(Los Angeles) A ​​conspiracy hatched by aliens, Oscar-winning actors and almost no superheroes in sight: Marvel takes a new turn with Secret Invasion, a spy thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke.

The series, which premieres June 21 on the Disney platform, marks Samuel L. Jackson’s 14th appearance in a Marvel film or series. But this is the first time that Nick Fury, to whom he lends his features, is the undisputed star.

This mysterious character, sometimes the boss of the mighty Avengers, first appeared on screen in 2008 in Iron Man – the feature film launched the Marvel franchise, which has since become a true Hollywood titan.

Despite this prestigious debut, the new series “ranks first, when it comes to projects that I have participated in in the Marvel universe in cinema”, estimated Samuel L. Jackson Wednesday during a press conference.

“It’s the story of people doing normal things, without all these superheroes coming to save them,” the actor said.

In Secret Invasion, American spymaster Nick Fury confronts reptilian humanoids in many forms named Skrulls – who have already appeared in other Marvel films – who live among us and seek to start a war between Moscow and Washington.

As if the task weren’t complicated enough, he also has to deal with British spy Sonya Falsworth, played by Olivia Colman, who seems to relish playing a character with questionable morals, especially in a particularly torture scene. difficult.

“Sonya works for MI6 (British Foreign Intelligence Service, editor’s note). She likes to wear red, is kind of funny and maybe not that nice sometimes,” the actress joked, careful not to reveal plot details.

The presence of Olivia Colman, Oscar winner for The Favorite (2018), and Samuel L. Jackson, who received an honorary Oscar last year, constitutes a feat of distribution for Marvel.

They’re joined by Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, who plays a rebellious Skrull, as well as franchise regulars such as Don Cheadle, Martin Freeman and Ben Mendelsohn.

But Secret Invasion comes at a time of uncertainty for Marvel.

Since the huge success of Avengers: Endgame, which briefly became the most profitable film in history in 2019, the Disney parent company has flooded dark rooms and television screens with some 18 Marvel-stamped films or series.

Not everything went as planned.

Recent works, such as The Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder or Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, have been poorly received by critics.

The franchise introduced a new villain, Kang, played by Jonathan Majors. Except that the actor, accused by a woman of harassment and assault, was arrested and charged in March.

On Tuesday, Disney announced that the release of several Marvel movies, including Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, would be pushed back a year.

Series production has also slowed down: Secret Invasion is the first new release in nearly a year.

Despite everything, its director Ali Selim promised fans a breath of fresh air.

He said he was inspired by spy thrillers like The Secret Conversation, by Francis Ford Coppola, or The Third Man, written by Graham Greene.

Influences far removed from the world of superheroes, as Ali Selim noted: “It’s very different from people flying through the air.”