Captain Marvel has already been dubbed the most powerful hero in the MCU, but regardless of her power level, she's already the most important hero in the franchise, as had it not been for her arrival, Nick Fury never would have attempted to assemble the Avengers. There are still so many questions about Carol Danvers and exactly how she fits in the franchise's lore, questions that will presumably be clarified once Captain Marvel hits theaters next March, but even before that, we've already learned that her mere existence paved the way for the birth of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Aside from Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson, Fury was the connecting tissue that bonded MCU's Phase 1 leading to the events of Joss Whedon's The Avengers. His introduction was the first indication of Kevin Feige's plans of building a cinematic universe following the character's first appearance during the post-credit scene for Iron Man where he tells Tony Stark he's part of a bigger universe, he just didn't know it yet. While he doesn't have a superhero's powers, he's still as important as every single character in the franchise given he spearheaded the Avengers Initiative. He remained involved with the team's general affairs even after S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fall, and while it's currently unclear what kept him busy until the events of Avengers: Infinity War unfolded, the film's post-credit scene indicates, he continued to keep an eye on everybody alongside Maria Hill.
Fury is the remaining movie link to Danvers, whose whereabouts are still currently unknown following the events of her first movie. Captain Marvel's trailer offered people a peek at how Fury got involved with the superheroine and hinted at the two developing a strong working relationship. Most importantly, it revealed that Fury wanted to retire before her mysterious arrival on Earth. While the clip didn't reveal any reason why he was thinking of "hanging it up," knowing what lies in his future, it's safe to say that had Captain Marvel not inspired him to carry on, there's a slim chance that the Avengers would've eventually been assembled more than a decade later.
Of course, it's always possible that someone else from the organization would've attempted to bring the Earth's Mightiest Heroes together, but without the inspiration of Captain Marvel and considerable pushback Fury's initiative got from S.H.I.E.L.D. higher-ups (many of whom were actually Hydra infiltrators), it's hard to see someone else filling his shoes. Further, successfully convincing all of the heroes, each with very different personalities and agendas, to set aside their differences and work together for a cause, is no easy feat. It called for a specific kind of leader, one who knows how to effectively convince his subordinates to do what he wants them to do which is something that Fury was really good at (case in point: using Coulson's trading cards in The Avengers).
This idea makes Captain Marvel all the more intriguing considering that at one point during his involvement with Danvers, Fury will lose his eye. And the fact that he not only stayed with S.H.I.E.L.D., but became one of the most important and influential people in the organization even after Danvers left is a testament to the positive impact that she had to him. Aside from assembling the Avengers, Fury, through the things he learned during his time with the superhero, also did everything in his power to prepare Earth in case we're threatened by another alien invasion by overseeing Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S..
With her impending introduction to the franchise in Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers is expected to become one of the most important heroes in the MCU moving forward, possibly becoming the leader of the Avengers after its current ones such as Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America are gone. And with Nick Fury surviving the events of Avengers 4 with a confirmed appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home, it'll be interesting to see how the two's eventual re-teaming will help reshape the future of the franchise.
- 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 02, 2019