Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige dropped a few bombs Saturday night at the annual Comic-Con blowout, including some cool Ant-Man & the Wasp casting news, some video from Black Panther that seemed to play as well with its cast than any fan in Hall H, and new trailers for Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.
And even though Captain Marvel star Brie Larson wasn’t in attendance, Feige sill managed to excite Marvel fandom by announcing the 2019 film will be set in the 1990s - pre-Iron Man - and that stalwart antagonistic alien race, the Skrull, would be the villains.
Here’s exactly what Feige had to say:
“There have been rumors and I’ll tell you those rumors are true, that Nick Fury - Sam Jackson - is in his movie. He plays a big part in it, and in his film Nick Fury has two eyes. Because this film takes place before the events of Iron Man 1 and is set in the early 1990s.
“And I’ll tell you one other thing … the villain of this will be the first MCU appearance of the Skrull.”
By themselves, the two pieces of information are interesting in their own rights.
Given fans expect Larson to appear in Infinity War and/or its untitled sequel, having the 27-year-old Larson play Carol Danvers is somewhat fascinating. Assuming she does appear in current day Marvel films in the next few years, aging her 25 years will prove interesting, though we suppose if we learn she’s spent the last quarter century of Earth time in space (explaining her heretofore absence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) Einstein’s Theory of Relativity could account for a lack of aging. Of course Peter Quill has aged regularly since he left Earth, but as Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar taught us, it’s all about what stars and black holes you’re hanging around.
The 90s setting and where she’s been all this time since raise all sorts of interesting MCU questions, already covered well by our colleague and former Newsarama contributor Graeme McMillan here. We won't double those efforts up.
The Skrull (Feige used the singular) news is noteworthy on an entirely different level. With the Watchers mostly-jokey cameos in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that’s now two presumably Fantastic Four-centric characters making their way to the MCU.
The Skrull, of course, debuted in Fantastic Four #2 and have served as villains all over the Marvel U during their 50-plus year history, but they’re still most closely associated with Marvel’s First Family.
The big screen rights to Fantastic Four and its family of characters belong, of course, to 20th Century Fox, who surprised Hall H themselves with the announcement that a Doctor Doom film is in development. That’ll likely serve to renew Fox’s rights to the FF for the foreseeable future.
Feige didn’t outright say any deal with Fox was reached for the characters – nobody knows for sure where the rights to the Skrull actually lie (he has said some are "shared" in the past), but his calling them out specifically for their first "MCU appearance" seems to indicate this was a development a long time in the making.
But putting these two bits of news together really opens up a world of possibilities in Marvel’s movieverse.
For one thing, the studio does little, if anything, by accident. Compared to Fox’s liberal continuity compromises with the X-Men films, Marvel is an almost an airtight vessel. Everything fits into place more neatly than any decade-long series of closely inter-connected films possibly should.
In other, shorter words, Marvel Studios isn’t setting this film in its past for no good reason. They’ve almost certainly got one, and it’s likely a big one that will have repercussions throughout the entire MCU.
Secondly, the Skrull are shapeshifters, the ultimate spies, and in their best and most contemporary use, what they’re good at is the long-game
Follow us here ... Consider Marvel Comics’ 2008 event storyline Secret Invasion, in which readers learned Skrulls replaced significant Marvel superheroes like Ant-Man, Elektra, and Spider-Woman in the past as part of a slow-burn, years-in-the-making infiltration of Earth in advance of an outright invasion.
So what could all this add up to?
Wouldn’t it just be very Marvel Studios-like (see: S.H.I.E.L.D.-Hydra in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) to reveal in Captain Marvel, perhaps in one of its Marvel-trademarked credits teaser, that a Skrull or Skrulls replaced key characters in the MCU in the 90s and have been impersonating them ever since?
Marvel Comics asked comic book readers during the Secret Invasion storyline “Who Do You Trust?”
It may be time for Marvel moviegoers to start asking themselves that same question.
Stay tuned … we’ll have more on this soon.