After much hype and controversy, Captain Marvel has officially arrived in theaters and the results are in. It’s a hit. In less than a week, it has already surpassed $500 million at the box office. All the badmouthing ahead of time and boycotting by a certain group on the internet has done nothing to slow it down. The character was already set to be a key player for the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward, but this success almost guarantees that she will be one of the leaders. The film’s plot takes some unexpected turns that will have a major impact on the future of the MCU. These are the five ways it makes the biggest difference.
Spoilers lie ahead. Consider that your warning.
Some of the concern from MCU fans going into this film involved the setting. After the shocking conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War and the dramatic post-credits scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp, fans are clamoring for the conclusion. Before we get there, we got Captian Marvel, which was set in 1995. That’s about two decades before those other films. Some viewed it as a step back. However, fans seemed to really enjoy the 90s nostalgia everything was drenched in. Plus, it was great to see younger versions of characters like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). This movie showed the world that prequel style installments of the MCU could work. The Disney+ streaming service is set to get a series based around Loki that is reportedly set in the past. We could see a lot more of this.
4. Women Heroes
To be fair, the MCU isn’t lacking strong women. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Shuri (Letitia Wright) are just a few of them. Despite all those names, only the Wasp previously had her name included in the title of a film. Captain Marvel changes that. There’s already talk of a Black Widow movie, Scarlet Witch is set for a Disney+ series, and the ladies from Black Panther are sure to play a big role in his sequels. There’s potential for characters like Sue Storm, Jean Grey, and Rogue with the upcoming Fox merger. Captain Marvel also featured a kid named Monica Rambeau (Akira Akbar). The scene stealer goes on to become Photon in the comics and with about 20 years passing between then and the current era of the MCU, she could resurface soon.
3. Secret Invasion
Now we’re getting into the specifics. For those unaware, Secret Invasion is a wildly popular Marvel comic book storyline that ran in 2008. Captain Marvel introduces the Skrulls, an alien race of shape-shifters. As soon as fans spotted them, theories arose that it would set the storyline in motion. The comic had quite the hook. For decades, Earth had been invaded by Skrulls who quietly replaced a large portion of the population, including several superheroes. It’s a huge concept that could work as a successor to the battle against Thanos. However, the movie gives us an unexpected twist with the reveal that the Skrulls aren’t the bad guys. Talos, played wonderfully by Ben Mendelsohn, is a sympathetic character and you feel for their race. Unless something drastic has changed in two decades, we can’t see the Skrulls as villains. Captain Marvel changes the possibility of doing the secret invasion.
2. Avengers: Endgame
Things looked incredibly bleak at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Half the universe was wiped out by Thanos (Josh Brolin) after he collected the Infinity Stones. The post-credits scene showed Nick Fury use an old looking pager to send a message to Captain Marvel. Here, we got a post-credits scene where the surviving Avengers were trying to figure out where that message was going. While they attempt this, Carol Danvers appears looking for Fury. That officially lets us know that she will play a major role in Avengers: Endgame. Judging by what we’ve seen from trailers, it seems like this will come early in the movie, ensuring she doesn’t just show up at the end to save the day. Mega-producer Kevin Feige has already claimed that Danvers is the most powerful hero introduced. She could be the one to deal the final blow to Thanos.
1. The Future
Since the MCU officially began back in 2008, we’ve had a core group of Avengers. They were led by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). After over a decade, their contracts are running out and fans have long worried about the future. Who can lead the Avengers and feel like big stars the way those three did? Judging by the box office success and fan enjoyment, it seems like the new leaders will be Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. There’s a very good chance Danvers takes on the role of captain. These are characters with very different personalities, making for what is sure to be a very different future for the MCU.