‘Captain Marvel’ Theory Tracker: What Are Carol Danvers’ Ties to ‘Avengers 4’?

The action-packed second trailer for 'Captain Marvel' has arrived, and we have theories.

Captain Marvel Trailer 2 breakdown reaction theories marvel
What exactly is going on in Captain Marvel, and how does it connect to Avengers 4 and beyond? Marvel Studios

The second trailer for Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel arrived Monday night and, suffice it to say, it’s a doozy. There’s a lot going on in this Marvel extravaganza, which looks like Green Lantern mixed with The Long Kiss Goodnight with a dash of Jason Bourne. It’s an intoxicating cocktail sure to inebriate Marvel fans, but the film is also being marketed as a mystery. There’s so much we still don’t know.

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For example, who is the real Carol Danvers? How does her story connect to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe? Why can’t we pull off lime green as well as she can?

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In an effort to provide a bit of clarity, we’re compiling a running list of our most pertinent questions and theories heading into Captain Marvel, an MCU prequel set in the 1990s that follows one of the universe’s most powerful heroes in a struggle across the stars.

(Note: We’ll be updating this list with new information as we draw closer to Captain Marvel‘s release next March.)

What’s up with Carol’s past?

While speaking to Nick Fury (a noticeably eye-patchless Samuel L. Jackson), our titular heroine says “something in my past is the key to all of this.” It’s safe to say that will serve as the crux of the film’s conflict, which is embedded in a war between alien races: the Kree and the shape-shifting Skrulls. Audiences can connect the dots and see that Carol had a life on Earth as a regular old human before some type of injury nearly killed her and she was saved by the Kree and imbued with special powers. This origin story is a departure from the comics, which leaves us wanting to know more.

How was Carol injured, and how does it connect to the intergalactic conflict? Were her memories erased and, if so, why and by whom? Fury specifically calls for Captain Marvel in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War (we’ve also created a running theory tracker for Avengers 4), so does Carol’s mysterious past have anything to do with Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the greater MCU stakes at play? We’ll find out.

Are the Kree actually the villains?

As humans, all we do is destroy our planet and invent new ways to kill each other, so we’re in no place to judge another race of beings. But if the Kree did rescue a dying Carol only to mold her into a weapon to be manipulated and deployed for nefarious purposes, and if they did erase her memories and conceal her true identity from her, it’s safe to say that they’re kind of dicks.

In the trailer, Carol explains to Fury that the Skrulls are the bad guys while the Kree are “noble warrior heroes.” Something tells us that by the end of the film, her understanding of the conflict will have flipped. Jude Law’s mysterious Kree character may be comic villain Yon-Rogg (or he’s good guy and mentor Mar-Vell, but we’re not betting on it); Carol’s Kree warrior squad, Starforce, is made up of future MCU villains like Ronan (Lee Pace) and Korath (Djimon Hounsou); and whatever Annette Bening is doing in the trailer, it looks like an outer space version of Tywin Lannister.

Captain Marvel trailer 2 breakdown reaction theories marvel

We’re on to you, Bening! You can’t blind us with your stellar acting and the fact that you were delightful that one time we met you on a red carpet. Stop trying to trick us.

And speaking of Annette Bening…

“Your life began the day it nearly ended,” Bening’s character purrs to Captain Marvel. “We found you with no memory. We made you one of us, so you could live longer, stronger, superior. You were reborn.”

This may be a very telling line. Nearly every other aspect of the trailer suggests that Carol believes she is a full-fledged Kree warrior. Why would Annette Bening spill the beans if this wasn’t a late-in-the-game face-off set right before the film’s climax? Clearly, the mystery power player is throwing up a last-minute Hail Mary to try to convert Carol to the Kree effort once and for all. And while trailer editing exists to deceive us, Carol’s response seems to suggest it ain’t going to work.

“I’m not gonna fight your war. I’m going to end it,” our heroine declares. That definitely feels like Carol freeing herself from the shackles of lifelong manipulation, and it very much looks like the two are in the same place.

Captain Marvel spoilers

Will Captain Marvel lead directly into Avengers 4?

We know that Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s. We also know that at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, which takes place sometime in 2018, Fury calls for Carol’s help as he succumbs to Thanos’ Snapture (let’s chalk Captain Marvel’s aging process up to a blend of relativity and Kree DNA). Will the film offer some clues into the Infinity Stones and/or how to defeat Thanos?

If Law is indeed playing Mar-Vell, then his comics counterpart has a lengthy track record with Thanos as a well-intentioned foil to the Mad Titan’s villainy. The two have even clashed over the Tesseract (the Space Stone) before. Mar-Vell was also involved in a story concerning Thanos’ home world (which we visited in Infinity War), where the Kree hero helped the native Eternals survive an attack orchestrated by our purple big bad. Perhaps that is why Thanos has waited until after Mar-Vell’s death to start his conquest.

Another theory that might help explain Captain Marvel’s absence over the past 30 years of MCU history could stem from Ant-Man and the Wasp. Many believe that the Quantum Realm, where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself trapped in the post-credits scene of the sequel, will connect to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. It’s possible that Captain Marvel is using the alternate dimension to traverse the universe and possibly even time travel (more on that here).

Mild spoiler alert: We know that Avengers 4 will feature visits to the past in one way or another, so that would fit with the expected narrative while also connecting it with the Ant-Man franchise.

Captain Marvel hits cinemas March 8, 2019. Stay tuned for more updates before then.

‘Captain Marvel’ Theory Tracker: What Are Carol Danvers’ Ties to ‘Avengers 4’?