By setting Captain Marvel in the 1990s, Marvel Studios looks to be laying out a long game involving the Skrulls that could ultimately lead to a Secret Invasion of the MCU. We won't know until the film is released how Carol Danvers gains the powers of Captain Marvel, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has announced Captain Marvel will depict the MCU's version of the Kree-Skrull War. This indicates that rather than gaining her might from an Infinity Stone like Scarlet Witch and Vision, her origin will involve the Kree as it does in the comics. The Kree are already in the MCU and have been sighted in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which introduced the Inhumans to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was also confirmed at Comic Con that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will appear in Captain Marvel, and that this younger version of the famed super spy has two working eyes - therefore Captain Marvel could depict the events that caused Fury to lose the use of his left eye.
There are also bigger questions Captain Marvel must answer: if she was active since the '90s, where has she been and why hasn't she been mentioned by anyone before? One answer could be that Captain Marvel's adventures are cosmic in nature and her exploits took place in deep space. The concept art seems to support that, showing Danvers in battle with Skrulls in what looks like a Skrull space craft. In addition, if she was affiliated with the S.H.I.E.L.D. of that era - which could mean welcome cameos by Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Howard Stark (John Slattery), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and even Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) - the spy agency could have suppressed any public knowledge of Captain Marvel. Or perhaps, the Skrulls somehow did it. As for where Captain Marvel has been for 20 years, your guess is as good as ours, though she's expected to make an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, which will allow her to take her place among the superheroes of the present day MCU.
The long-term ramifications of the Skrulls in the MCU is what's most exciting - and terrifying - about a potential Secret Invasion. The Skulls could have been on Earth for decades, even before Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel. It's possible they never left. The Skrulls could have been in the MCU this whole time - which could mean some characters we've been watching for years could secretly have been Skrulls all along! The Skrulls have the ability not just to look like humans but to mimic superhuman powers and abilities, so potentially be anyone could be a Skrull - from Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) to Scott Lang (Ant-Man) to even Tony Stark himself!
The MCU has already faced massive destabilization when it was revealed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Hydra had existed within S.H.I.E.L.D. since the agency's inception in the 1950s. After the Civil War over the signing of the Sokovia Accords resulted in the Avengers breaking apart and the imminent arrival of Thanos armed with the Infinity Gauntlet, a Secret Invasion by the Skrulls would be a game-changer that would wreak an untold amount of havoc on the already precarious state of the MCU.
Phase 3 of the MCU will culminate in Avengers: Infinity War, with the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming kicking off Phase 4 of the cinematic universe. Rather than our heroes basking in the glory of saving the universe and the unity between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Skrulls herald even darker times coming for the MCU - a world of paranoia and mistrust where even those heroes we feel closest to and think we know best could secretly have been a Skrull all along. This would mean, along with Captain Marvel, the MCU would need its young superheroes more than ever, as the heroes and fans alike will ask each other Who Do You Trust?
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019