Captain Marvel ending explained - what happens and what it means for Avengers: Endgame

Captain Marvel is out and taking the box office by storm, so I think it's safe to say we've all seen the Captain Marvel ending by this point, right? If not, you're in the wrong place because we're about to talk about what happens - with full spoilers - and what it means for Avengers: Endgame and the future of the MCU. 

Given Captain Marvel's close connection to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, we knew it would be a must-watch movie for Marvel fans, but now we've actually seen the Captain Marvel ending (including the Captain Marvel post-credits scenes), we can be a bit more specific about what's next for the MCU. Did Captain Marvel defeat the Kree and come home? Did Maria and Monica survive the Snap? Does Fury still have Goose?! We have so many questions after watching the Captain Marvel ending and we're going to be going through them and try and answer them right here.

Read on for everything that happens during the Captain Marvel ending and what it might be for Avengers: Endgame...

1. How did the Supreme Intelligence become leader of the Kree?

It’s not every day that you discover an AI intelligence is the leader of a huge alien civilization committed to ruling the galaxy, but that’s exactly what the Supreme Intelligence in Captain Marvel is. In the latest MCU movie, we discover that the technologically advanced Kree are led by an AI called the Supreme Intelligence who takes the form of the person you respect the most. From what little we know of the Supreme Intelligence from Carol’s time in the Kree capital Hala, not many come face-to-face with the Supreme Intelligence, but everyone trusts it implicitly, which begs the question… why?

How did the Kree come to be ruled by the Supreme Intelligence and why is a supposedly advanced intelligence determined to subjugate and rule over the Skrulls and everyone else in its galaxy? Did something in the Kree’s history convince them that no Kree was fit to rule over their world and instead built an AI leader? If so, who built the Supreme Intelligence and where are they now? As with almost everything to do with superhero movies, we can look to the comics for answers, although there’s no guarantee than the MCU will follow the same storylines.

In the comics, the Supreme Intelligence was created from the brains of the greatest Kree minds removed after death (yuck) and eventually developed a consciousness of its own. The Kree created it to help them make a Cosmic Cube similar to one the Skrulls had that would transform any wish into reality, but the Supreme Intelligence refused knowing how dangerous it could be. The Kree kept the Supreme Intelligence around for its wisdom and its influence grew until it eventually replaced the Kree government as ruler. Although it’s been disposed at various times, most Kree are fanatically devoted to the Supreme Intelligence and worship it as an organised religion. 

2. How did the Kree-Skrull war start?

As predicated, the Kree-Skrull war played a large role in Captain Marvel and from the sounds of things, the two alien races have been at each other’s throats for a long time. While the Kree definitely came off as the bad guys as the subjugators of the Skrulls in the Captain Marvel ending, what started the conflict? We don’t get much information in the movie, but Talos makes it sounds like the Kree are just determined to rule over the galaxy and when the Skrulls resisted, they massacred them and turned the rest into refugees. 

In the first major Kree-Skrull war in the comics, the Skrulls are referred to as the Kree’s “ancient enemy” so it’s hard to say what originally started the conflict. It could be that the Kree and the Skrulls, living in such close proximity to each other, have just always been in conflict with each other much like the English and the French were up until the 19th century (don’t believe me? Check out how many Anglo-French wars there have been). As far as Captain Marvel is concerned though, it’s definitely become a one-sided war with the Kree massacring any Skrull they find. Whether we find out why in further MCU movies, remains to be seen...

3. How did Mar-vell/Lawson get hold of the Tesseract?

Oh the Tesseract! That cheeky blue box just keeps turning up, doesn’t it? It’s pretty cool to see the Infinity Stone appear in Captain Marvel, especially as there’s a bit of a gap in its history having been rescued from the sea by Howard Stark after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and then reappearing years later in The Avengers. We presumed that Stark handed the Tesseract over to S.H.I.E.L.D. after he found it, but as revealed in Captain Marvel, that’s not the case as Doctor Wendy Lawson/Mar-vell has it during the ‘90s.

How did she get her hands on it? I’ve no idea and the comics aren’t much help in this area as the Marvel Infinity Stones’ comic book history is waaaaay more complicated and different from in the MCU. When Fury and co come face-to-face with the Infinity Stone in Captain Marvel they give no indication that they’ve seen it before or know what it is… although, as low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, no-one would likely tell them if the organisation used to have an all-powerful energy box that mysteriously went missing a while ago. Given how powerful and valuable the Space Stone is, I’m guessing there’s a story here, but one we’ll have to wait to find out. 

4. What does Ronan want with Captain Marvel?

Guardians of the Galaxy’s big bad Ronan the Accuser turns up in the Captain Marvel ending to purge the Earth, which is ‘infected’ with Skrulls. He doesn’t get a chance though as Captain Marvel flies up into space to kick his ass and send him running home scared. Before he goes, we heard him tell his lieutenant: “We’ll be back for the weapon.” And when his lieutenant replies: “The core? [the Tesseract]” He says: “The woman.”

This is an interesting point to pick up on as the last thing most people want to do after being defeated is come back for more. What does Ronan want with Captain Marvel? Is it just that he knows that the power of the Tesseract remains inside of her and the Kree won’t stop until they get their hands on it? If so, this could make for an interesting storyline to be picked up in any Captain Marvel sequels (more on that later) and it would give us more chances to explore Ronan’s - who didn’t play a huge role in Captain Marvel - backstory. 

