Warning: SPOILERS For Captain Marvel:
One of the prominent locations in Captain Marvel is Project Pegasus, a secret facility fans have seen before but may not immediately recognize: Pegasus appeared in The Avengers and was where Loki attacked S.H.I.E.L.D. and stole the Tesseract, which kicked off the events of Joss Whedon's film.
Project Pegasus - also known in Marvel Comics as Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. (Potential Energy Group/Alternate Sources/United States) - has actually been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man 2. It was first referenced as one of Howard Stark's project files retrieved by his son Tony. In an extended scene, the billionaire playboy asked JARVIS to call up records on "Projects P.E.G.A.S.U.S., Exodus, and Goliath" (the latter played a large role in Ant-Man and the Wasp). As a prequel set in the 1990s, it makes sense that Marvel decided to base much of Captain Marvel around Pegasus and show the facility in its early years, since it had already been established in the MCU.
Project Pegasus made its on-screen debut in The Avengers and it's one of many direct MCU connections that ties Captain Marvel to the Avengers. The first Avengers film is set almost two decades after Captain Marvel and, by then, S.H.I.E.L.D. was using Project Pegasus, which is a sprawling secret facility in the Mojave Desert, to house the Tesseract, aka the Space Stone, and research it as a renewable energy source. After the events of Thor, Fury recruited Dr. Erik Selvig to tap into the Tesseract's power, but the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was unaware that Selvig was under the mental thrall of Loki.
Captain Marvel reveals that before S.H.I.E.L.D. ran the facility, Pegasus was originally a joint NASA/USAF operation headed by Dr. Wendy Lawson, who was secretly the rogue Kree scientist Mar-Vell. Lawson was also experimenting on the Tesseract to develop a Lightspeed Engine, which she believed would be a weapon that "would end wars", and Lawson specifically intended to use it to take the refugee Skrulls to another galaxy to save them from genocide at the hands of the Kree. Fittingly named for winged horse of Greek myth, Pegasus also housed experimental aircraft, which is why hotshot pilots Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau opted to fly for Lawson.
In 1989, six years before the events of Captain Marvel, Carol piloted Lawson's ship the Asis, which had an engine powered by the Tesseract, but they were attacked and shot down by Yon-Rogg and Minn-Erva of the Kree Starforce. After Mar-Vell died, Danvers shot the Asis' engine and the resulting explosion of Tesseract energy imbued Carol with superpowers. After the Kree kidnapped Carol, the truth about the incident was redacted and buried - as far as S.H.I.E.L.D. knew, the Tesseract had disappeared from Project Pegasus. The agency was unaware Mar-Vell had hidden it aboard her orbital laboratory until Carol Danvers and Nick Fury penetrated Pegasus, found the redacted files, and later located Mar-Vell's lab and retrieved the Tesseract in Captain Marvel.
In the years after Lawson's death, the Pegasus facility was still being maintained by the government and its secrets were kept from public knowledge. After the events of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury eventually became Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and, once the agency had the Tesseract back (thanks to Goose the cat coughing the Space Stone up in the end-credits scene), Pegasus fell under the jurisdiction of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the World Security Council to continue experiments on the Tesseract.
Project Pegasus' story seems to end at the start of The Avengers when the Asgardian God of Mischief attacked Pegasus to steal the Tesseract as phase one of the plan Thanos charged him with: to lead a Chitauri invasion of Earth. Loki used the Space Stone to open an escape portal and the resulting cascade of power destroyed the Project Pegasus facility, turning it into a crater. It remains to be seen if Project Pegasus will ever be rebuilt and seen again in the MCU but it was fun to see Pegasus in its heyday in Captain Marvel.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019