Warning: This post contains minor SPOILERS for Black Panther
Black Panther is now out in theaters, and a new piece of background information on CIA Agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) may have just set up a role for him Captain Marvel. Audiences were first introduced to Ross in Captain America: Civil War, where he was a Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. His role wasn’t large however, and the film barely touched on his backstory. But given his larger role in Black Panther, we now know more about Ross’ earlier career.
While Black Panther is undoubtedly the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Wakanda, Ross becomes wrapped up in the story after a heroic act. During Erik Killmonger’s (Michael B. Jordan) plan to break out Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), Ross takes a bullet to the spine to save Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). T’Challa’s good nature and love for Nakia force him to break tradition and take Ross (an outsider) to Wakanda so his life can be saved using their advanced technology. Ross makes a full recovery within a single day and eventually becomes an important part of the finale. It is here that it is revealed he is a former Air Force pilot, and he shows off his piloting skills and bravery in the process.
The argument could be made that including this backstory for Ross was just an excuse for him to have something to do during the finale, but what if it had another purpose? This reveal of his past as an Air Force pilot comes just a year before Captain Marvel hits theaters and Brie Larson makes her debut as Carol Danvers, a skilled flier in more ways than one. While she eventually gains the ability to fly thanks to her superpowers, she too is a member of the Air Force – and Larson spending her free time at an Air Force base confirms that this aspect of Carol’s origin story will be featured in the movie.
If we are going to see Carol rise through the ranks of the Air Force, it stands to reason that we will see some of her fellow pilots in the process. Captain Marvel is taking place in the 1990s and will feature a young Nick Fury with two eyes. While the exact year of Captain Marvel‘s events isn’t confirmed, the setting provides the perfect opportunity for Marvel to bring back characters – whether that’s Fury, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, or even Ronan the Accuser. Now that Black Panther has established a way for Ross to also reappear, it seems like too good an opportunity to pass up.
Ross is a much more established character after his role in Black Panther too. He can hold his own in a fight depending on the circumstances, but his piloting skills are more impressive. Ross is also a bit of a hot shot, so wouldn’t it be fun to see him play the Iceman role from Top Gun opposite Captain Marvel‘s “Maverick” Danvers? He never wants to believe that anyone can outsmart him and he refused to leave his post even when his life was threatened. Marvel has also developed a tendency to use de-aging technology as of late, so Freeman could be next in line to get that treatment.
At the end of the day, Black Panther has laid the groundwork for, at the very least, a cameo appearance. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is vocal about the long-term planning that goes into MCU movies, and background information like this could just be the latest example of that. Plus, there haven’t been a ton of casting announcements for Captain Marvel to this point. Maybe that’s because a number of supporting roles are filled by characters whom fans already know. If that’s the case, including a young Everett Ross making his way through the Air Force could be a fun bit for Captain Marvel to include – especially if the two reconnect once Carol arrives back in the present day.
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