There’s a moment that every child who aspires to movie stardom dreams about. They practise it in front of the mirror: graciously thanking their parents, their first drama teacher, their favourite hamster; smiling; waving; trying valiantly to cry. No, it’s not an Oscar’s acceptance speech – at least, not anymore; it’s the moment that super-producer Kevin Feige offers you his hand across a conference table and tells you you’ve landed a Marvel movie. Yesterday came the first reports that Olivia Colman is in talks to slip into full-body lycra and join the MCU, via the studio’s next small-screen series Secret Invasion. The news follows a recent clutch of arrivals of actresses of a similar age and calibre to Colman to other Marvel projects, including Kathryn Hahn’s show-stealing turn in WandaVision, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ surprise appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Such casting choices may once have sounded insane. Why would the woman who just two years ago won an Academy Award for her grief-stricken, crumbling performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite, and who is up for another one this weekend for The Father, choose to submerge her pristine brand as the reigning monarch of British acting, both on-screen and off-, in a barrel of brightly-coloured, pop-sountracked, quippy-scripted comic bookery? Secret Invasion sounds even more deranged than the average Marvel project: it will likely focus on the race of green, reptilian aliens called Skrulls (Ben Mendelsohn will reprise his role as Skrull commander Talos from Captain Marvel), as they invade earth by shapeshifting to imitate superheroes. Colman as an alien reptile? It’s hard to think of a more unlikely piece of casting since Judi Dench dressed up in a catsuit. But over the last decade, a foundational piece of Marvel’s strategy has been signing-on not just fresh-faced stars like Chris Evans and Tom Holland, but some of the world’s most serious performers: inde darlings (Mark Ruffalo, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson), BBC-drama-grown Brits (Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch) and awards-laden powerhouses (Annette Bening, Scarlett Johansson, and even Anthony Hopkins, Colman’s co-star in The Father, who is also up for an Oscar) have all rocked up in the MCU. Much as the Harry Potter franchise once was, the films have become a who’s who of Oscar after-party invite lists.