Back to IndieWire

‘Captain Marvel’: Everything You Need to Know About Brie Larson’s Superhero Movie So Far

Before "Captain Marvel" hits theaters in March 2019, meet Carol Danvers and discover her connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For the past decade, Marvel has successfully launched franchises for Captain America and Iron Man while turning smaller characters like Ant-Man and Falcon into fan favorites. But one glaring omission from Marvel’s on-screen dominance has been the lack of a female-led superhero movie.

Finally, in 2016, at San Diego Comic-Con day, Marvel surprised fans by announcing that Carol Danvers, a.k.a Captain Marvel, would be headed to the big screen. It would be Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, and Academy Award winner Brie Larson would be stepping into the role.

Technically, Captain Marvel isn’t the first female superhero in the series. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” star Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne shares the screen and film’s title with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, but she’s technically the first female Marvel character to have her own film. Likewise, earlier this year, Marvel announced that Black Widow would finally receive her own spin-off movie, although Johansson’s involvement has not yet been confirmed.

As it stands, however, “Captain Marvel” is Marvel’s first female superhero to get her own solo film, which hits theaters in 2019. It’s still unclear if Captain Marvel make a surprise appearance in “Avengers: Infinity War,” which opens a month ahead of “Captain Marvel,” but the introduction of Carol Danvers to the MCU is highly anticipated.

With “Captain Marvel” hitting theaters in March 2019, here’s everything you need to know about Carol Danvers and her big screen debut.

Who Is Carol Danvers?

Carol Danvers made her comics debut in the ’60s, and the character has gone through several changes over the years. In her original backstory, Danvers is as a U.S. Air Force officer on a restricted military base. Carol meets Dr. Walter Lawson, a Kree who has assumed a human form. The Kree, first introduced in 2014’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” are a technologically advanced and militaristic alien species, and Lawson is known as Captain Marvel (or Mar-Vell).

When a Kree device explodes on the base, Carol is caught in the explosion. Mar-Vell is able to save her life, but the accident fuses her human DNA with Kree DNA, turning her into a hybrid, and Captain Marvel is born. During the ’70s, Captain Marvel became Ms. Marvel, in a nod to the era’s feminist movement, while in the 1980s, during an adventure in space with the X-Men, Carol is experimented on by aliens and changed into Binary. Danvers also picked up another alias, Warbird, during her run with the Avengers in the 1990s.

According to Entertainment Weekly, “Captain Marvel” won’t exactly be an origin story, as the film will pick up after Carol has received her powers. Carol will already have left Earth behind to join an elite Kree military team called Starforce, led by Jude Law’s yet-to-be-revealed character. However, Carol soon finds herself back on Earth.

Larson described Danvers as someone who “can’t help but be herself. She can be aggressive, and she can have a temper, and she can be a little invasive and in your face.”

The ’90s Are Back

“Captain Marvel” serves as a prequel of sorts for the MCU, much like “Captain America: The First Avengers” when it was released in 2011. It has been confirmed that “Captain Marvel” will take place in the mid-’90s, which is more than just an excuse for Carol Danvers to wear a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt. The time period means two big things — first, Captain America is still on ice, and hasn’t been even discovered yet. Second, Tony Stark hasn’t even built his famous Iron Man suit. The birth of The Avengers as we now know it is still a long way off.

Still, S.H.I.E.L.D is around, and the film will introduce audiences to a much younger version of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who isn’t heading up the agency just yet but instead is confined to desk work. Fury is also missing one famous accessory, his eye patch. Both of Fury’s eyes are intact in the film’s first look photos, and it’s not yet clear if Fury will lose his eye in “Captain Marvel.” In the comics, Fury’s left eye is injured in a grenade blast during World War II, and he wears the patch to prevent depth distortion.

With Fury and Danvers set to make a name for themselves in “Captain Marvel,” the film seems poised to fill in the blanks on what happened between Captain America going into the ice and the formation of The Avengers years later. And this knowledge could prove to be a key in defeating Thanos later on in “Avengers 4.” At the end of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Nick Fury sends out a distress call before disappearing in the wake of that infamous Thanos snap. The logo that pops up on screen, as diehard fans knew, belonged to Captain Marvel.

