Theory: Captain Marvel Isn't Where You Think She Is In The MCU

Captain Marvel in The MCU

WARNING: Spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Just where has Captain Marvel been all these years? Next year will introduce viewers to Brie Larson's Carol Danvers, better known as Captain Marvel. Marvel's Kevin Feige has described Carol as "by far the strongest character we've ever had." Incredibly, Larson herself has made a throwaway comment that "she can move planets!" It's true that Larson may have been exaggerating in the heat of the moment, but the clear implication is that Captain Marvel is an absolute powerhouse.

That makes the mystery of Captain Marvel's absence in the MCU up till now all the more intriguing. Captain Marvel is set in the '90s, meaning this powerful hero has existed in the MCU for literally decades. So why hasn't she been mentioned before? Given the sheer number of super-soldier projects we've seen in the MCU, some sort of reference would have been expected. And why didn't Nick Fury call Captain Marvel in when the Chitauri invaded, or when Ultron threatened to render the human race extinct?

Related: 1990s Movies That Captain Marvel Must Reference

Avengers: Infinity War ended with Nick Fury sending out a sort of "cosmic S.O.S.," using an alien-looking pager. It was an amusing touch, a blend of alien technology and '90s science. But it suggested that Fury has always had the ability to call Carol Danvers for help, and yet never chose to use it. He didn't even summon Carol Danvers when he was being hunted down by Hydra, and had no idea who to trust. So where has Captain Marvel been all these years?

The Most Popular Theory: Captain Marvel has Been in Space

The most common theory is that Captain Marvel will head into space at the end of her solo film, and that Fury's pager sends a summons to her: come back home, we need you. On the face of it, that's a reasonable explanation. In one of his first statements about Captain Marvel, Feige confirmed that "much of the movie takes place in outer space, as you might think a Captain Marvel movie would." Thus, the argument goes that Captain Marvel will see the hero leave Earth for decades, perhaps fighting to bring an end to the Kree's many wars. It's even possible we've already seen evidence of Carol's presence, and that she instigated the truce between the Kree and the Xandarians in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Read More: Captain Marvel: The Kree-Skrull War Explained

By this argument, the reason Fury never used the pager before is that he believed it would take Captain Marvel a while to get back to Earth. By Avengers: Infinity War, though, he's lost all his other options; the Avengers are disbanded, Iron Man is missing, and now he's crumbling to dust. He sends out that mayday as a last, desperate Hail Mary. This also fits with one obscure hint from Kevin Feige. Asked where Captain Marvel has been, he gave a typically cryptic response. “The key is...‘out there,'" Feige responded, and most have assumed he was referencing outer space.

At the same time, though, this would be a major change in humanity's role in the cosmic side of the MCU. Back in 2014, James Gunn explained why he didn't want to introduce the character of Nova into the MCU at that stage. "I don't want Nova right now," he observed, "because I think Quill being the only earthling is important. That serves the entire movie-going audience and not just the handful of Nova fans." He was right, and the same point extends to Captain Marvel. In the Guardians of the Galaxy films, it's important that humans are initially treated with disdain, a backwater race whose sole cosmic representative is a down-on-his-luck sneak thief who shocks the galaxy when he wields an Infinity Stone. Captain Marvel's presence in space, let alone on the front lines of intergalactic wars and negotiating truces between alien empires, really does change that.

Page 2 of 2: Where We Think Captain Marvel Is

1 2
Key Release Dates
  • 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
predator 2 maria conchita alonso
Maria Conchita Alonso Was The Queen Of Late 80s/Early 90s Action

More in SR Originals