Arriving in theaters March 8 is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and featuring an all-star team of female screenwriters, Marvel heroine Carol Danvers’ (that’s Captain Marvel to you) origin story is being brought to the big screen for the first time — and we are so excited that it’s finally happening.
Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel will follow Carol Danvers as she goes from badass fighter pilot to alien superhero. Saved by the Kree after a fatal plane crash, Carol is given superpowers like super strength and super speed by the alien race, which is currently locked in a deadly war with another alien race, the Skrulls. Carol fights for the Kree and her mission takes her back to Earth, where she meets young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury. Nick helps Carol not only discover her human past but also works alongside her to help defeat the Skrulls once and for all.
But before Captain Marvel hits theaters, wouldn’t you like to know about all of the times the MCU has hinted at her existence? Her existence hasn’t entirely been a secret to the savvy Marvel fans who have spotted the little hints and nods to Carol Danvers sprinkled throughout the MCU. Read on to find out how.
1. She May Have Been Teased In ‘Doctor Strange’
It’s been turned into fan theory fodder but one low-key moment in Doctor Strange had fans wondering if Carol Danvers’ existence was being hinted at. Early in the film, when Stephen Strange is driving to an event, we see he’s listening to new cases to tackle. One such case that’s offered to Strange is a 22-year-old woman with an electronic chip in her head to help with the symptoms of schizophrenia. It’s not exactly a blatant reference to Captain Marvel, since its canon that her powers were given to her by Mar-Vell thanks to an accidental DNA fusion but fans have speculated that this could be the source of Captain Marvel’s new origin story in Captain Marvel. Since it’s established via the trailers that Captain Marvel has no memory of her life before her accident and part of her mission in the film is to find out about her human origins, and all. Plus, in the comics, she had blank spots in her memory and experiences fugue states where she has no memory of what she’s done. It could be reasoned that schizophrenia could be a plausible cover story used as a failsafe to give plausible deniability to her superpowers if anything should happen to her. Now, who would do this kind of a thing to Captain Marvel and why it would be done to her is an entirely different story — but one that still could happen.
2. Her Arrival Was Hinted At In The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Post-Credits
Probably the most obvious hint at Captain Marvel’s existence happened at the end of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, in the post-credits scene, when Nick Fury whips out a pager-like device to alert Captain Marvel following Thanos’ deadly snap. As Nick disappears, we see the pager light up with Captain Marvel’s star symbol that can be seen on her suit in current posters. It makes sense that Captain Marvel might be carrying around a souped-up pager (a relic of her ‘90s heyday, as we’ll see in Captain Marvel) and, if warned about a possible cataclysmic event, Nick would know to contact her.
3. Agent Coulson May Have Referenced Her In ‘Iron Man’
Back in the early days of the MCU, viewers didn’t know that they had to pay close attention to a Marvel film lest a hint, visual or verbal, get thrown their way. But that’s exactly what happened in 2008’s Iron Man, when Agent Coulson is speaking with Tony Stark and mentions that this “isn’t his first rodeo” in regard to Tony becoming Iron Man and what that means on a larger scale regarding the existence of superheroes. The implication here, of course, is that Coulson has dealt with superheroes previous to Tony (makes sense because he works for S.H.I.E.L.D.) but that implication means his first rodeo could have happened, say, in the ‘90s when he met Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel. And, judging from the trailers, that’s exactly what his first rodeo will be.
4. She Has Connections To ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’
Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch but go with us here: Captain Marvel’s existence has been tangentially hinted at thanks to the acknowledgment of the existence of the Kree in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As you know, in Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers is rescued by the Kree, a highly-intelligent alien race that has been engaged in one of the longest conflicts in the MCU with the Skrulls. It’s the Kree who give Carol her superpowers and train her to be the hero that she is. Even though Agents never hints as Carol’s involvement with the Kree on the show, the presence of the alien race is a connection that ties the Marvel TV universe with the MCU and thus, tangentially hints at Carol’s existence. Like we said, a bit of a stretch here, but arguably worth an honorable mention as it sets up the context for Carol’s backstory and how she ties into the MCU on a greater scale.
5. Did ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Drop A ‘Captain Marvel’ Hint?
An interesting Reddit theory zeroes in on a casual line from Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming and posits that its a reference to when, specifically, Captain Marvel takes place. While it’s been known for some time that Carol Danvers’ origin story takes place in the ‘90s, we haven’t heard an exact year yet and that’s important because it helps fans nail down a specific timeline that helps track continuity for other MCU films. The line Tony says in Homecoming (“Oh, you mean like those UFOs over Phoenix?”) is said to Peter Parker as he is trying to play off his homemade YouTube videos of himself swinging through New York City as Spider-Man as fakes. The Reddit theory picks up on the Phoenix part of Tony’s line, theorizing that this is a reference to the Phoenix Lights event that happened in March 1997 (no, seriously, it really happened) and that, in the MCU, this event could be turned into a battle in the Kree-Skrull war that will figure into Captain Marvel, thus dating the film as happening in 1997. It’s not the most far-fetched of hints or ideas, to be fair, but maybe consider this one with a grain of salt.
Captain Marvel is in theaters March 8. Get your tickets here.
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