This article contains nothing but Captain Marvel spoilers.
Captain Marvel, the first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is jam-packed with references to the Captain Marvel comic books, the pre-existing MCU movies (and TV shows!), and tons of nerdy Marvel comics details.
We’re trying to track down all of the Marvel easter eggs in the movie… but we need your help. So if you spot something that we missed, shout it out down in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter, and we’ll keep updating this until it’s the most complete Marvel easter egg guide to Captain Marvel around!
– Carol Danvers has been around for as long as Marvel Comics has been publishing a character named Captain Marvel. She was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan as the head of security at the base where Captain Mar-Vell (more on that in a minute) was working in disguise as a scientist. Through the years, she has had PLENTY of other jobs and superhero codenames, but has been Captain Marvel for the last few years. Trust us, she earned it.
– The movie tweaked Carol’s origin story a bit, while still keeping the spirit of it. In the comics, there’s an accident with a ppsyche-magnitron (basically a high tech wishing machine) which results in Mar-Vell’s DNA grafting onto her human DNA. Instead we still got the energy blast with Yon-Rogg and Mar-Vell present, but instead we don’t see any powers from Mar-Vell and CarolsC powers are considered uniquely her own. It also seems like she gets to skip her Binary stage where the Brood experimented on her, instead mastering her powers by removing a dampener from the Kree.
– We see Carol fighting insomnia and bad dreams – she always has terrible sleep problems, usually owing to something terrible she’s done or been through recently, like losing all her memories or putting Tony Stark in a coma.
– Carol having messed up memories is A Thing. It’s happened three major times – her split personality when she first got powers as Ms. Marvel, when Rogue accidentally took all her memories, and when she exacerbated a lesion and again forgot all of her memories/who she was.
– Also, the weird mystery about whether or not Carol is who she thinks she is feels kinda like a callback to the Secret Invasion Captain Marvel story, where it appeared that Mar-Vell has returned to life, but was actually a Skrull who had been “locked” into Mar-Vell’s form and convinced he was the real deal.
– A bunch of cool Carol poses were borrowed directly from frames of the comics, including the fist smash thing in front of Ronin, floating in her red/blue/gold gear for the first time, the helmet, wearing the leather jacket over her uniform, some of the space images…you get the idea.
The Skrulls were basically the second ever “official” villains of the Marvel Universe, first appearing in Fantastic Four #2. They quickly became perhaps the single most important alien race in Marvel’s stable.
– Talos here shares a name with “Talos the Untamed” a far more malevolent and traditionally supervillainous Skrull from the comics. That’s about where the similarity ends, as that Talos couldn’t shapeshift.
– The Kree propaganda that Skrulls will “silently infiltrate and take over” planets is basically the plot of Marvel’s Secret Invasion event, where it was revealed that a number of Marvel characters had been replaced by Skrull doubles.
– The Skrull kid being afraid of Carol because of her uniform with the Hala star is something that comes up pretty frequently in the comics, including provoking a fight with Apha Flight and scare a refugee kid.
– We don’t get to see much of Torfa or “the locals,” but in the second volume of the Kelly Sue DeConnick Captain Marvel run, Carol helps refugees who have been settled there. She ends up in a showdown with intergalactic dictator/sleazebag J’son, Starlord’s comics dad. It also turns out there’s Vibranium there, and mining it too quickly was making the locals sick.
Like the Skrulls, the Kree were introduced in the pages of Fantastic Four, albeit a little bit later (in 1967).
– Yon-Rogg has been around since the very first Marvel version of Captain Marvel, where he was Mar-Vell’s commanding officer, sending ol’ Marv on dangerous missions that he would sabotage in the hopes of getting rid of him. Why? Because he was in love with the Kree medic, Una, who, of course, only had eyes for Mar-Vell. Did we mention yet that the earliest Captain Marvel comics are very bad? Because they are.
Anyway, Yon-Rogg has also been around since Carol Danvers’ beginning as a superhero – he accidentally caused Carol to get powers when he fought Mar-Vell over that psyche-magnitron. More recently, he resurfaced with a new identity to threaten Carol’s loved ones and use her as a human battery in an attempt to turn NYC into Hala, after the Kree refused to send a rescue mission to Earth. Nice guy.
– When Carol is being held in place for her “meeting” with the Supreme Intelligence at the end, it’s the closest we get to the creepy, skeevy tentacles that the SI has in the comics.
– Minn-Erva probably didn’t die in that canyon, because Dr. Minerva is one of Carol’s recurring nemeses. A Kree geneticist in the comics, she tends to use her brilliant mind create terrifying creatures that Captain Marvel has to defeat.
– Ronan the Accuser is here, having last been seen meeting his fate in Guardians of the Galaxy (20 years later). Ronan was an integral piece of the comic book version of the Kree-Skrull War, although he seems somewhat less essential here.
– You may also recognize Djimon Hounsou’s Korath the Pursuer from Guardians of the Galaxy.
– Before she knows the truth, Carol refers to the Kree as “noble warrior heroes.” In the comics, that is, um…rarely the case. Grant Morrison and JG Jones’ Marvel Boy series perhaps best described the Kree philosophy as being akin to “Zen fascism.”