5. Where are Captain Marvel and the Skrulls heading?

This is the biggie, isn’t it? The Captain Marvel ending sees our titular hero and the Skrulls leave Earth to find a new home for the alien refugees. As Captain Marvel and the spaceship (yes, she’s flying alongside it) blasts off into the unknown, you can’t help but wonder where they’re heading and how long they’ll be gone. Surely, somewhere far away to be out of the reach of the Kree, which throws into question whether we’ll ever see the Skrulls in the MCU again, despite those Avengers: Endgame theories

As far as I know, there’s no comic book storyline about refugee Skrulls saved by Captain Marvel (although, I’m no expert), which is one of the reasons why the twist is one of the best bits of the movie, but it means we can’t really look to the comics for answers. We know we’ll see Captain Marvel again, but that begs another question...

6. Has Captain Marvel never been back to Earth?

This leads us onto our next question that deals with one of the movie’s post-credits scenes. The first post-credits scene sees Captain Marvel arrival on Earth after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, but it’s not clear whether this is the first time she’s returned to Earth since the Captain Marvel ending, or if she’s been back numerous times over the years. We know she definitely wasn’t on Earth when the Snap happened and it’s a safe bet to say she was far away when Fury paged her as the post-credits scene also reveals that it took her a while to respond, but as to whether this is the first time she’s been back to her homeworld, we just don’t know. 

While I’d say it’s doubtful that Captain Marvel has never returned to Earth in all this time (she has family there after all!), she’s either kept a very low profile or has mostly stayed off world in-between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame because no-one’s heard of her. When Fury was building the Avengers, he didn’t think to include Carol, even when things were really bad he hasn’t called on her, so I think it’s probable that she hasn’t spend much time on Earth since discovering her human heritage, which is a shame.

7. Did Captain Marvel defeat the Kree?

When Carol defeats Yon-Rogg during the Captain Marvel ending she sends him back to Hala with a message for the Supreme Intelligence saying: “I’m coming to end it. The war, the lies... all of it.” It’s a spine-tingling moment which shows just how committed Captain Marvel is to ending the Kree-Skrull conflict and protecting the weak from their oppressors. But again, given that we know the next time we’ll see Captain Marvel will be years later in Avengers: Endgame, you have to wonder, was she successful? Did Captain Marvel put a stop to the Kree’s oppression or is it an ongoing battle she’s still trying to win?

We can actually look to one of the other MCU movies for hints about this as the Kree play a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy. In that movie, which is set long after the events of Captain Marvel, Ronan the Accuser is an outcast, Kree extremist rather than the Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire. The fact that he still wants to rule the galaxy, but no longer holds such a powerful position in Kree civilization might indicate that the Kree have given up their desire to colonize the galaxy. There’s even a scene where the Nova Prime of Xandar speaks with a Kree official about Ronan’s continued attacks and although he doesn’t seem to care too much he does at least make it clear that Ronan doesn’t have the support of the Kree Empire. Could this be because Carol did exactly what she said she was going to in the Captain Marvel ending and put a stop to the Kree’s desire for domination?

9. Did Maria and Monica survive the Snap?

One of the best things about Captain Marvel is that there's no love interest shoe-horned into the story, which gets its emotional connection through Carol's relationship with her BFF Maria Rambeau and her daughter Monica (AKA, Lieutenant Trouble). So, naturally, one of the most important questions we have post-Captain Marvel ending is: Did Maria and Monica survive the Snap? 

With 50% of all life in the universe snapped out of existence thanks to Thanos during the Avengers: Infinity War ending, there's a good chance that either Maria, Monica, or both didn't survive! I'm guessing one of the first things Captain Marvel will do when she returns to Earth in Avengers: Endgame is look them up so here's hoping they've not been turned to dust. If they have... well, Thanos better watch out. 

10. Does Fury still have Goose?

Depending on how old Goose is in Captain Marvel, we might see him again in the MCU. While we presume that Fury finds out that the cat/Flerken no longer holds the Tesseract in its stomach (having coughed it up like a fur ball during the post-credits scene), it's obvious that Fury and Goose have a connection so we're betting the future S.H.E.I.L.D. director takes Goose home with him after the Captain Marvel ending. When you think about, it would actually come in handy having the deadly alien around...

11. Will we get Captain Marvel 2?

As soon as we get a new Marvel movie, one of the things we always want to know is, when will we get another one? While the Captain Marvel ending leads nicely into Avengers: Endgame, we might also be getting a Captain Marvel 2 at some point. Just probably not for a while. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said that the studio isn’t announcing anymore Phase 4 plans until Endgame is done, but, when asked about a potential Captain Marvel sequel, he also told Screen Rant: “The making of a first film is in some ways a brainstorm on the future and on what can be. So, what it will be again is not clear. But what it could be is pretty amazing.” 

While this is far from a confirmation, it certainly seems to suggest that if Captain Marvel 2 was to go ahead, there’s already a pretty speculator idea in place. As with most of its movies though, Marvel will wait to see how Captain Marvel performs at the box office (it’s currently tracking to do $125 million-$145 million at the North American box office opening weekend, according to THR) before decided on any further films. The problem with any Captain Marvel sequels is that the more Marvel makes the harder it becomes to justify no-one in the MCU having heard of Captain Marvel. To get around this, Captain Marvel 2 could be set away from Earth, which would make sense given the Captain Marvel ending, or it would have to be set post-Endgame.

Where would you rank Captain Marvel on a list of the best Marvel movies ever? Check out our ranked list of every MCU film so far and let us know in the comments. 

Lauren O'Callaghan

Lauren O'Callaghan is the former Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar+. You'd typically find Lauren writing features and reviews about the latest and greatest in pop culture and entertainment, and assisting the teams at Total Film and SFX to bring their excellent content onto GamesRadar+. Lauren is now the digital marketing manager at the National Trust.