Tuesday, December 4, 2018


So, on Monday Night Football last week, Marvel dropped their new trailer for their movie about Carol Danvers as a superhero, "Captain Marvel." And it is a doozy...for a few reasons.

First off, it shows some pretty impressive special effects. Not just that they are convincing, but they show that some pretty impressive things are happening. There are lightning bolts going into a girl's brain, energy blasts coming out of the hero's hands, explosions, etc. It could be pretty impressive.

But this trailer also reveals what may be the crux of the entire plot (or at least the character arc).

When we last saw Our Hero, she was crash-landing through the roof of a Blockbuster video store in the 1990's, punching out an old lady on a public transit conveyance, having flashbacks to herself in the US Air Force and as a small girl falling down and getting up a lot, getting zapped in the head by energy, shooting energy bolts from her hands on the top of a commuter train, and sharing enigmatic one-liners with Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D...with two whole eyes).
This debunked the fan theory that Carol Danvers was the 22-year-old schizophrenic referred to in the beginning of Dr. Strange (Why a schizophrenic? Because Carol Danvers and Ms. Marvel were a split personality in her the first year or so of the hero's presence in Marvel Comics). But it did seem to confirm that Carol Danvers is going to have been an Air Force pilot, just like she was in the comics.

There were also snatches of shots of Danvers in a helmet and some other alien sets and characters that, combined with a bunch of photographs released to Entertainment Weekly, revealed that she would be part of a Kree superhero commando team called Starforce. Jude Law's character appeared but was unnamed, and IMDB persisted in saying that he would be Captain Mar-Vell/Walter Lawson. Ben Mendelssohn was revealed as playing a Skrull named Talos.

This time, we learned more of her story.


Since I started writing this article, news has reached me that two Funko Pop figures have revealed two character names. A character that appears to be Brie Larsen in the green-and-black uniform and helmet of Carol Danvers is named "Vers" and a white, male, helmeted character in green-and-black (and only Jude Law fits that description so far), is "Yon-Rogg."

Carol Danvers grows up as a tomboy and speed freak, playing baseball and racing go-karts. She joins the US Air Force and becomes friends with a woman who would become the mother of Monica Rambeau. She becomes a test pilot and, somehow, she crash-lands on a planet or a deserted part of Earth and bleeds blue blood through the nose. She also has lost her memory. The Skrull warrior Talos tries to kill or kidnap her, but she is rescued by Kree. They find a fragment of her Air Force dogtag that includes part of her last name, "...vers," and use that as her name. They put her through a Kree "Six Million Kree Imperial Monetary Units Woman" procedure and make her into a leader of their super-powered enforcement squad, Starforce. Yon-Rogg is her mentor, and Ronan is some sort of supreme commander-type.

In the course of an adventure (possibly being pursued by Skrulls), her ship blows up and she crashes to Earth into a Blockbuster Video store in Los Angeles in the mid-1990's. She explores the subway, then starts to head out to the western US desert, where she blows up a storefront and meets Samuel Jacks...I mean S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (who has two eyes). The two of them go to a S.H.I.E.L.D base hidden in a mountain, where Danvers' thumb accesses a room in which are files about her military career (so she must have been a S.H.I.E.L.D agent somewhere in there).

The Kree come to get her and she finds out more about her past. Yon-Rogg reveals the true depth, meaning, and motivation of the Kree imperium. She decides to reject the Kree and fight for Earth.

Some things that I don't know and wonder about are as follows:

Is she a Skrull? The answer is not as obvious as I first thought. The first thought is, of course, "no." But then I got to thinking...you know, we got Skrulls here, and Skrulls are shapeshifters.. and then I thought of a recent Marvel Comics epic crossover storyline...

Secret Invasion was Marvel's big epic company-wide crossover event for 2008. In it, it was revealed that many, many people on Earth were Skrull agents. More than that, many of them were disguised as superheroes, and that they had been altered by Skrull science to be completely undetectable and not even know that they were Skrulls...until they either died, or a certain triggering mechanism was activated (usually a phrase or image).

