If you’ve been under a rock (or even an asteroid), you might have missed the brouhaha surrounding Captain Marvel (opens in new tab) and its surprising cast list and space-faring synopsis. It’s all well and good to see Guardians of the Galaxy (opens in new tab) villains Ronan the Accuser and Korath back, but what’s all this about a gigantic galactic war? Why’s it set in the ‘90s? Why has no one on Earth mentioned Captain Marvel before? The answers are all (kinda) there – and give us a huge hint about everything post-Avengers: Infinity War. (opens in new tab)
So, the synopsis. There’s so much to parse out, and some of it is reliant on previous comic-book knowledge, so let’s make like Korg and rock and roll:
The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s probably best to go through this line-by-line. Think of me as a terrible English teacher over-labouring each word of Shakespeare and, you, the (hopefully) not-too-jaded student.
She becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes: Uhh. What? She’s incredibly powerful now (hint hint: Avengers 4 is around the corner, folks), but Carol Danvers isn’t quite Captain Marvel yet. So, it’s going to be an origin story of sorts, but one that places Ms. Danvers at the forefront of the MCU when she enters the fold in the ‘present day’. I reckon she’s going to replace an outgoing Avenger from Infinity War. You don’t chuck around labels like that for no good reason.
Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races: Which two alien races? The Skrulls have already been confirmed, so they’re a lock. The inclusion and return of Kree fanatic Ronan could only mean one thing: a Skrull-Kree war. Long story short: in the comic storyline of the same name, plenty of blood is shed, and it leads into the Secret Invasion, an arc that focuses on beloved Avengers and other superheroes having been replaced by the shapeshifting Skrulls. That would also explain why Earth (in the MCU-verse) doesn’t have a clue about this war.
My theory? One or two of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes may have already been replaced (hence the retroactive inclusion of the race) and their deaths in Infinity War will mean nothing. Yay?
Set in the 1990s: Captain Marvel could easily have been plopped slap-bang in the middle of the current MCU timeline. But it hasn’t been. Why? It’s simple: it gives Marvel some leeway to really build up Captain Marvel as a Thanos-defeating threat, as well as give the Skrulls time to infiltrate the superhero ranks. Avengers 4: Secret Invasion is coming, baby.
A previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: You don’t go and sound all grandiose like this without it meaning something. We could take the unseen bit literally because no-one (on Earth, at least) will have had any idea of what takes place in the movie, including Nick Fury and Agent Coulson.
But also, consider this: if it’s marked as a period of the history of the MCU then it’s going to be big, and will sow the seeds for years to come. It’s looking like Secret Invasion, but one thing is for certain, Captain Marvel is going to be the bow that ties the present (and past, heh) of the MCU together.
For another look at the future of the MCU, here's how Avengers 4 might just start it all over again. (opens in new tab)