With production finished on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, Marvel is moving on to more of 2019’s movies. Filming has kicked off on Captain Marvel, with Brie Larson heading to California to film her first scenes in costume. Naturally, set photos quickly hit the Internet – and took fans by surprise. Concept art had led fans to expect a version of Captain Marvel’s iconic red-and-black costume. Instead, the photos showed Larson wearing an outfit that was green and gray.
What’s going on? And what does this costume actually mean?
Carol Danvers is Working with the Kree
I truly want to educate everyone that is 'upset' bc of the color of the suit and the 'why green?' ish about #CaptainMarvel
But don't worry we will have the red/blue one and it will be legendary pic.twitter.com/gRMtC1XEGu
— Jess// MX (@teamsuperMx) January 25, 2018
In the comics, Carol Danvers was an agent in the US Air Force who wound up working alongside an alien race known as the Kree. Specifically, she became an ally of the Kree warrior Captain Mar-vell. That led to her body being irradiated with alien energy, imbuing Carol with Kree powers. She initially took up the superhero identity of Ms. Marvel, but ultimately claimed the identity of Captain Marvel in honor of the fallen Kree hero.
It looks as though Captain Marvel will follow a similar structure. Larson has been visiting USAF bases to get a sense of how the Air Force operates, and has even taken flight training. It’s safe to say Carol’s USAF background will be retained for the film, and the fact Larson actually went through training is exciting. Meanwhile, Jude Law has been cast as Mar-Vell, so Carol’s friend and ally will appear in the film as well. This time around, though, Carol Danvers’s costume suggests an ever closer link. Somehow, Carol will wind up wearing the distinctive uniform of a Kree Captain.
One of the set photos shows Carol gripping a man’s arm, pushing him to the ground. It seems clear she already has super-strength, so these scenes take place after she has already been given her the Captain Marvel powers.
The Comic Book Inspiration for Captain Marvel
Marvel visionary Kevin Feige has already confirmed that Captain Marvel will be partly inspired by a classic arc known as the Kree-Skrull War. Avengers writer Roy Thomas drew inspiration from Raymond F. Jones’s This Island Earth. He imagined a story in which the planet Earth became caught in the conflict between two vast, powerful alien races – neither of whom cared whether or not Earth survived. The planet became the cosmic equivalent of a Pacific island in World War II, with native islanders horrified as the Americans and the Japanese waged war on their shores.
In the early 2000s, Marvel launched the so-called “Ultimate Universe” – a modernized relaunch of their key series. Although this was initially much more grounded, as time passed Marvel continued to embrace the cosmic aspects of their franchises. In 2005, the Ultimate Secret miniseries introduced a reimagined version of the Kree race, along with Mar-Vell himself. In the Ultimate Universe, the Kree were aware of a world-ending threat that was headed straight for Earth. They intended to sabotage humanity’s attempts at space exploration, and so ensure our race was rendered extinct. Mar-Vell rebelled against this, and chose to help humanity survive the threat of Gah Lak Tus.
The Marvel movies have always tended to draw inspiration from the Ultimate Universe. Significantly, Brie Larson’s costume is actually a blend of the tradition Mar-Vell outfit and the one he wore in Ultimate Secret. These first set photos definitely tease that the Ultimate Universe is continuing to influence the MCU – and will perhaps inform the plot, as well.
The ’90s and the Space Age
This may offer a subtle clue as to why Captain Marvel is set in the ’90s. Until the ’90s, space exploration was essentially caught up in the Space Race – a period of intense rivalry between the United States and the U.S.S.R.. The fall of the Berlin Wall changed everything, though, and humanity began to focus on space exploration as an end in itself. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched; construction began on the International Space Station; and NASA landed the Pathfinder on Mars. Before the ’90s, space exploration had been a matter of intense rivalry. Now, humanity was looking outwards. Significantly, the USAF maintained a strong connection tie to the American space program.
In the context of the MCU, in the ’90s humanity was taking its first faltering steps into space. And it looks as though that drew attention – from both the Skrulls and the Kree. Neither race will be on Earth with humanity’s best interests at heart. Both are really focused on defeating the other in battle. It’s possible that, in a plot thread lifted from Ultimate Secret, one or both races may intend to prevent humanity reaching the stars.
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