The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Secret Invasion's Villain Is More Complicated Than You Think

Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays Gravik, says the Skrull revolutionary has his own secret.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Gravik, in human form, sits at a desk, light streaming through the window behind him.
Photo: Gareth Gatrell/Marvel Studios

On its face, the motivation of the invading Skrulls seems quite clear in Secret Invasion: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) promised to find the aliens a new planet to live on. After 30 years, Fury had still failed to keep his promise. As a result, some of the Skrulls decided to take the Earth for themselves—and only themselves. But Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays the main antagonist Gravik, says his villain has a much different agenda in mind.

In fact, Ben-Adir would go so far as to say Gravik’s stated reasons of claiming the planet he feels the Skrulls are owed is “a crock of shit.” In an interview with THR, the actor says he approached the alien not as a revolutionary, but as a cult leader:

“[T]he more I looked at cult leaders who are able to manipulate whole communities of people to do these horrific acts for justified reasons, it felt appropriate as the villain in this piece to explore the antisocial personality disorder side of things. The righteousness of what he’s doing is this complete crock of shit, and it’s just how he uses and manipulates people.”


To be certain, Gravik and his “cult,” as it were, are terrorists who are trying to throw the world into enough chaos that humanity will start a nuclear war, annihilating themselves so the Skrulls can enjoy Earth for themselves (Skrulls are immune to radiation, apparently). While the aliens’ discontent that Fury has basically ignored them for 30 years isn’t a justification for bombing a crowded Russian market square, it is understandable... but according to Ben-Adir, Gravik’s goal is something else entirely:

“What he says and what he does are two different things. He’s saying it’s for his people, but what seems more important to him is that Nick Fury experiences it as it’s happening. So we’ll see more of this later on with other characters, where you go, ‘This guy is doing and saying very different things, so there has to be something else going on underneath.’ Otherwise, it’s just dull. We’ve seen it, and it won’t be felt. So the audience will feel that there’s a tension or something that is not being said, and that there’s something you don’t know about the way that he feels.”


I have no doubt that Secret Invasion will reveal Gravik’s secret eventually, but I also hope the show explains why Fury never got around to keeping his promise to the Skrulls. If the answer is just “he was busy,” I’m going to be immensely disappointed.

For more details on the scenes that convinced Ben-Adir to accept the role, Gravik’s penchant for sugar, and more, go check out the full interview. Meanwhile, new episodes of Secret Invasion arrive on Wednesdays.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.