The first trailer for Captain Marvel was viewed 109 million times in its first 24 hours, which means that millions of fans are thinking about the MCU’s newest hero and her time in the outer reaches of space.
There’s a lot more to Captain Marvel than just Brie Larson’s heroine Carol Danvers. The film will introduce a whole set of new concepts and characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From alien races to new superheroes, Captain Marvel promises to redefine the future of the MCU — here’s some of what you can expect to see.
First up we have the Skrulls. This race of alien shape-shifters was created for comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in 1962. The Skrulls are brutal warmongers who have long coveted Earth. They’re masters of subterfuge, and their favorite method of conquest is to infiltrate a planet’s defenses and bring it down from within. The Skrulls are famously associated with the 2008 Secret Invasion event, which saw the aliens using those tactics to bring down both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. A number of scenes from the Captain Marvel trailer are lifted straight from Secret Invasion, so it’s safe to say the aliens will pose a threat in the movie.
Technically we’ve already met Kree renegades in the MCU, but Captain Marvel promises to be the first film to really explore this warlike culture. The Kree are another of Lee/Kirby creation, and the (normally) blue-skinned Kree are one of the most fearsome races in the comics. They’re known for being inventive and ruthless in the ways of war. The Kree have conducted countless genetic experiments upon other races, hoping to create warriors to fight on the front lines. It looks as though Captain Marvel will dive deep into Kree society, and the trailer even shows glimpses of the race’s homeworld, Hala.
Carol Danvers will be introduced as a member of an elite Kree strike team known as Starforce. This is a pretty deep cut into comic book lore. The roster has been switched up a bit for the film, however. A number of minor Kree supervillains now fill out the Starforce ranks. The most notable is Doctor Minerva, a Kree geneticist who, in the comics, gained powers comparable to Carol Danvers. She experiments upon what she considers to be “lesser” races, and it’s entirely possible she’s the one who trapped Carol in a mysterious device seen in the trailer.
Jude Law’s Enigmatic Commander
Jude Law plays the commander of the Kree Starforce, though we don’t yet know his character’s name. Reports initially said Law was playing Mar-Vell, the Kree superhero who served as Carol Danvers’s inspiration in the comics. But Law has shied away from confirming details about his role. If Law isn’t Mar-Vell, then he’s most likely playing a more ruthless Kree called Yon-Rogg. Significantly, Yon-Rogg was the main villain in one comic book arc that saw Captain Marvel develop amnesia, which certainly seems to fit with the trailer.
A Different S.H.I.E.L.D.
Minor details in the trailer suggest that Captain Marvel is set sometime between 1992 and 1996, which means the film will show us a very different generation of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Howard Stark was killed in 1991, and the organization will have been shaken to the core by his assassination at the hands of the Winter Soldier. The old guard is in the process of stepping down, and the film will introduce us to a young Nick Fury, a man who’s apparently within a hair’s breadth of quitting S.H.I.E.L.D.. Presumably, Carol Danvers will inspire Fury to stick with the job, and indeed he’ll wind up taking the job as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., defending Earth against threats on a scale no other S.H.I.E.L.D. director could have conceived of.
The trailer introduced viewers to Carol’s fellow USAF pilot, Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch. It’s reasonable to assume Rambeau will be an important secondary character, helping Carol to recover her memories and learn the truth about her past. But she’s also a nod towards another character. In the comics, Maria is the mother of Monica Rambeau, the superhero named Photon. While Captain Marvel is set in the ’90s, Carol’s future lies in the present day, so presumably Monica herself could appear in a sequel.
A New Generation
Finally, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has hinted that Captain Marvel will lay the groundwork for another new hero: Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel. Khan is a relatively recent character, as she was created in 2014. Yet the teenage hero is one of Marvel’s most culturally relevant figures. Feige has teased a comic-book-accurate portrayal, envisioning Kamala as a young Muslim-American who is inspired by the heroism of Carol Danvers. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man shows some of the inspirational effect MCU heroes are having on kids who grow up in a world filled with superheroes, but Kamala Khan would push that idea into a new realm.
Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019.