The question of identity seems to be a central theme in Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel – both in terms of the secret identities of the film’s villains the shapeshifting Skrulls, and in terms of Carol Danvers’ identity itself, which is shaping up to be not only the key to her incredible power, but to her role in the Kree/Skrull conflict and the MCU overall.
"I keep having these .... memories. Something in my past is the key to all this," Carols tells Nick Fury in the new, second trailer.
Marvel Studios is not shy about leaving questions in the parentage and true identity of its characters – the theme appears notably in Black Panther, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor, and maybe most prominently in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. But for Carol, the question may be different as her legacy appears to be the key to an entire galactic conflict.
In doing our research, we discovered on IMDb that actors have apparently been cast as Carol’s father and brother – but found no one listed as someone who could be her mother. This suggests that either an another character will fill that role, or that she doesn’t have a mother – which could be a significant clue in its own right. All plot points serve a purpose, after all.
With Carol’s apparently fractured memories also a key element of the film, and her role caught between Earth, the Kree, and the Skrulls pulling in her different directions, there are significant questions at the heart of Carol’s identity.
We’re banking on the key being in her mysterious parentage – that’s the direction her updated comic book origin has taken, and as we said, it’s an all too common theme for the MCU. As such, we’re running down an analysis of who we think Carol’s parents (even in a technical, purely genetic sense) could be.
OK maybe we’re starting off with a reach already – but is the idea that Ego could be Carol Danvers’ father that far-fetched?
Let’s look at the potential evidence. Carol’s clearly got a level of power unlike anything we’ve seen in the MCU so far. Well, almost anything… While he was on Ego’s planet, Peter Quill (and Ego himself) displayed incredible powers of creation and destruction.
Furthermore, Ego says himself in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that he attempted to enact his plan to seed the universe on multiple worlds, with multiple partners. He says Peter is the only one left – but is there a chance there is another? That'd be very Star Wars-esque, wouldn't it?
Stranger things have happened in the Marvel Universe – and if Peter was around 12 in the mid 1980s and Carol was in her mid-20s in the mid-90s that'd make them about the same age.
Hey, it was worth a mention.
Known to Guardians of the Galaxy fans as a Kree religious extremist who sought to control the Power Stone, Ronan was once an Accuser in the Kree empire, a part of its ruling class.
That’s the position Ronan will be in when he appears in Captain Marvel – presumably before he leaves the Kree empire. In comic books, he takes other Kree warriors with him, including Yon-Rogg, which may or may not be the identity of Jude Law’s still officially unnamed Kree Star Commander.
Could Ronan be Carol’s Kree father? It seems unlikely – given he’s apparently a Kree zealot it feels like a stretch that he’d father a child with a human. On the other hand, genetic expansion and genetic tampering have been hallmarks of the Kree empire for eons in comic book lore, so even the most devout Kree warrior could be on board with such a plan.
Ronan could also simply be a donor or template for Carol’s Kree DNA – if it’s something implanted in her and not inherent to her being.
Jude Law’s "Kree Star Commander" has a strong relationship with Carol. From what we know, he’s apparently a mentor to her along with being her commanding officer on Starforce. He already appears to be a father-figure to her. Remember, all plot points serve a purpose.
There’s a bit of a split on Law’s identity – he was originally but unofficially reported to be Mar-Vell, the Kree Captain who, in comic books, was Carol’s lover and predecessor as Captain Marvel; however, more recent clues point to him being Yon-Rogg, Mar-Vell’s comic book rival and a Kree defector who sided with Ronan in his rebellion.
Either way, there’s the possibility he’s Carol’s true Kree father. That could explain his special interest in Carol and his mentorship of her. Even if he’s merely the donor of her Kree genetics in some way, Law could very likely be playing Carol’s “father” on some level.
And that may be a point for the theory that he’s Mar-Vell. While we’ve laid out our theory on why Law playing Yon-Rogg makes plenty of sense, if he’s playing Mar-Vell as Carol’s father that could be a way to make him a key part of her origin without removing her agency as the film’s focused hero. We've gone into this theory before, and it still has potential.
Either way, all signs point to there being something of a surprise reveal when it comes to whomever Law is. Maybe he's Mar-Vell and Yon-Rogg?
More on that another day.
Yes, we're going there. What if Carol Danvers is herself a secret Skrull - potentially even the child of Talos, the Skrull commander who is one of the film's primary villains (again - the MCU has gone there before).
There are plenty of obvious ramifications to the idea that Talos is Carol’s father (or technically potentially her mother – Skrull are full on shapeshifters who could appear in almost any human form), there’s a layer that’s a bit more unexpected than a simple daughter-parent rivalry.
What if Carol’s the daughter of both a Kree and the Skrull Talos? There’s some comic book precedent for a character like that – Young Avengers’ Hulkling is the son of Mar-Vell and a Skrull Princess and possesses genetic qualities of both races.
