SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Captain Marvel. Proceed at your own risk.
If you didn’t fall in love with Goose in Captain Marvel, you’re dead inside. No, really. Goose — aka Nick Furry (sorry) — is the cutest addition to the MCU since Baby Groot. Indeed, when we asked co-director Ryan Fleck which of the ginger fuzzball’s abilities they explored, on top of those on display in the film, he joked, “We explored the idea of the superpower [of] being so overwhelmingly cute that your head might explode if you come too close.”
Fleck and co-director Anna Boden, who confirmed to us that Goose is female, certainly get as close as possible to that without actually having to explode any heads on screen. The result is an equal-parts adorable/repulsive/extra-primo-fearsome Flerken that is far-and-away the star of the show. One who just might prove herself a key player in the MCU before April’s out, too, when the (remaining) Avengers are joined by latest recruit Carol Danvers in an attempt to tackle Thanos and undo his snappy disappearing act in Avengers: Endgame.
For Goose is more than just a cute kitty. Captain Marvel’s ginger puss is, indeed, all Flerken; an alien creature with a bunch of awesome abilities that could just see her become the secret weapon in the fight against Thanos. Let’s take a dive into what we know about Flerkens from the comic books and combine that knowledge with the revelations unearthed in Captain Marvel alongside what we gleaned from the film’s directors to theorise exactly how Goose could swap the grin on Thanos’ massive purple face for a permanent grimace.
Powers of Underestimation
In the comic books, Captain Marvel’s cat/Flerken is called Chewie — named, of course, after Han Solo’s equally fuzzy Star Wars sidekick. Changed for the big screen to Goose in honour of Anthony Edwards’ character in Top Gun, there’s absolutely no truth in the rumour we’ve started that the name switch is actually because there’s a Star Wars/MCU crossover planned. Joking aside, one good reason to alter Chewie’s given name is to differentiate Goose from his comic book counterpart and give the character freedom to break out of the confines of his comic book origins. Which we see Goose do in Captain Marvel in flamboyant style. More on which later.
In Captain Marvel, Goose’s threat level is established in a similar way to in the comics. When Captain Marvel first encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, Rocket immediately identifies Chewie as a Flerken — described in the comics as “the greatest weapon in known space” — and tries to kill her. In the film, Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is similarly fearful, recognising Goose for the formidable alien creature that she is straight away, ultimately resulting in her being muzzled.
“It’s a cat, not Hannibal Lecter,” says Nick Fury. Little does S.H.I.E.L.D.’s finest know, Fury will not only witness the full extent of its abilities, but he’ll also soon lose an eye to a single scratch from his newfound feline friend. Boden says that one of the Flerken’s superpowers is that people often underestimate it, which could be key to catching Thanos off-guard. Asked if she thinks Goose could defeat Thanos, Boden reveals she’s open to it, saying, “It would be a tough fight because Thanos might not know what was coming.”
Big Mouth Strikes Again
Just as in the comics, Goose has a large cluster of tentacles within her mouth which she uses to swallow pretty much anything, including anyone she’s not especially keen on keeping around. When we eventually see Goose deploy her oral protrusions in the film, she captures multiple enemies in one swift motion and swallows them whole. Imagine her taking Thanos by surprise, enveloping him in tendrils and fangs and bundling him inside her capacious mouth. That might get rid of the Mad Titan, but it wouldn’t undo the Snap, of course. Crucially, though, we also see Goose swallow the Tesseract in Captain Marvel.
This is where things start to get very interesting. If Goose is able to, in essence, EAT the Tesseract, surely that means she’s a pretty powerful being? Boden suggests that Goose is around 50% as powerful as Captain Marvel, a character Kevin Feige has been repeatedly quoted as saying is the most powerful hero introduced into the MCU to date. At 50% as powerful as the most powerful hero ever, that’s still pretty freakin’ powerful. Ryan Fleck, however, suggests there are depths yet to be plunged: “I think we’ve only explored the beginning of what Goose is capable. We’ve just touched the surface.”
“I think we’ve only explored the beginning of what Goose is capable. We’ve just touched the surface.” — Ryan Fleck, co-director of Captain Marvel
Which leads us back to the Tesseract and what resides within. The Space Stone’s powers are marginally contained while inside the cube, which seems to prevent total annihilation when coming into contact with it. Let’s remember, at this point, what happened to Red Skull back in Captain America: The First Avenger when he touched the Tesseract. Initially presumed dead, Infinity War revealed he’d been transported off to another world to live out his days as guardian of the Soul Stone.
Goose, however, doesn’t merely touch the Tesseract, she SWALLOWS it. Aside from this act demonstrating that Goose has the constitution to hold that kind of power (never mind size and shape of object) and remain unharmed, what does this mean?
Well, it could mean, theoretically, that the Flerken will be able to hold the other Infinity Stones inside herself. And that she could even swallow the Infinity Gauntlet, perhaps snatching it right off Thanos’ hand. Indeed, Goose could well be integral to procuring the Gauntlet and/or transporting it as necessary. Could Goose swallow the Infinity Gauntlet? “Why not?” says Fleck.
Boden, meanwhile, says, “Seems like a possibility. We’d have to do some mathematics and some physics equations before we would know for sure.”
Picking Pocket Dimensions
And if Endgame chooses to explore some of the Flerken’s other comic book powers, Goose’s internal pocket dimensions could come into play. A Flerken’s physiology is said to secrete multiple ‘bubbles’ of different realities, from which it can take things and also store things. Flerkens also have the power of dimensional travel through these wee subspaces, meaning they can transport themselves instantaneously pretty much anywhere. Goose could, therefore, be the key to unlocking both time travel and teleportation for the Avengers. Could the surviving superheroes use Goose’s pocket dimensions to travel about through space and time and collect and transport Infinity Stones?
And you’ve got to ask how an object that is essentially a teleportation device might affect a creature that already has the ability to transport itself instantaneously? While we see Goose spew up the Tesseract in the post-credits sequence as if it were a hairball, the artifact could act to amplify Goose’s powers.
One other thing that makes Goose a major threat, if she wasn’t shaping up to be quite the trump card already, is the fact that she can reproduce, with litters made up of scores of mini-mes. Flerkens lay eggs, and Rocket’s reasoning for killing Chewie in the comic books was to prevent this from happening. He ends up not killing Chewie, who promptly lays 117 eggs, all of which hatch. What’s more dangerous than a disarmingly cute beast with the power to swallow anything and transport anywhere? 118 of the critters.
We asked Anna Boden what Goose has been doing in the intervening years between the close of Captain Marvel and present-day MCU. “Becoming a mommy,” she says. Thanos should be very worried.
Captain Marvel is out now. Avengers: Endgame hits screens in the UK on April 25 and in the US on April 26.