It's looking increasingly likely that Brie Larson's Captain Marvel could actually make her MCU debut in this year's Avengers: Infinity War. Although Marvel has denied this, there have been a number of strange clues that seem to hint at Captain Marvel's presence.
It would only be logical. The studio's strategy with these blockbuster films seems to be to tease the next movies in them, and it would fit for Marvel to use Infinity War to set up their next two movies. That was the case with Captain America: Civil War, which set up both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther, and given how well the strategy paid off, it would be no surprise to see Marvel repeat it.
But it's not just prior form that suggests this. Let's take a look through the evidence and see what can be said for certain - and how Carol Danvers could fit into Infinity War.
Evidence Captain Marvel Is Actually In Infinity War (THIS PAGE)
Captain Marvel Has Been Linked To Infinity War In The Past
The first hint that Captain Marvel could appear in Infinity War was back in May 2016. Chatting to reporters at an event at the Smithsonian Institute, the Russo brothers accidentally name-dropped the superhero. Naturally, a fan immediately asked if they'd just confirmed Captain Marvel; they cheekily replied, "Um... Captain Barvel. Totally different character."
For months that was the only indication Captain Marvel could appear in the film. That was until December 2016, when an official casting call for Infinity War name-dropped a number of the stars appearing in the film. Significantly, it included Brie Larson's name. That was again the only reference for another few months, until Joe Russo was again asked about the character in July 2017. This time around, he gave a simple, definitive answer: "She's not in Avengers 3."
At first glance, that would seem to settle the issue. The problem is, of course, that directors lie all the time to protect their films' secrets. Marvel is certainly no stranger to that approach, and they've happily played games with the fans before. With Spider-Man: Homecoming, for example, they allowed the Internet to become fired up with debate about whether or not Zendaya was playing Mary-Jane Watson (the ultimate answer was, essentially, "sort of").
Captain Marvel's Development Has Some Odd Infinity War Parallels
Captain Marvel is a military figure; her alter ego Carol Danvers is a Colonel in the US Air Force. That meant fans were particularly excited when, back in July 2017, Captain Marvel co-director Ryan Fleck revealed on social media that he'd been visiting a USAF base. Some fans speculated that he was scouting filming locations, but there's doubt about that; Captain Marvel hasn't started filming even now, and it's questionable if Fleck would be visiting potential filming sites six months before starting production. On the same day, Marvel issued another casting call for actors to play "military officers" in Infinity War. That's rather convenient timing, and fans immediately speculated that Marvel were looking into a Captain Marvel cameo of some kind - perhaps as a post-credits scene.
Months later, in September, Marvel issued another casting call for "soldiers." Although Infinity War had wrapped up production by this point, it's believed the scene was related to additional photography. It's important to note that Marvel was conducting these reshoots at the same time as they were filming Avengers 4. Larson was in Atlanta for the sequel, so could easily have also been available for the additional photography.
None of this is conclusive. But the timing of Fleck's social media post coincided rather too well with the casting call.
Captain Marvel's Rumored Filming Schedule Makes No Sense
What makes things more interesting is that there's been a lot of confusion over just when Marvel will start production on Brie Larson's solo superhero film. The latest reports from Omega Underground indicate that filming is likely to kick off in March, which leaves something of a mystery; there are also reports that Larson will be filming scenes in Atlanta this month.
No film starts production for a few days, shuts down, then restarts a few months later without good reason. It's far more likely that Larson is filming additional scenes involving the character of Captain Marvel for another project. At this stage, it's impossible to tell whether or not those scenes are related to Infinity War or Avengers 4; the Russos have been filming additional photography out of sequence. Frankly, it's possible even the actors won't know which film the different sequences are for at this stage; Marvel has been incredibly secretive when it comes to this culmination, with Tom Holland not even allowed to see the full script.
Still, that means it's distinctly possible that Captain Marvel could appear in Infinity War. There have been a number of intriguing hints throughout production, enough to suggest that Marvel are enjoying inspiring debate on this particular issue. Given Larson has been in Atlanta at times Marvel has been conducting additional photography for the film, it wouldn't be difficult to keep her involvement secret.
What Role Could Captain Marvel Play In Avengers: Infinity War?
Of course, the real question is a simple one: why would Marvel include the character in Avengers 3? Simply put, Captain Marvel will be the first female superhero to be the solo lead of her own Marvel Studios film. Marvel would want to introduce her in their biggest movie ever to whet fans' appetites for her film, as opposed to dropping an important-but-lesser-known hero at random.
That said, as exciting as Captain Marvel is, she's no Wonder Woman. DC was able to successfully introduce Gal Gadot's Amazonian Princess in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice because Wonder Woman is already the most famous female superhero of all-time. Marvel is unlikely to be able to do the same for Carol Danvers. She may be well-known to comic book fans, but Captain Marvel doesn't yet have the same kind of cultural presence for that strategy - this is about Infinity War adding value to her, rather than the other way round.
But her part needn't just be as another hero helping take down Thanos, especially considering her potential role in future movies. It's now become clear that the fourth Avengers movie is about time travel and, what's more, it seems likely that the Avengers will be jumping around by accessing the Quantum Realm. This was introduced in Ant-Man, and has already been confirmed to play an important role in both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. If this is the case, those two solo films are partly to ensure viewers become familiar enough with the concept of the Quantum Realm to accept time travel in Avengers 4.
But if that's going to be set up in Infinity War too, why not have one of the key heroes appear too? We could easily see Carol emerge from the Quantum Realm, offering the heroes a shot at rewriting history so as to defeat Thanos. Casual viewers wouldn't know who she was, but that would be precisely the point; they'd be in the same position as the Avengers themselves, utterly bewildered at this mystery woman's appearance. By that logic, you'd expect Captain Marvel's part in Infinity War to be rather small - perhaps the aforementioned post-credit sequence - but that would only line up with the low key developments in this potential appearance.
The resolute facts are these: Brie Larson has been in Atlanta at the right times to film additional photography for Avengers 3. Casting calls and posts to social media have teased scenes that involve her character. And, from a narrative point of view, it would make perfect sense for Larson to appear in the film. It's too soon to say for certain, but right now the evidence certainly suggests Captain Marvel could well make her MCU debut in Infinity War.