He’s also an object of obsession for the Skrull Empress Veranke (remember that name), whose forces clashed with Kree warriors on Earth while both tried to capture Hulkling.
We doubt the MCU would lift too much of Hulkling’s history for Carol’s story, but the idea of a Skrull/Kree hybrid who bears significant importance to both empires does seem like a plausible role for Captain Marvel to fill, considering how important the true nature of her identity (and identity in general) appears to be to the film.
Bear in mind Mendolson's Talos seems to know who and what Carol is. His character seems to deliver the line "Would you like to know, what you really are?" in the new trailer.
Speaking of unidentified roles, we have to mention Annette Bening.
As we said, we’ve uncovered actors in Captain Marvel’s IMDb page that seem to be the right ages for her brother and father (Colin Ford as Steve Danvers and Kenneth Mitchell as Joseph Danvers, respectively) – but no one listed as her mother.
When reports of Bening’s casting in the film surfaced (reports that were only confirmed by her name on the most recent poster and her appearance in the subsequent trailer), natural speculation was that she’d play Carol’s mother.
Common wisdom would say that her apparent role as a Kree leader in the trailer goes against that – but what if she's actually both?
In recent comic books, Carol’s origin story was altered slightly to establish that her Kree DNA comes from her mother – a Kree agent stranded on Earth – and that her powers come from the Kree Psyche-Magnetron device’s interaction with her unique physiology.
So what if Bening (a Kree leader, maybe even a version of the Supreme Intelligence) is Carol’s mother, who may even have left her daughter on Earth on purpose, later engineering her return home to the Kree empire to finish her experiments and turn Carol into a Kree warrior?
The Kree are famous for genetically experimenting on the people of other planets – they even created the Inhumans through these experiments in both comic book and MCU lore. Could Carol be the next version of that experiment?
Kree consider themselves noble, patriot warriors above all else. Anything to serve their empire - even going deep cover to produce a child and then abandoning her - seems right up their ideological alley.
In the second trailer Bening rapturously implies they found Carol after her (seeming) fighter jet crash, and declares they made her "one of us, so you could live longer, stronger, superior." The editing of the trailer seems to purposely imply Carol is given Kree abilities, but maybe Marvel Comics' recent origin change was purposeful?
The trailer also seems to imply both a Skrull and a Kree were present at Carol's plane crash. Follow us here: Maybe the Skrulls know who and what Carol and her potential is, and a Skrull ship is what downs her plane and then a Skrull appears to finish her off, but she's rescued by a Kree, perhaps Law?
The flashbacks to Carol's childhood seem to imply she and Fury are going to piece together her past as the film progresses to uncover her "key" role. It would be common movie story structure if Carol and the audience continue to learn more via flashbacks that get longer and more detailed as the story progresses, until a final, central plot point reveals itself when her memories fully return.
Given all the circumstantial evidence, it wouldn't surprise us at all if Carol eventually learns Bening is her genetic mother, and that she was purposely conceived to serve as the first super-soldier for the Kree in their war with the Skrulls and was deceived and manipulated by the Kree all along.
This would also play well into our Jude Law theory we'll get to another day.
Carol's declaration of her independence ("I'm not going to fight your war...") and her costume change from the Kree green/silver/black to her more multi-colored version both seem consistent with her learning a secret that would radically alter her early prideful self-image as a Kree "noble warrior hero." Talos having knowledge of who she is (remember that quote) and her learning key information from him would also be consistent with this possibility and Carol's rebellious turn. Imagine finding out from your enemy everything you thought you knew was a lie?
If Carol is the whole reason the Skrull are on Earth in the first place, it would also potentially explain her absence from Earth since the 90s. Perhaps she has to leave Earth to prevent it from coming in between the Kree and Skrull war? And her Fury pager exists only to summon her if the Skrull or Kree return, which is why Fury didn't even use it in the final act of The Avengers?
Of course, there’s also another, somewhat unlikely(er) possibility here. What if Bening… isn’t playing a Kree at all? Notice her bright green eyes in this trailer – very different from the darker, red and yellow eyes that other MCU Kree have.
That could admittedly be a nod to the Supreme Intelligence’s comic book incarnation as a green head in a jar – or it could indicate that she’s a secret Skrull, perhaps even Empress Veranke herself.
(TL;DR – Veranke was the Skrull Empress who organized the comic book Secret Invasion and impersonated Spider-Woman. Her bright green eyes were the only giveaway of her identity).
Could that be another possible plot device through which Carol is revealed as a Skrull as well? Not a weapon designed by the Kree to fight the Skrulls, but a Skrull engineered to infiltrate the Kree?
That’s a possibility that’s almost too dark to consider – but given the rage she seems to have at the Kree in the trailer, it seems as if she’s being used as someone’s pawn.
Either which way, all Skrulls (and probably Carol Danvers’ true parentage) will be revealed when Captain Marvel hits theaters March 8, 2019.