Where has Captain Marvel been throughout all the Avengers movies? Carol Danvers isn't set to debut in the MCU until next March's Captain Marvel, but in a surprising twist that origin story will be set in the 1990s. This means Carol gained her phenomenal powers at least a decade before Tony Stark suited up as Iron Man. Why wasn't she part of Nick Fury's original Avengers team?
Avengers: Infinity War's post-credits scene saw Nick Fury and Maria Hill reel as people all over the world vanished - including, ultimately, themselves. Before he turned to dust, though, Fury was able to use a modified pager to send a signal. The camera focused in on the screen, and the final image was of Captain Marvel's logo. Clearly, Fury had just sent out a cosmic SOS, bringing Captain Marvel into the fight for Avengers 4.
That brief scene complicates things, not simplifies them, however. Wherever Carol Danvers has been for the last 20 years, Fury has actually had the means to reach out to her. What's more, that scene also suggests that Carol could also return under her own power. All Fury ever needed to do was sent out a signal. So, what are the options? Where could Captain Marvel have been all these years?
Could Captain Marvel Be In The Quantum Realm?
The number one possibility is the Quantum Realm, the strange plane of existence revealed in Ant-Man. A realm outside the normal rules of time and space, the Quantum Realm is typically accessed by shrinking down beyond subatomic size. Ant-Man & the Wasp will explore the Quantum Realm in detail, with Hank Pym leading an effort to recover his wife Janet, who was trapped in it decades ago.
It's already been confirmed that Captain Marvel will feature the Quantum Realm. Up until now, a common theory has been that the film ends with Carol trapped in this dimension, in a similar situation to Janet Van Dyne. But Fury's pager suggests he could summon Captain Marvel at any time. If that's the case, she's not only powerful enough to enter the Quantum Realm under her own steam - she can also leave it.
Why hasn't Carol left the Quantum Realm before now? According to Hank Pym, it's "a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant." If Pym is right, it's possible that the passage of time for Carol Danvers has been different. Maybe she thinks she only just entered the Quantum Realm yesterday, and then got called back?
Could Captain Marvel Be In Space?
The second possibility is that Captain Marvel has been in space all along. Last year, Kevin Feige was asked where she's been all this time. "The key is out there," Feige answered, pointing his hands in the air. This seems to suggest Carol has actually been out in space all this time, possibly participating in the Kree-Skrull War.
James Gunn might not be too impressed with this possibility, though. In 2014, the Guardians of the Galaxy director argued that he didn't want to introduce Nova for a very simple reason; "I think Quill being the only earthling [in space] is important." Feige's comment suggests, though, that Quill was never "the only earthling" in space. Rather, Carol Danvers was out there too, roaming the galaxy for the past 20 years. The Kree had just negotiated a truce with Xandar at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy, bringing an end to a thousand years of war. If Carol was out there working with the Kree, it's actually possible she played a role in negotiating that truce. Of course, Feige's words could be construed to mean just about anything.
Wherever Carol Danvers has been, one thing is now certain; Nick Fury had the ability to call her back all along. For some reason, he chose not to do so when the Chitauri invaded, when the Winter Soldier attempted to assassinate him, or when Ultron threatened an extinction-level event. It's only in Avengers: Infinity War, as he fades from existence, that Fury finally sends out that cosmic SOS. Hopefully next year's Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 will explain these mysteries.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019