Before Captain America was de-iced or Peter Parker was even in diapers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had another hero: Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. The Air Force pilot with superpowers was briefly alluded to in the post-credits scene for Avengers: Infinity War, but she’ll be getting her own standalone film this March, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Captain Marvel is set in the ‘90s and follows Carol Danvers (Larson) as she takes on an army of invading alien Skrulls — all while trying to piece together her own memories of her past. With Captain Marvel hitting theaters on March 8, 2019, we’ve rounded up everything to know about the MCU’s newest entry, including exclusive details from EW’s recent cover story.
Who is Captain Marvel?
Multiple heroes have held the moniker over the years — see EW’s guide to all the various Captain Marvels here — but Carol Danvers is easily the most beloved. In the comics, she gained extraordinary strength, flight, and the ability to manipulate energy, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that Carol is the most powerful hero yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Carol first made her comics debut back in 1968 as an Air Force officer and security specialist working with the original Captain Marvel —the Kree alien Mar-Vell. She was little more than a love interest then, but a violent explosion spliced her DNA with Mar-Vell’s, transforming her into a half-Kree, half-human hero of her own. Carol soon adopted the name Ms. Marvel, and when she got her own comics series in 1977, she became one of Marvel’s earliest feminists, working as an investigative journalist, fighting for equal pay, and pushing back against docile female stereotypes.
Over the years, Ms. Marvel was written was written as both an early feminist pioneer and problematic damsel in distress, but in 2012 she assumed the captain title for good in a series by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. Under DeConnick, Carol grappled with both her Kree perfectionism and her human flaws, and it’s that quest for identity that drives the film version.
So what’s the film about?
The film sidesteps the traditional origin-story template, and when it begins, Carol already has her powers. She’s left her earthly life behind to join Starforce — basically the SEAL Team Six of space — on the Kree planet of Hala. But she soon finds herself back on Earth (after a crash landing in a Blockbuster video store) with new questions about her past.
Who’s in it?
Jude Law plays the commander of Starforce, who he describes as “unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational.” Starforce’s other members include Gemma Chan as the elite, blue-skinned sniper Minn-Erva and Djimon Hounsou as Korath (reprising his role from Guardians of the Galaxy).
On Earth, Lashana Lynch plays Carol’s oldest friend Maria Rambeau, an Air Force fighter pilot and mother to a young daughter named Monica. (In Marvel comics, Monica was actually the first female Captain Marvel, following in the footsteps of the original Mar-Vell. More on that here.)
Annette Bening has also joined the cast in an unspecified role.
With the ‘90s setting, will we see any other familiar faces?
Yes! In addition to Korath, we’ll also see the return of Lee Pace’s blue-skinned baddie Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury also plays a key role as a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who hasn’t yet lost his eye (or met any superheroes). Carol is his first exposure to the strange and the extraterrestrial, and based on the Infinity War end-credits scene, they must forge a close friendship.
The film also includes the first meeting of Nick Fury and a rookie agent named Phil Coulson, marking the big-screen return of Clark Gregg. Both Gregg and Fury were digitally de-aged for the role.
Who’s the bad guy?
Meet the Skrulls! The green shape-shifters made their comics debut in 1962, facing off against the Fantastic Four; since then, they’ve spent decades attempting to invade Earth and feuding with the Kree, their intergalactic nemeses. They’re finally coming to the big screen in Captain Marvel, led by Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, and they’re pointy-eared, wrinkly-chinned shape-shifters who are able to disguise themselves as just about anyone.
Mendelsohn technically plays two roles — one as Talos and one as the human S.H.I.E.L.D. agent he impersonates on Earth.
What role will Captain Marvel play in the upcoming Avengers 4?
Captain Marvel is very much Carol’s standalone story, but it also sets her up to take a key place in the MCU. As the first decade of MCU movies comes to a close, a number of established heroes like Chris Evans’ Captain America are expected to depart the franchise, leaving heroes like Captain Marvel or Black Panther to take over the spotlight. And if the end of Infinity War is any indication, Carol is ready to answer the call.
For more on Captain Marvel, read all of EW’s coverage here.