One of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes her movie debut Friday. Anticipation is sky-high for Captain Marvel, the origin story of Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson), an Air Force pilot who discovers the truth about her identity in the midst of a galactic war between two alien races.
Carol Danvers’ Marvel Comics history stretches back 50 years, so unraveling this iconic superhero’s complicated saga is no small task. While the trailers for the Captain Marvel movie have been thrilling, they’ve also been shrouded in mystery.
Given all the secrecy and speculation surrounding the film, here are five things you should know about Carol Danvers before you see the movie.
1. Captain Marvel is the first female-led film in the MCU.
Captain Marvel is more than just a potential blockbuster. It represents an important and historic step for Marvel Studios. While the MCU has featured many strong women, including Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the powerful female cast of Black Panther, it’s taken the studio a decade to release its first film starring a woman.
Captain Marvel is also co-directed by a woman, another first for the studio -- Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wrote and helmed the film. According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, many future films in the MCU will be directed by women, and more female-led films (including a Black Widow spin-off) are in the development pipeline.
2. Captain Marvel could be the most powerful superhero in the MCU.
Feige created significant buzz when he declared in an interview that Carol Danvers would be “by far the strongest character we’ve ever had.” The Marvel pres described her powers as “off the charts.” He’s not exaggerating.
Not only is Captain Marvel a skilled pilot and fighter, her powers include superhuman strength, agility, stamina, and reflexes, thanks to her Kree-modified DNA. According to Marvel.com, she can breathe in outer space, fly at high speed “throughout the cosmos,” absorb different forms of energy, and generate “concussive energy blasts from her hands.”
In the comic books, Carol transforms into a super-powered alter ego known as Binary and harnesses the power of a white hole, allowing her to “generate and control” radiation or gravity.
These immense, intimidating powers should come in handy when Carol is called upon to help the Avengers repair and/or reverse the devastating damage caused by Thanos at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, which we’ll discuss further below.
3. Carol Danvers’ comic book history.
Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, Carol Danvers made her comic book debut in March 1968 in Marvel Super-Heroes No. 13, where she appeared as an Air Force security chief.
Captain America gained popularity in 2012 when Kelly Sue DeConnick took over writing duties for the character in Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble!
While Carol’s history in comics is too complex – and sometimes weird – to explain in full, here’s an extremely brief summary:
Hailing from Boston, Mass., Carol went from exceptional pilot to nearly invincible superhero after an alien device mutated her DNA, essentially transforming her into a human/Kree alien hybrid. This transformation involved her Kree predecessor and friend, Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel. Carol later honored Mar-Vell by adopting his title.
More recently, Carol is commander of Alpha Flight space station – Earth’s first line of defense against extraterrestrial threats -- under the direction of the Avengers.
In another recent twist, Margaret Stohl’s The Life of Captain Marvel revised Carol’s origin story so that her powers were not, in fact, transferred to her by Mar-Vell. Instead, her mother is secretly a Kree warrior and Carol’s latent, genetic powers emerge after her encounter with the Kree device.
Throughout her comic book career, Carole has forged connections to many well-known Marvel characters, including the Avengers (she’s fought alongside them, joined them, and led them), the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Woman, Jessica Jones, the Fantastic Four, the Starjammers, the X-Men, and Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, who styles herself after her hero.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that Carol owns an adorable cat named Chewie – his name has been changed to “Goose” in the movie. In the comics, Chewie is no ordinary feline. He’s really a Flerken, a strange alien species.
4. Who are the Kree and the Skrulls?
We know the Captain Marvel movie will have something to do with an epic war (detailed in a famous Marvel comic arc) between two alien races, the Kree and the Skrulls.
We’ve seen the Kree before in the Guardians of the Galaxy films (remember Ronan the Accuser?) and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV series. We can gather from Captain Marvel trailers that Carol Danvers either descends from, or thinks she descends from, this race of “noble warrior heroes.”
The Kree are a militarily and technologically advanced alien race from the planet Hala, in the Large Megellanic Cloud. They look like humans but have blue skin, are super-strong, and their strength and speed are enhanced by Earth’s gravity.
Their old enemies, the Skrulls, are shape-shifters who often infiltrate Earth masquerading as humans. (Remember that sweet, little old lady Carol punched in the face in the film's first trailer?) They come from the planet Skrullos and originally engaged in peaceful trade and exchange of technology with other races throughout the cosmos.
According to promotional material for the movie, the Kree have formed an elite group known as Starforce to combat the Skrulls, who are infiltrating Earth for presumably nefarious purposes.
5. Captain Marvel will play a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame.
If you see Captain Marvel and can’t get enough of the MCU’s newest superhero, you won’t have to wait long for another appearance. Carol Danvers will return to theaters on April 26 in Avengers: Endgame.
Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel is a prequel of sorts to Endgame. We already know – from that tantalizing Infinity War end credits scene featuring Nick Fury’s beeper – that Carol will play a big part in the surviving Avengers’ efforts to reverse the Thanos snap that wiped out half the world’s population.
There’s tons of speculation as to how this will be accomplished and what role Captain Marvel will specifically play. Much of the theorizing has focused on the recently introduced MCU concept of the Quantum Realm and the fact that Carole is probably strong enough to travel through it.
It’s going to be fun to see how it all pans out. Be sure you stick around for the end credits of Captain Marvel for more clues about Avengers: Endgame.
Thanks Lavender! You can read more from her at No Man's Land Blog and leave a comment below
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