The one who was disguised as Mar-Vell, however, was a special case. He was one of the first subjects of this process, and they went a little too far on him. The Mar-Vell memories and personality they had imprinted on him were too strong. The triggering mechanism did not work, and even when faced with a Skrull who told him exactly who and what he was, he rejected it. Instead, he embraced his Mar-Vall persona and fought against the Skrulls in space until he died in battle.

Well, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already adapted the Captain America - Iron Man Civil War epic, company-wide crossover event, why not Secret Invasion, which followed hard upon it?

Where is Mar-Vell? Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel (as regular readers of this blog should well know) was Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree. His superior officer was Yon-Rogg, who kept on trying to screw him over so he would have a shot at his girlfriend, Medic Una. He was sent to spy on Earth, disguised himself as rocket scientist Dr. Walter Lawson, and became close with Carol Danvers, who was then security chief at Cape Kennedy. Later, an explosion of a Kree device during battle with Yon-Rogg sent Mar-Vell's Kree DNA mingling with Danvers' which later turned her into the superhero Ms. Marvel. Mar-Vell later died of cancer, but returned years later to help save the universe (long story. In fact, much of this is a long story), but he died again, after which Danvers took on the mantle of Captain Marvel herself.

Somehow, this origin story was said to be too much like Green Lantern's. Let's see, what is similar about this? In GL, an alien cop crash lands on Earth, seeks a man without fear, who turns out to be a test pilot. He passes a magical ring to the test pilot before dying, and the test pilot replaces him as space-cop for that section of the galaxy.

So...we have an alien coming to Earth, we have some power being passed to a human with some relation to airplanes, and we have the human becoming a superhero (who, in the case of Carol Danvers, was created to be a feminist icon). That's the depth of the connection I see. Not a lot. In fact, when a human test pilot becomes an enforcement agent for an intergalactic empire and a mentor figure turns out to be a bad guy, I am seeing more Green Lantern, not less.

So, was it decided for Mar-Vell to not exist in the MCU? Then from where does Carol Danvers get the name "Captain Marvel"?

What's with the cat? Well, that's not a cat. In the comics, anyway, it's a flerken, an alien race that looks like cats. They lay eggs. They contain "pocket dimensions" within themselves. And they also can release an amazing set of teeth and tentacles to devour adversaries, should they feel a need to do so.

So why is there one named "Goose" in this trailer?

Well, in the comics, there was this orange cat that Carol Danvers, as Captain Marvel, threw at a magical supervillain named Warren Traveller. But this wasn't as the Captain Marvel we know now, but one in an alternate reality created by Scarlet Witch in the 2005 epic Marvel Comics company-wide crossover event called House of M. The relevant part of this alternate reality is that Carol Danvers, as Captain Marvel, was the greatest superhero in the world.

When she threw the cat at Traveller (a villain who did not exist in the regular Marvel Universe) he tried to escape by casting a time travel spell. He did disappear, but the cat went with him. A few days later, after the the world went back to normal, the cat showed up in Carol's apartment. Traveler materialized seconds later, and chaos ensued. Long story short, Traveler was (eventually) defeated, but Danvers kept the cat and named it "Chewie," short for "Chewbacca," the wookie from Star Wars.

A couple of years later, Carol Danvers, now Captain Marvel again, but this time in the "regular" Marvel Universe, was traveling though space , and met up with the Guardians of the Galaxy (the version on which the recent movies were based). When Rocket Racoon saw the cat, he went apeshit, calling it a "flerken" and screaming "Kill it with fire!" while pursuing it with deadly abandon.

Chewie hid in a closet, and when she was found, she was surrounded by over 100 purple eggs. The eggs soon started to hatch kittens. then it revealed the aforementioned teeth and tentacles, ridding the space ship of a particular menace. Rocket then fell in love with the flerken.

And none of that really answers what this cat named "Goose" is doing in this movie.

(Yes, "Goose" is probably a Top Gun reference, but that movie was about Navy flyers and this one is about Air Force flyers, I just wanted to end this post with the above sentence, because even that bit of info does not fully answer the question. And it is probably not a reference to the motorcycle cop in Mad Max).

Here are some videos that attempt to identify "Easter Eggs" and other clues from this trailer:

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