Kree Vs. Skrulls

“Captain Marvel” hinges on the Kree-Skrull War, a massive story arc from the “Avengers” comics in the ’70s, which detail an intergalactic war between the two alien races. The comic introduced two key elements to the Marvel universe, the Inhumans, a group of superhumans initially created by the Kree to help destroy the Skrulls, as well as the romance between Scarlet Witch and Vision.

The Kree were initially featured in 2014’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” where it is revealed that the alien race has signed a peace treaty with the Nova Corps of Xandar, ending a centuries-long war. The treaty prompts Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), a high-ranking Kree official, to embark on a campaign of genocide against Xandarians.

The film’s antagonists are the Skrulls, shapeshifting aliens who stage an invasion on Earth and are led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), who is currently working undercover as Nick Fury’s boss at S.H.I.E.L.D. As Talos, Mendelsohn will keep his Australian accent, while his S.H.I.E.L.D. cover speaks in an American accent.

Mendelsohn explained the process in detail to EW. “There’s a certain kind of earthy correctness to an Australian delivery,” Mendelsohn said. “So I think that’s probably what tipped it in favor of me. And then my other guy sounds like Don Rumsfeld. Don Rumsfeld’s a good kind of read for my other guy.”

Some Familiar Faces Will Be Popping Up

With “Captain Marvel” tackling the Kree-Skrull War, and Danvers herself possessing hybrid human-Kree DNA, it was inevitable that some of the MCU’s familiar Kree faces would pop back up. Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser is set to return, although the film will provide a snapshot of the character during his Starforce years, long before his more murderous turn in “Guardians.”

Djimon Hounsou is also set to return as Korath the Pursuer, a Kree mercenary and member of Starforce, the elite military team that also counts Danvers among its members. In “Guardians,” Korath is a subordinate of Ronan the Accuser, and he is sent to the planet Morag to retrieve an orb that Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) has stolen. It is later revealed that the orb contains one of the Infinity Stones. Korath is later killed by Drax the Destroyer during a battle with the Guardians.

Also returning is fan favorite Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has been a mainstay of the MCU films and TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” In an interview with EW, Gregg said that “Captain Marvel” will feature a younger Coulson, one audiences have never seen before.  “It’s the earliest we will have seen him [in the MCU],” Gregg said. “So when he says, ‘Mr. Stark, this isn’t my first rodeo’ in ‘Iron Man,’ this is maybe the rodeo he’s talking about.” 

But “Captain Marvel” isn’t just introducing younger version of familiar characters. Some key new players are also in the mix.

Meet the New Faces in “Captain Marvel”

Although his role has not been confirmed, Jude Law is expected to play Walter Lawson, Danvers’ mentor in Starforce, who trains her on how to use her new powers. In the comics, Lawson is a Kree who has taken on a human form, and is also known as Mar-Vell. While he declined to name the character, Law spoke about it in detail to EW, saying he is “driven by a belief in the divine leadership of the Kree people. So he’s almost a devout warrior — unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational.”

One of Danvers’ oldest friends is fellow Air Force pilot, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), who goes by the call sign “Photon.” Rambeau is a single mother to daughter Monica. If the name Monica Rambeau doesn’t ring a bell, it should. In the comics, it was Rambeau who originally took up the mantle of Captain Marvel, while Danvers was known as Ms. Marvel. Rambeau became the leader of the Avengers for a time, and later went by the names Photon (a nod to her mother) and Pulsar before settling on Spectrum.

“Crazy Rich Asians” star Gemma Chan also joins the cast as Minn-Erva, a Kree sniper and member of Starforce. In the comics, Minn-Erva is also known as Doctor Minerva, a Kree geneticist who is an enemy of Mar-Vell. Chan’s Minn-Erva is a hot shot at Starforce before Danvers shows up, which suggests the two might be anything but friends at first.

More Captain Marvel Going Forward?

It seems likely that audiences are going to see much more of Carol Danvers in the future, even beyond an appearance in “Avengers 4.” As Ben Mendelsohn pointed out in his EW interview, Danvers is a compelling hero and a formidable opponent for the Skrulls, but things might not tip in her favor in the film — at least, not this time.

“I mean, you want her to win,” Mendelsohn said. “Now, unfortunately, not every fairytale turns out that well. Sometimes you meet a Skrull. But Carol’s resourceful. She’s going to have a few films to get over this and maybe come back from this. We’ll see.”

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox