The MCU Is Starting To Play With Multiple Dimensions
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a period of flux. Avengers: Infinity War ties together every movie so far, while direct follow-up Avengers 4 is being billed as the "culmination" of the entire 22-movie arc. What that means - beyond the likely death of some Avengers - is unclear but what details we have suggests the very fabric of the MCU will begin to alter.
By all accounts, Avengers 4 is dealing with some form of time travel or, perhaps more accurately, alternate dimensions: set photos have shown the cast revisiting the events of previous films with some key variations - Ant-Man during the Battle of New York from The Avengers and a blond, S.H.I.E.L.D. badge-wearing Tony Stark - suggesting that we'll see different versions of the MCU we know. This has been further teased by Benedict Cumberbatch, who said the MCU is "just about to explode into other dimensions"; he could have been referring more to how all-out the cosmic and magic sides of the franchise will be going forward, but it may be an indication multiple dimensions are going to be bigger than just the plot of one film. It's already been theorized that Avengers 4 will consolidate or otherwise reset the timeline, but splitting things outwards is equally economical.
Read More: Avengers 4 Can Fix Marvel’s Broken Timeline
Whatever the case, dimensions will be important than before. Indeed, the Quantum Realm, first seen in Ant-Man, will be returned to in sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp as the titular heroes try to save Janet van Dyne. It's also said to be factoring in - somehow - to Captain Marvel. Some have theorized it may be the manner by which Carol Danvers comes to the present, but taking into account everything we've discussed, another intriguing possibility is revealed...
Is Captain Marvel From An Alternate Dimension?
Could S.H.I.E.L.D.'s knowledge of the Kree not be a timeline-stretching excuse to bring back some MCU favorites but actually evidence that Captain Marvel is unfolding in a different timeline to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe?
We know Captain Marvel isn't in Avengers: Infinity War despite earlier suggestions to the contrary, but will be making her team-up debut in Avengers 4, just a few months after her own movie. There are many ways Carol Danvers could be introduced, but as that movie's going to be heavily dealing with time travel, it's not an extreme suggestion she comes into the fold from one of the alternate dimensions. That confusion of her presence in Avengers 3 may be itself a clue here - clearly something changed in the plans to the point she couldn't appear. There's always the chance it's that Marvel simply didn't want to debut its new hero in an already heavily stuffed ensemble, but it may be that her existence alongside the Avengers at all is infeasible until they start jumping around in time (a shift only made once the cast was confirmed).
It's crazy, yet fits very well. This theory explains how she can be introduced to the world despite a 20+ year absence and gives director Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck complete freedom with the Captain Marvel movie itself to go all-in on the zany, cosmic side without sacrificing anything to the period restrictions (think Peggy Carter's absence or that blond Stark). It also allows the Skrulls to be benched for more, OG timeline adventures - possibly the Earth-shattering Secret Invasion that fans have been clamoring for.
Of course, the obvious counter is that it's all come from the connecting of dots that perhaps aren't meant to come together. We have no hard-set evidence, and while the previous handling of plot holes would seem to work in the theory's favor, those were all minor things fans blew out of proportion: with Captain Marvel we're talking the existence of an entire movie, which makes any explanation much more forward and thus potentially overly confusing for audiences. It's probably easier to just handwave the S.H.I.E.L.D.-Kree connection away. That said, it can't distract from how delectable a suggestion it is.
Captain Marvel is a lot more than just Marvel's first female-led solo movie. It's going to be a celebration of the various strands of the MCU so far, headlined by a literal namesake. But could it be more than that, setting the groundwork for Thanos' ultimate defeat in Avengers 4 and establishing a more fluid continuity going forward? We'll have to wait and see.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018