It seems that Marvel’s penance for gender-swapping is about to claim their first victim from across the pond, as a new rumor has hinted that the studio’s upcoming Secret Invasion series will introduce a female incarnation of British hero Union Jack to their shared cinematic universe.
Coming by way of The Illuminerdi – whose accurate scoops include breaking first word of The Hood’s appearance in Ironheart and Kilmonger’s transformation into War Machine in What If…? – this latest rumor claims that Union Jack will be brought to life on the small screen by The Iron Lady star Olivia Colman.
“According to our sources Olivia Colman will be playing a character known as Falsworth, aka Union Jack, in Secret Invasion,” reported the entertainment news outlet’s features manager & producer Caitlin Tyrrell. “Although we aren’t sure which version of Union Jack she will be playing or what her character’s backstory could be, this is an interesting casting development.”
Colman’s addition to the cast of Marvel’s Skrull-centric Disney Plus series was first announced in April 2021, though no details regarding her role were provided at the time.
However, during the studio’s preview panel at the recent San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Marvel confirmed that Colman would portray, as per a recap of the proceedings provided by Discussing Film, “an old ally of Fury’s who helps them go undercover when things go wrong.”
Given these hints as to the name and relation to Fury of Colman’s character, it seems that if she does appear as the costumed hero, she’ll be portraying either the first man to wear the flag, Lord Montgomery Falsworth, or his son and successor, Brain.
First introduced in 1975’s The Invaders Vol. 1 #7, the Lord Montomery first donned the identity of Union Jack during World War I, joining his fellow countrymen on the frontline and serving “to strike terror in Bosche [a British slang term for Germans] hearts by appearing the very personification of the British flag and nation.”
Though he would retire following the end of the war, he would once again return to the role during World War II, first stepping back into action to defend Captain America and The Invaders from Baron Blood before eventually joining the team himself.
However, this membership would sadly be short lived, as just a few days later, Lord Montogomery’s time as an Invader would come to an end when he sacrificed the use of his legs in order to put a decisive end to his arch-nemesis.
Meanwhile, Brian began his journey to Union Jack during World War II – and not entirely of his own volition.
Traveling to Germany just prior to their invasion of Poland in order to offer Adolf Hitler his public support of Neville Chamberlin’s policy of appeasement towards the dictator’s ambitions – much to his father’s chagrin.
However, when he attempted to return home, Brian was detained by Nazi authorities, the Third Reich fearing the potential propaganda loss they would suffer should their predicted damage to Europe sway his anti-war stance and prompt him to speak out against them.
While in captivity, Brian was locked up alongside Eric Schmitt, a scientist who – as an ever-growing list of individuals apparently did despite how rare the publisher keeps pretending it is – had created his own variant of the Captain America-producing Super-Soldier formula.
Consuming his new friend’s chemical concoction in order to keep it out of the hands of the Nazis, Brian soon finds himself bestowed with an enhanced physical form similar to that of America’s star-spangled Avenger – a form which he promptly uses to escape from captivity.
Now understanding the true evil of the Third Reich, Brian takes up the costumed identity of Destroyer and begins operating behind in Germany territory as an anti-Nazi fighter, all the while vowing to stop their machinations no matter the cost.
Surviving his time in enemy territory and emerging victorious with the rest of the Allied Forces, Brian would eventually receive his father’s blessing to take up the mantle of Union Jack, a gift he would honor up until his death in a car accident just a few years after the war’s end.
Notably, neither Lord Montgomery nor Brian played a role in the original Secret Invasion story, as both were dead at the time of the Skrulls’ attack.
Further, while the third Union Jack – Joseph Chapman – was active at the time of the event, he did not play a major part in the storyline, his only appearance being made as an off-hand mention when fictional Marvel UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted that “Captain Midlands and Union Jack are with ground forces mustering to secure crucial targets in London.”
It’s also possible that Colman could instead appear as a version of Lord Montgomery’s daughter and Brian’s sister, Jacqueline Falsworth, who picks up the mantle of Union Jack instead of her brother.
While Jacqueline did begin her costumed career at the same time as her brother, receiving superspeed from a combination of a bite from Baron Blood and the original Human Torch’s artificial blood, such a take on the character would prove especially baffling given that she already has a storied career as the speedster superheroine Spitfire ready to adapt.
In fact, portraying Jacqueline-as-Spitfire would even make more sense for the Secret Invasion storyline, as in the comics, she played a frontline role in protecting the British Isles from the Skrull Empire alongside Captain Britain and MI-13.
Secret Invasion is set to hit Disney Plus sometime in early 2023.