Could the Skrulls have been already introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in The Avengers? The classic shapeshifting alien villains will formally make their MCU debut in Captain Marvel, but one scene in The Avengers has led some fans to speculate that the Skulls have already been mentioned in the MCU - at least indirectly.
In The Avengers, Loki was captured and imprisoned in a cage designed to contain the Hulk on board the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. This was part of Loki's scheme, of course, wherein he tricked Bruce Banner into transforming into the Hulk and rampage on the Helicarrier as the God of Mischief made his escape. The green goliath eventually jumped on board a Quinjet but was sent plummeting to the ground as Iron Man and Captain America saved the craft. Hulk crashed into an abandoned factory and transformed back to Banner, and this is where it gets interesting for fans looking for Skrulls.
When he awakens from his crash landing, Banner is found by an elderly security guard played by the late Harry Dean Stanton. Noting that Banner "fell out of the sky... big and green and buck ass nude" the old guard, who saw Hulk crash into the warehouse and transform back into "a regular size fella", asks Banner point blank, "Are you an alien? From outer space, an alien?" This is a curious conclusion for a security guard to immediately jump to since at this point in the MCU timeline, Tony Stark has been publicly Iron Man for a few years, but Thor's appearance in New Mexico was kept quiet by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America had just been defrosted and his return isn't public knowledge. Why would this old man working security genuinely suspect Banner is an alien, even if he did fall from the sky when he was the Hulk?
The extended version of this scene on the Avengers Blu-Ray furthers the guard's interesting line of questioning of Banner: "So which one is it? Are you a big guy that gets all little or a little guy that sometimes blows up all large?" That's a perfect way to describe Hulk and Banner's transformations, but it could also describe the shapeshifting powers of the Skrulls. After all, Skrulls are also green, can change size and shape, and they are definitely aliens. Is this what the security guard thinks Banner is?
Of course, at the time Joss Whedon wrote and directed The Avengers, he probably wasn't aware that the Skrulls would be debuting in the MCU seven years later - he was just introducing Thanos - so it's most likely that this isn't an intentional nod to the alien menace. However, the MCU has fleshed out its history a great deal since 2012. Captain Marvel is a prequel where the main story is set around 1995-1996, with flashbacks to the 1970s and 1980s. That film will reveal the Skrulls have been on Earth for quite some time and a Skrull leader named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) has been posing as a higher-up in S.H.I.E.L.D. Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) will also deal with a Skrull invasion of Earth, so it's possible some humans encountered Skrulls and remember them decades later.
In this light, Harry Dean Stanton's security guard could then be looked at (or possibly even retconned) as one such human who encountered a Skrull in the 1990s and remembers big, green, aliens who can alter their physical form. Sadly, Stanton died in 2017, but it's not out of the question for a younger version of the security guard to pop up again in the MCU played by a different actor or by deleted scenes of Stanton where he's made younger by CGI.
However, the fact that Skrulls are on their way to the MCU has certainly ignited fans' imaginations, to the point where some are poring over previous MCU films looking for clues. This type of paranoia about the aliens being here all along is exactly the type of chaos the Skrulls want to sow - and what Carol Danvers is up against in Captain Marvel.
- 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 05, 2019