If you saw the Captain Marvel trailer or poster, you may have noticed Carol Danvers’ furry friend. That little fuzzball is known in the comics as Chewie, Carol’s temperamental cat*. For Marvel’s March 8th Captain Marvel movie, Carol’s pet cat is named Goose. While it’s a bummer that we’re losing the Star Wars reference and original name, at least Goose is still a period-appropriate pop culture reference (Top Gun), for which Carol is known, and still a fellow pilot to boot.
*actual species may vary
What’s a Flerken?
A Flerken is a highly intelligent alien from Earth-58163 that takes the shape of a vicious beast known as a housecat. They’re incredibly rare, and reproduce by laying eggs (although it’s not clear if they require a mate to do so…).
Flerkens can attack enemies or defend themselves with the fangs and tentacles hidden in their cheeks, with the aid of the pocket dimensions they have there. Those pocket dimensions are little bubbles of space-time that allow them to store things, like the ultimate intergalactic chipmunk cheek pouch or some kind of facial TARDIS. Any questions?
Whatever you call her, Chewie was much more than just a pet in the comics. Chewie first appeared in Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1 (April 2006) and was presumed to be a regular cat until Rocket ran into her in space and immediately called her out for the terrifying, rare murder-species known as a Flerken. Rocket and Chewie have a rather, er, tense relationship.
Carol defended Chewie, but Rocket refused to trust the creature and even tried to sell her on the black market, as the smuggler is wont to do. It turned out Rocket was right: Chewie was a Flerken, the last of her kind. That brought some extremely eager buyers just in time for Chewie’s babies to start hatching (yes, hatching) all over Carol’s ship. Luckily, Captain Marvel fought them off and eventually found a safe planet for the wee flerkens to grow up.
Chewie is part of what makes the Captain Marvel books so much fun – a bait and switch that makes you laugh on both ends, something deadly but also so, so fluffy! Seeing Chewie’s eggs hatch into 117 fluffy little Fler-kitties in a small space pod was delightful, but seeing Chewie unleash holy hell on the black market jerks who came to take them was even more fun. Flerkens are totally deadly, when they want to be. Lucky for Carol, Chewie is a loyal cat. Flerken. Whatever.
Once, when Captain Marvel was fighting the shapeshifter Mim, she took Chewie’s form, taking Carol by surprise. It didn’t take long for Carol to figure out the deception, since Chewie would never attack her human/Kree bff, but it still meant that Carol had to take on a Flerken, tentacles and all.
Chewie has never really gotten over her dislike of Rocket, and takes every opportunity to give him a hard time – and he’s not the only one. As Carol’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, James Rhodes was regularly called in to catsit Chewie, who was not at all interested in being catsit. Jessica Drew refuses to watch her.
The few people (other than Carol) who Chewie seems to like/tolerate are Monica Rambeau, Lady Thor, and Wendy Kawasaki, who pet her during their #WomenofMarvel poker nights, and Lt. Commander Abigail Brand, which I can only assume is a matter of respect from one surly badass lady to another.
There’s some fun foreshadowing throughout Kelly Sue DeConnick’s 2012 run about Chewie’s true nature, like when Carol “deputizes” a random civilian to take Chewie to the “secret Avengers base” AKA the vet. The man asks if the cat is dangerous, and Carol deadpans yes. At the time, she had no idea how true this is.
There are other similar jokes throughout, but one of Carol and Chewie’s most memorable experiences together is at the hospital in the lead-up to The Enemy Within crossover. Carol’s doctor told her to come in for some news and recommended she bring friends or family. She was not expecting a cat, alien or otherwise. There was a whole circus of loved ones completely unaware in the waiting room, but it was Chewie who Carol trusted to get her through the bad news of her brain lesion.
Chewie is always on the lookout to protect Captain Marvel, whether that means guarding her New York apartment from villains, hissing at Rocket while flying through space with the Guardians of the Galaxy, or walking around the Alpha Flight space station like she owns the place. She even “helps” Carol’s mom with the gardening and fights with the Danvers family’s earth-cat Sox when Carol takes time off from being an Avenger to care for her brother after a traumatic brain injury.
Goose’s role in the movie.
What role might Goose play in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie? Goose has been heavily featured on Captain Marvel promotion and merch, so we know she will be a big part of the movie—we even get a clip of her with Nick Fury in the trailer. Whatever happens, I’m pulling for Goose to be a Flerken and all that that entails, even if that isn’t revealed right away.
Those giant tentacles would look amazing on the big screen, and there’s something so powerful about people underestimating a sweet little kitty who turns out to be a ferocious and deadly killer. It reinforces the way people underestimate women generally and Carol Danvers specifically, and it also makes for a funny moment when Carol herself finds out that even her cat is an alien.
One other extremely important detail about Flerkens: they’re transportation hubs, literally living gateways to pocket dimensions (Captain Marvel #8, December 2014). Those pocket dimensions they hold in their cheeks, which are how they store their Flerken anatomy inside a cat-sized body, are incredibly important. You can go to other times, places, or even dimensions via Flerkens, though the comics suggest it’s a rather gross experience when Tic uses it so she and Chewie can rejoin Carol on her adventures after Chewie gives birth..
After Avengers: Infinity War, one popular fan theory is that everyone who died when Thanos snapped his finger actually went to another dimension – all the remaining Avengers need to do is retrieve them. What better way than with a Flerken? And how cool (and weird!) would that be to see on the big screen?! After all, we know from the end of Infinity War that Nick Fury summoned Carol Danvers so clearly she will play an important role in Avengers: Endgame. I have my theories about what else that may be, but having a pet who can transport you to another dimension certainly seems like an advantage right about now.
Whatever happens with Goose on screen, whether that means she eventually saves a bunch of Avengers, takes out Nick Fury’s eye, or is just Carol’s best co-pilot, I’m excited for this major Easter egg for the Captain Marvel movie, and I hope we get to keep watching Carol and her space-cat’s adventures for a long time to come.
The full schedule of upcoming Marvel superhero movies can be found here.
Delia Harrington is a freelance writer and photographer focusing on social justice and pop culture through a feminist lens. Read more of her work here.