Ahead of the release of the sixth and final episode of Secret Invasion on Disney Plus, Marvel is bringing the first three episodes of the series to Hulu. The episodes, which star Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury as he attempts to fend off an invasion of Earth by a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls, is now available to stream on Disney’s other US streaming service until August 17th. Any viewers wanting to watch the final three episodes will have to watch them on Disney Plus, where the season’s final episode will be released on July 26th.
Deadline notes that this isn’t the first time an original Disney Plus series has streamed on Hulu. American Born Chinese and Star Wars spinoff Andor both saw select episodes appear for a limited time. The consensus seems to be that releasing shows across multiple streaming platforms is a promotional tactic to attract more viewers, and comes amidst declining box office takings for Disney’s recent Marvel films Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
Cross-promoting Secret Invasion on Hulu (which is majority owned by Disney alongside Comcast’s NBCUniversal) is also interesting in the context of Disney’s plans to bring the streaming services closer together later this year. In a May earnings report, CEO Bob Iger announced plans for a “one-app experience” with Hulu’s library being offered within Disney Plus. Although Hulu will continue to be offered as a standalone option, the move looks set to blur the line between the streaming services.
Meanwhile, Iger has also been upfront about his desire for the company to spend less on producing Marvel (and Star Wars) content, after Iger said an influx of Marvel TV shows “diluted focus and attention” from its films. “You pull back not just to focus, but it was also as part of our cost containment initiative,” Iger said in an interview with CNBC. “Spending less on what we make, and making less.” But regardless of Iger’s ambitions, now that both the WGA writers union and SAG-AFTRA actors union are on strike, Disney will have little choice but to produce less until a deal is reached.
Secret Invasion will be available on Hulu until August 17th, around a month before this year’s Emmy Awards are due to take place on September 18th (though it may be postponed due to the strikes). The Marvel series released too late to be nominated for this year’s awards, despite critics pointing out that it appears to have been produced with awards in mind. In its review, MSNBC noted that Secret Invasion’s cast is packed with award-winners (Samuel L. Jackson, Olivia Colman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Julia-Louis Dreyfuss) but called the show a “crude attempt at Emmy bait” that is “far too focused on ticking award voters’ boxes and not focused enough on the actual story.”
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.