Captain Marvel Already Changes Korath's Backstory Too
The wider cosmic side of Captain Marvel will also alter the wider MCU timeline, specifically Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, whereas with Fury and Coulson things are up in the air, here we have a definite change.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude revealed that Korath the Pursuer was one of Thanos's key agents, who trained alongside Nebula and Gamora. That doesn't seem to fit with Captain Marvel, which presents him as a member of the Kree Starforce who serves under Jude Law's mysterious commander. Ironically, this is the second time this particular prelude comic has been contradicted outright. The focus of the comic is on Nebula's backstory, and it's nothing like the one James Gunn revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Gunn admitted on social media that he didn't consider that particular prelude comic to be canon, and with Captain Marvel it looks as though we can discount it from continuity altogether.
The simple solution is that the MCU prelude comics are even less canon than many have treated them in the past. They simply don't matter. But they are built around the presentation in the movies themselves, so have a kernel of logic. Fury, Coulson and Korath's backstories may not be heavily explored on the silver screen, but the suggestion is right there to be messed with.
SHIELD/Hydra History Won't Escape Unscathed
But in focusing on characters, we've ignored some bigger picture aspects of the MCU. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible that we'll see an inherent conflict between Captain Marvel and the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. as already established in the movies. According to both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, in the '60s and '70s former Hydra operatives managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and reestablish Hydra as what Arnim Zola called "a beautiful parasite." By the end of the Cold War, they'd managed to get to the very highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Head of Defense Mitchell Carson an active Hydra agent.
Now we have another infiltration, this time by alien shapeshifters; it's already confirmed that the Skrull leader, Talos, will replace a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. It's hard to believe that the Skrulls wouldn't unwittingly stumble upon the existence of Hydra; Hydra agents were already so ubiquitous that the odds of a Skrull accidentally replacing a Hydra operative are pretty high. The Skrulls' usual modus operandi is to use their shapeshifting powers to take advantage of pre-existing divisions and weaken a planet's defense; the hidden split between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra would provide them with a tailor-made opportunity. Marvel will need to tread very carefully indeed in this regard, as it would be very easy to unwittingly cause a continuity problem here.
None of these problems are insoluble. The issue with the tie-in comics is resolved by simply choosing a model of canon in which the movies themselves take precedence; meanwhile, careful writing can avoid continuity issues between Captain Marvel and the larger MCU. Still, by treading on an area already so widely covered with so much new material, it's almost certain that there are going to be some significant issues with the timeline after Captain Marvel's release. Hopefully they won't be on the scale of Spider-Man: Homecoming's "eight months later," and will be easy to explain.
- 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