SPOILER WARNING: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Captain Marvel. Proceed at your own risk.
As fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are already painfully aware, Avengers: Endgame is set to be a closing chapter in Iron Man, Cap and co’s narrative. A storyline that has been unravelling since Tony Stark’s standalone movie kicked everything off back in 2008.
Thanos – the big bad who wiped out half of all living creatures in Avengers: Infinity War – might not have shown his big purple face until 2012’s The Avengers but this epic story’s grand finale was always going to centre on the saga’s OG heroes rather than the newer recruits when it came to taking down the Mad Titan. That’s why Thanos’ successful scheme ‘dusted’ the likes of MCU newcomers Black Panther, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, right?
It’s curious, then, that Marvel Studios would introduce the fight’s probable MVP so late in the game, moving the spotlight away from Stark, Rogers, Banner et al ever so slightly, but oh-so significantly. Captain Marvel makes it abundantly clear that Carol Danvers is going to be instrumental in saving the day.
And it’s not just because she’s the strongest hero the MCU has seen. Even though she is, and that counts for a lot. Indeed, a new infographic published by Marvel shows that she’s twice as strong as Iron Man, capable of lifting 400,000 lbs to Tony Stark’s 200,000 lbs. To put that in context, the same infographic shows Black Panther as capable of lifting a mere 800 lbs. Anyhow, neither is it simply the fact that the film’s mid-credits scene sees her actually MEET a bunch of forlorn Avengers that points to Danvers’ importance in Endgame. It’s actually as much to do with how she gains her superpowers too. So, let’s look into how Captain Marvel’s abilities and key plot points might influence what goes down in Avengers: Endgame.
When it comes to Infinity Stones, the Space Stone is arguably the MCU’s most well-known. Heck, we’ve seen it enough times. Housed inside the Tesseract, this powerful gem has been in the possession of Hydra, Howard Stark, Odin, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Loki — before Thanos and his cronies plucked it from the God of Mischief and placed it in its special spot on the chaos-wreaking Infinity Gauntlet, ahead of his world-altering Snap. Explore the Tesseract’s complete journey within the MCU to date here.
While Captain Marvel herself never really had much connection with the Tesseract on paper, in the movie, much of her identity is shaped around the Space Stone because… she got her superpowers from it.
Unlike in the comics, where her DNA fused with Kree spy Mar-Vell when he was nearly killed, on screen, Captain Marvel was born after Carol Danvers was downed by Kree villain Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) while testing out a plane designed by Annette Bening’s character Dr. Wendy Lawson, later revealed to be Mar-Vell. The plane in question had an engine powered by the Tesseract, and in an attempt to stop it from getting into the wrong hands, she shot it. The subsequent blast caused her to absorb some serious Space Stone energy.
There’s a decent chance there might be a bit more to her nascent powers than that – Commander Yon-Rogg claims in the movie that some of his blood is running through Danvers’ veins – but it’s very interesting that Captain Marvel is essentially powered by one of the very things that gave Thanos the power to carry out his plan to reduce the population.
Possessing the power of this particular Infinity Stone is likely to mean that she can move through space and time in unconventional ways (is there a conventional way to move through time?). This was alluded to in Captain Marvel when Danvers was seen helmetless among the stars, and when she flew at hyperspeed next to the ship. This ability could see her rescuing Tony Stark — who we’ve seen in the Endgame trailer running out of oxygen on board the Benatar — and Nebula, both of whom were left stranded on Titan after the Snap. Danvers might even be able to travel back in time to before Thanos collected all six Infinity Stones. Although she might need some assistance there… more on which later.
In Captain Marvel, Lawson explains to mentee Danvers that she’s actually Mar-Vell, an undercover Kree who has been harnessing the Tesseract’s energy to create a ship that will help refugee Skrulls hide from Kree militants in secluded pockets of the universe.
With her last breaths, she encourages Danvers to “remember the coordinates”, find the Tesseract and try to finish what she started; ending the war. Of course, due to the film’s relatively self-contained plot, it’s easy to assume in that moment that she’s referring to the immediate conflict between the Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls. But if you look at Mar-Vell’s history within the comics, there’s evidence to suggest her words could end up resonating loudly, beyond Captain Marvel and into Endgame.
In the comics, Mar-Vell was tasked with being the ‘Protector of the Universe’, and hid the Tesseract away from Thanos to safeguard it from the supervillain. Not unlike how Annette Bening’s incarnation of the character hides it from Yon-Rogg and the rest of Starforce in Captain Marvel — an interesting parallel. This emphasis in the film on the Tesseract draws further attention to Danvers’ close connection to it and, in turn, how it and Carol herself are likely to play a key role in defeating Thanos.