So, before Carol Danvers was Ms. Marvel, Warbird, Binary, or Captain Marvel…Mar-Vell was Captain Marvel. Despite some not terribly memorable early comics by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, and others. He came into his own a few years later, with a much-improved costume he became a very cool piece of Marvel Comics mythology, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Thanos creator Jim Starlin.
Anyway, that Mar-Vell was Dr. Walter (not Wendy) Lawson, a Kree officer running secret missions on Earth. In the MCU, he is gender swapped to Wendy Lawson – with the Wendy portion likely borrowed the name Wendy from Wendy Kawasaki, who was Carol’s assistant and a brilliant scientist in Alpha Flight.
– In the comics, Mar-Vell dies of cancer after an encounter with a radioactive villain, rather than the way she is dispatched here.
– Mar-Vell’s ship being secretly in orbit feels like a nod to the earliest Mar-Vell comics, when he was doing research on Earth and Yon-Rogg was monitoring from a ship nearby and generally being a shady ass.
MARIA AND MONICA RAMBEAU
– Monica Rambeau was the first woman to bear the title of Captain Marvel and the first person other than Mar-Vell himself. She goes on to be one of Carol’s good friends. So when Nick Fury tells young Monica, “only if you learn to glow,” well, guess what? She eventually does!
– Carol calls Monica “Lt. Trouble” a few times. It’s borrowed from her neighbor/friend Kit, another little girl who she inspires and who helps Carol remember her past.
– Maria Rambeau’s callsign is “Photon” which is one of the aliases that Monica went by during her own superheroic career.
– Maria references the idea that women weren’t allowed to fly combat missions, so they took the opportunity they had with Dr. Lawson. Carol’s mentor Helen Cobb had a similar story, and she and her fellow aviatrixes would fly whenever they could, in an attempt to log enough hours to ever be allowed to fly like the men. IRL, women weren’t allowed to fly combat missions in the US Air Force until 1993, when Jeannie M. Leavitt was the first after the ban was dropped. Brig. Gen. Leavitt trained Brie Larson for this role.
– Goose hates everyone who isn’t Carol, so it’s not surprising Fury lost his eye. The Flerken first appeared in Giant Size Ms. Marvel #1, when she came to Carol in the middle of a fight and never left. In addition to stealing every scene of this movie that she was in, Goose often rode in Carol’s lap or on the dash while she flew.
– While the humans were unaware, Talos immediately identified Goose as a highly dangerous Flerken. In the comics, this role went to Rocket Raccoon, who was equally distrusting of the creature. And yay for Flerken-kitty tentacles and expanding, multi-dimensional mouth-pockets!
– Threatening enemies with a Flerken isn’t a new move. Carol threw her cat at her enemy Traveler, back before she even knew how powerful the cat truly was. It was also sort of an alternate timeline (the House of M universe that Scarlet Witch and her dad Magneto created) so who even know if this really happened, but the cat stuck around and that’s all that matters.
– We learn a bit about Nick Fury in this movie. His middle name is Joseph (just like in the comics). He was born on the fourth of July (because of course he was). And like his comics counterpart, he served in a war, attained the rank of Colonel, and then went into being a super spy. In the comics, Nick served in World War II not Vietnam (which is where this movie’s timeline places Nick’s military service), and did his super spy-ing in the 1960s at the height of the James Bond craze. In the comics, Fury was born in New York City (presumably on the Lower East Side, where his co-creator Jack Kirby grew up), but here it’s Huntsville, Alabama.
– Fury makes a reference to doing spy work in Budapest. There’s a mysterious reference to a mission that went sideways for Black Widow and Hawkeye in Budapest in the first Avengers movie, but that probably doesn’t have any bearing here.
– Funny enough, Fury makes it a point to say nobody calls him Nick. For decades he headlined a comic as “Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD.” And he does indeed identify himself as an “Agent of SHIELD” when they head to the base, and that’s about as close as we’ll ever get to his old comic book title on screen.
– Fury refers to Captain Marvel as “Earth’s first line of defense,” a title that she formally held during her years commanding Alpha Flight, a multinational space station that orbitted earth. During this time Alpha Flight built a shield for Earth that looked an awful lot like the effect we saw in the movie when space ships jumped to the area nearby Earth. Unfortunately, the shield Alpha Flight built was at the request of Captain America when he was secretly working for Hydra as part of the Secret Empire, so it didn’t work out so great.
– “My kids, if I had any…” Nick is implying he has no children. Obviously, a lot can change in roughly 25 years, but in the comics, he most certainly DOES have children. The first was Mikel Fury, who became the villainous Scorpio. The other is Nick Fury, Jr., the character Marvel conveniently introduced so they could have a Nick Fury who more closely resembles his cinematic counterpart running around their comics.
– In the comics, Fury lost his eye because of shrapnel from a grenade during the war. Losing his eye due to a Flerken scratch is…ummm…get your Fanboy Tears mugs ready.
