By Anthony Breznican and Shana Naomi Krochmal
April 28, 2019 at 01:58 PM EDT

People change. Even half-Kree superhero people.

Brie Larson‘s look at the opening of Avengers: Endgame — glimpsed in the trailers — raised some eyebrows for fans of Captain Marvel when she showed up with longer, sleeker hair and a dark lipstick.

Had she been turned into a vampy, sexy version of a superhero? Complicating things, Larson had input into the look, but it may have been skewed a bit because it was created before her full appearance for the solo film was ready.

But that ladies’-night-out look seen in her first return to Earth doesn’t last, and when she’s next seen in the movie, she’s sporting a much different appearance.

We got a first look at it via Instagram, with Larson posing with her stunt double Joanna Bennet.

Let’s explore a little further …

***Spoilers Below***

After the five-year flash forward, the next time we see Carol Danvers she is in uniform and is rocking more of a pompadour with undercut, a little long up top to meet an airman’s grooming standard but still more practical for battle than long hair.

She’s off cleaning up messes in the galaxy while the other heroes take care of business on Earth, which is in a bad place after half the population vanished in The Snap.

When she tells Black Widow, via hologram staff meeting, that she won’t be returning to Earth in the near future, Rocket Raccoon jokes, “What, you gonna get another haircut?”

“Listen, furface,” Captain Marvel shoots back. “I’m covering a lot of territory. What’s happening on Earth is happening everywhere, on thousands of worlds.”

“All right, good point,” furface mutters.

We don’t get much time with Carol after that so we don’t know specifically what’s going on in her life until her supernova return during the climactic battle over upstate New York, but the look itself is giving people feelings.

Marvel certainly doesn’t seem to be steering her back towards a hyper-feminized look. If anything, Captain Marvel seems to have gone through a bit of a…butch-up.

But this is also a callback to recent Marvel Comics history.

Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s comic series in 2012 rebooted Ms. Marvel into Captain Marvel and gave the character a fauxhawk hairstyle that was just long enough to allow her style to serve the purpose that hair (and capes) always do in comics — provide a sense of motion in a static image.

Marvel

But her look in that comic, with cover art by Ed Mcguinness and illustrations by Dexter Soy and Emma Rios, also called to mind the ruffed fringe of a Roman legionnaire’s helmet — and some of the jarhead styles of current active duty military, albeit grown out much more.

Larson’s new look for Captain Marvel doesn’t match that exactly, but it’s definitely closer to a business-all-around look befitting a cop on the beat, or a soldier on patrol.

If anything, it’s reigniting questions raised by fans after Captain Marvel about Carol’s sexuality, with many fans asking if there was an even deeper message in the new look, a wink to a demographic that hasn’t yet seen itself represented onscreen in a mainstream superhero.

Subtext is all over fantasy films, and the creators of the movie sent a much more overt message at the opening of the film, with co-director Joe Russo doing a cameo as a grieving man in Captain America’s support group, who talks about going on his first date with another man since The Snap.

While the Russo brothers haven’t commented on Carol’s new cut, they did say representation was important to them, and that they wanted all fans to see themselves in aspects of the Marvel universe.

“I think that, by the fact that I was doing the cameo, playing that character, it’s the endorsement as the filmmakers,” Joe told EW. “Everyone who’s gay can know that we support you and that we want our stories to be as inclusive as possible.”

“Aside from that being values of ours,” added Anthony Russo, “it’s just staggering, across cultures, every spectrum within every culture, every age group, just the amount of people, the range of people who these movies have become important to. We feel like we need to be more active and inclusive in terms of reaching out to that entire fan base.”

“Because everyone has the right to see themselves on-screen and identify in the most intimate way, with characters,” Joe said.

If you want to assume Captain Marvel’s haircut is a subtextual signal, it sounds like you have the green light. The closest technical term for the look — just in case you need to ask a barber or stylist — is probably an “elongated pixie.”

Pretty soon, you might be able to go in and just ask for “the Captain Marvel.”

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