More Kree Than We Think
If Carol Danvers really was just a human when she blew up the plane’s Tesseract-powered engine then how could she have possibly survived the explosion? When Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull held the Tesseract back in Captain America: The First Avenger, he got beamed to the planet Vormir. So surely a mere human couldn’t simply absorb some of its energy and carry on as normal (albeit with some serious amnesia)?
Well, it could turn out that Danvers was actually part-Kree to begin with. In the earlier comics, she was 100% human — born in Beverly, Massachusetts. But in a comic series that was released in 2018, her lineage was rewritten by Margaret Stohl, revealing that her mother was Kree and that the Psyche-Magnetron explosion credited with bestowing Danvers with her powers awakened her abilities rather than gifted them to her.
Another explanation could be that the blast somehow melded Danvers’ DNA with the two Krees that were in close proximity to her — Mar-Vell and Yon-Rogg — when it occurred. A theory that could also explain Yon-Rogg’s comment about his blood running through her veins. We already know that Krees (and gods) are able to withstand the powers of the Infinity Stones, just as Ronan the Accuser proved when he placed the Power Stone inside his hammer and when Loki wielded his Mind Stone-powered scepter. Basically, it checks out and we could well see this revealed in Avengers: Endgame or even later on in the MCU.
Back in January, Samuel L Jackson described Captain Marvel as “one of the few people in the Marvel universe that can time travel,” in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. The statement caught fan attention, seeing as that’s not an ability she’s particularly known for throughout her comics run, and if she does indeed possess such a power, it’ll certainly prove very handy when trying to undo the effects of Thanos’ Snap.
That said, Jackson has more recently claimed that he “made up” the fact that Danvers could do such a thing. We’re not sure we’re buying that backtrack. In ‘In Pursuit of Flight’ from Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run of comics – which Captain Marvel reportedly takes direct inspiration from – Danvers does embark on a little bit of time travel. So who’s to say it won’t happen as we get to know her a little more throughout the MCU?
If it turns out Carol Danvers isn’t able to time travel as a part of her individual skillset, though, there’s someone who could help her out. No, we’re not talking about Scott Lang, whose adventures in the Quantum Realm will likely play a pivotal role in the upcoming film. We’re talking about Goose the cat.
In Captain Marvel, scene-stealer Goose is revealed to be a Flerken, an alien creature whose mouth not only stores several long tentacles but, according to comic lore, also contains ‘pocket dimensions’. It’s believed that these ‘bubbles’ can be used for instant transportation through space and time. We wrote in some depth about how Goose could be the Avengers’ secret weapon against Thanos here, with input from Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck who agreed that we’d only scratched the surface of Goose’s capabilities. And given Danvers’ significant link to the Tesseract — and Goose’s proven ability to swallow the thing, transport it, and later regurgitate it — the two could team up to retrieve the artifact from some point in time before Thanos gets his nefarious hands on it.
It’s safe to say, energy is a big deal in the MCU these days. Characters such as Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Vision and now Captain Marvel harness the powers of an Infinity Stone in some way, while others, like Ant-Man, have channelled their abilities through different means. The Quantum Realm, for example.
There’s been heavy speculation that the Quantum Realm will feature heavily in Avengers: Endgame ever since Ant-Man and the Wasp teased that the subatomic dimension, where the laws typically governing time and space cease to exist, contains time vortexes. But hear us out, what if the Avengers create Quantum Bands (as seen in the comics) and while drawing energy from the Quantum Realm to travel through spacetime wormholes, they also use the energy emanating from Captain Marvel too?
Within the comics, Captain Marvel is at her most powerful when she loses her powers via X-Men’s Rogue, gets experimented on by an alien race called The Brood and becomes ‘Binary’, tapping into all types of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum. Towards the end of Captain Marvel, Danvers is so mighty that it’s clear writers Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet are paying homage to that.
But what could the bands be made of? Well, we’d suspect Vibranium. There’s been a lot of talk about the energy-manipulating model since Avengers: Age of Ultron and interestingly, Vibranium can be mined on Torfa, the planet in which the Skrulls are hiding out in Captain Marvel.
Heightened Combat Skills
While much of the above is speculative when it comes to how things will play out in Avengers: Endgame, we do know that Captain Marvel is pretty much unbeatable when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. As well as being super strong, super durable, immune to toxins and possessing the ability to fly, she can also emit really powerful photon blasts from her body. In Captain Marvel, we see her slice a spaceship in two, and that Marvel infographic tells us she gives out 418,000,000,000,000 joules in one energy blast. Compared with Black Panther’s 37,500.
Considering that Mantis managed to put Thanos to sleep, Spider-Man and Iron Man briefly restrained him and Thor came close to killing him in Infinity War (if only he’d aimed for the head!), it seems pretty likely that if Team Avengers does manage to reverse the Snap, Captain Marvel could take him down single-handedly in a physical brawl. That’s some prowess, and something we’d love to see.