen of the Skrulls, a group of shapeshifting aliens in the Marvel Universe. Veranke’s tragic backstory was first explored in New Avengers #40 (2008). Years ago Veranke was the princess of the Skrull’s Tyeranx Seven Province. Veranke was a religious zealot, who feared an ancient prophecy that foretold the destruction of Tarnax IV, the Skrull throneworld. Veranke took these warnings to the Skrull emperor, telling the ruler that he hadn’t done enough to prepare their race for the prophecy.
The Skrull emperor was enraged that Veranke had questioned his leadership, and accused her of insanity. He sent her to a prison world, quashing a rebellion that had been brewing among her followers. Years later, the planet devourer known as Galactus destroyed Tarnax IV, which left the Skrull Empire in chaos. The Skrulls freed Veranke from her imprisonment, and proclaimed her Queen of the Skrull Empire. Turning to the religious prophecies once more, Veranke set her sights on Earth, which was foretold to be the next Skrull homeworld.
Veranke’s Secret Invasion
Veranke knew that taking over Earth would not be easy, since the planet was defended by various superhero teams. She decided that the best approach would be to weaken the heroes by sowing distrust from within their ranks. Using their shapeshifting skills, the Skrulls began a yearslong campaign where they kidnapped some of Earth’s greatest heroes and took their place. The Skrulls had also increased their espionage skills, thanks to a ritual that mixed magic with science.
This ritual shielded them from scientific devices, people with enhanced senses, and psychic individuals such as Charles Xavier. The Skrulls had also advanced their science to the point where they were able to duplicate the powers of the heroes they were impersonating. Veranke surprised her people by volunteering to be on the frontlines of their secret invasion. Rather than delegate from her throne, Veranke went to Earth and impersonated Jessica Drew, the superheroine known as Spider-Woman. While on Earth, Veranke had all of Spider-Woman’s powers, including her ability to fly and sting enemies with venom.
New Avengers #1 (2004) was technically Veranke’s first appearance, but at the time readers thought they were looking at Spider-Woman. The twist that Jessica Drew had been replaced by Veranke would not be revealed until New Avengers #40 (2008). During her time as Spider-Woman Veranke joined the New Avengers, infiltrated Hydra as a double agent, and worked to destabilize the superhero community. All of this came to a head in the 2008 mini-series Secret Invasion.
The heroes learned that they had been infiltrated by Skrulls, causing paranoia to run rampant. Veranke took advantage of the confusion by revealing herself to Tony Stark, and telling him that he was a Skrull sleeper agent who had been brainwashed into believing he was the true Iron Man. Veranke’s psychological warfare proved effective, but in the end the heroes put aside their mistrust and came together to repel the Skrulls.
Veranke seemingly met her end in Secret Invasion #8 (2008) when Norman Osborn shot her in the head. Although this ended her secret invasion, the damage she had done to the superhero community was insurmountable. The President of the United States disbanded the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. after growing tired of the superhero infighting, and annoyed with their inability to detect the Skrulls. Norman Osborn was put in charge of a new organization known as H.A.M.M.E.R. It would take years to undo the damage Veranke’s secret invasion had inflicted on Earth’s heroes.
Long live the queen
As longtime Marvel fans know, death isn’t always the end. Spider-Woman #18 (2022) revealed that Veranke’s fatal headshot wasn’t quite as fatal as it initially seemed. Norman Osborn secretly imprisoned Veranke in the supervillain asylum Ravencroft, feeling that she might be useful someday. Veranke spent years In her cell stewing over her failure. Her resentment of Jessica Drew grew, with Veranke feeling that her secret invasion would’ve succeeded if she had chosen another hero.
During the storyline Devil’s Reign the mob boss known as the Kingpin becomes mayor of New York City. Seeking to eliminate Spider-Woman, Kingpin frees Veranke from Ravencroft. Veranke then kidnaps Spider-Woman’s son Gerry Drew, enraging the heroine. The two battle it out in Spider-Woman #19 (2022), with Jessica ultimately coming out victorious. As of now Veranke is sitting in a cell once again, biding her time and waiting for the perfect moment to enact her revenge.
What is Veranke’s role in the MCU?
As of this writing Veranke has not been formally introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there are theories we’ve already seen her. The 2019 film Captain Marvel introduced the Skrulls to the MCU. One of the Skrulls was an unnamed young female played by Harriet and Auden L. Ophuls. The young Skrull was the daughter of Talos and Soren, two prominent Skrulls in the film.
Talos and Soren were two Skrull refugees who traveled to Earth after their homeworld was ravaged by the Kree Empire. Soren, her daughter, and a group of other Skrull refugees hid out on a satellite orbiting Earth while Talos searched for a new home. Captain Marvel eventually found the Skrulls, helped them defeat the Kree, and took them into deep space to search for a new home.
Many viewers have speculated that the unnamed daughter of Talos and Soren might be Veranke. Some have speculated this due to the screentime she was given in the film, her relationship to other important characters, and the fact that she was unnamed. The end credits simply identify her as Talos’ daughter. Since a majority of Captain Marvel takes place in 1995, this means that the unnamed Skrull would be an adult if she was ever brought back in another MCU production.
Marvel Studios will adapt Secret Invasion with a live-action Disney+ show, set to be released sometime in early 2023. Since Veranke played a central role in the original comic book storyline, there has been speculation that she might make her MCU debut in the Disney+ series. Perhaps she’ll be Talos’ daughter all grown up?
Casting announcements have been made for various characters, but not Veranke. However, there have been rumors that Emilia Clarke will be playing Veranke. Clarke has signed on to play secret agent Abigail Brand, but in a series focusing on a Skrull invasion there is always more going on than meets the eye. Perhaps Veranke will be in this series, and perhaps she’ll be masquerading as someone we don’t suspect.
Learn more about Disney+'s Secret Invasion.