– Nick Fury doing a passable rendition of The Marvelettes’ “Please, Mr. Postman” is an MCU highlight reel moment.
MISCELLANEOUS COOL STUFF
– Stan Lee is reading the screenplay for Mallrats on the train. This is like Stan Lee cameo inception, because he actually had a cameo in that very ’90s cult hit. Somewhere Kevin Smith is losing his goddamn mind with excitement. Mallrats was released in October 1995, so presumably this places this movie some time in 1994, but the timeline seems a little off.
– When Carol gets off the subway, she walks past a woman with bright red hair and cool glasses. That’s Kelly Sue DeConnick, the writer of Captain Marvel from 2012-2015, who’s largely seen as responsible for the character’s current popularity.
– The biker telling Carol to smile was likely referring to not only the reality of street harassment, but a weird complaint where some people claimed Brie Larson didn’t smile in any promotional material for the movie and were mad about it. It’s also associated with Carol’s good friend Jessica Jones.
– Project Pegasus – in the Ms. Marvel years, there’s a throwback to Carol’s early days as a spy for joint USAF/intelligence, she was brought onto a secret mission with Tony Stark called Project Pegasus in Uzbekistan. It was a cloaked plane – it didn’t work and she was captured by insurgents in Afghanistan who turned out to have moles inside Shield.
– When Carol and Monica are flipping through costume colors, the black and white one looks similar to her Warbird getup. the green and white one that her and Monica are like “nah” is Captain Marvel’s first costume, which was awful, before it was redesigned. This tech seems like a nod to her ability to change her costume instantly at will.
– There was a baseball mysteriously on the Kree cruiser – I was hoping for some Red Sox gear since Carol’s a fan, but no dice.
– The Tesseract, of course, was last “seen” in the Marvel timeline in Captain America: The First Avenger, and then will next appear in The Avengers (after this movie’s post-credits scene, of course).
– During the fight with the Accusers, Carol basically throws one bomb into the rest, blowing them all up like knocking down bowling pins (they’re even in formation.) Bowling (candlepin, of course) holds a special place in Carol’s lore, as her father loved it, took her family all the time, and that’s where he told her he could only afford to send one kid to college and picked her not-so-studious brother. There’s also a (possibly unintentional) similarity to the visuals of ’80s arcade classic Missile Command here.
– Fury makes a laser tag reference, likely referring to the actual brand Lazer Tag. Assuming this movie takes place around 1995 (going by the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness poster, it does), this would have been an out of touch thing to say even then. Lazer Tag peaked as a brand in the late ‘80s, and while it was the slicker, cooler product, the cool kids knew Photon was where it was at.
– If Carol “died” in 1989, then she wouldn’t have been able to be playing Street Fighter II: Champion Edition at Pancho’s, as that didn’t come out until 1992!
– When Fury and Carol are driving along a desert highway and he was trying to figure out her deal, it felt ever-so-slighty reminiscent of John Carpenter’s sci-fi/romance/road trip movie, the greatly underrated Starman.
– Carol’s Kree name of “Vers” is pronounced like “Veers” which makes me think of the ill-fated General Veers from The Empire Strikes Back.
– “Leave the lunchbox, take the Tesseract” is the MCU equivalent of “leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
– Yon-Rogg doing the whole “fight me now without your powers” is basically every disingenuous troll on the internet trying to get people to engage in their stupid bad faith arguments with “debate me!” Carol’s response is the appropriate one.
– Carol apparently loves Guns n’ Roses, absurdly misogynistic lyrics and all. But it’s kind of tough to argue with the raw power of that band in that era. The credits thank the Bill Graham archives, so presumably the GnR ticket stub we see is the real deal and not a prop re-creation. If anyone can spot the date of that show, let us know for extra credit.
– Carol picks up a dual VHS copy of The Right Stuff in Blockbuster, a movie that probably appealed to her back in her Air Force days, and a movie that is totally worth your time if you’ve never seen it. She also blows up a True Lies standee, which helps place this movie roughly in 1995 (it had a theatrical release in 1994).
– Taking off to space for an undetermined time is a pretty Carol move – she does it when things go sideways on Earth and she needs to clear her head. She even joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for a bit.
– Fury sees Carol’s call sign, “Avenger” and uses it to name his new initiative of superheroes. This is a fun way to connect Carol’s story to the continuity, and a nod to how often Carol Danvers has been part of (and led) the Avengers. But in the comics, her call sign was Cheeseburger. Tony Stark wanted to know why and she finally relented – in training she had eaten a cheeseburger and puked it up in her plane.
THE POST-CREDITS SCENES
– After seeing Carol make quick work of various communications devices, she tricks Fury’s pager out to the version we saw at the end of Infinity War, which apparently has a range of about three galaxies.
– Black Widow and Carol crossed paths back in their spy days, and Steve Rogers and Carol worked together forever as Avengers. He’s even the one who got her to take the name Captain Marvel…by telling it to the press.
– Are those casualty reports from the end of Infinity War they’re looking at on those screens? That’s…not a good sign.
So what did we miss? Let us know in the comments, and if it checks out, we’ll update this!