New Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown and Questions

The new Captain Marvel trailer gives us more clues about Carol Danvers' origin story, but raises some key questions

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel

This article contains potential Captain Marvel spoilers.

The new Captain Marvel trailer arrived during a Monday Night Football game between the team whose fans once boo-ed Santa Claus and the team with the horrifically racist franchise name. And while the NFL is perhaps the one thing I am most ashamed of still watching (and I’m the guy who unironically loves the memetastic 1967 Spider-Man cartoon and every single one of Full Moon’s Subspecies movies), the arrival of a new Captain Marvel trailer was all the excuse I needed to spend some “quality” time watching two teams I do not care about engaged in a contest which will have no effect whatsoever on the hapless team I root for (that would be the team Flash Gordon once played for).

If you haven’t already caught the new Captain Marvel trailer, you might want to watch it before we get into this. Here it is…

Fortunately, this trailer puts the whole “why did Carol Danvers just deck an old lady” debate to rest. Why this question even had to be answered is beyond me, even if you didn’t know that the Skrulls, the film’s alien villains, were shapeshifters. The fact that there was more to that shot (and that shot to the jaw) seemed pretty self-evident. Anyway…

Captain Marvel apparently takes place right smack in the middle of the Kree-Skrull War, a generational conflict between the two most famous alien races in the Marvel Universe, and a concept that has fueled no fewer than three massive Marvel Comics stories through the years. It’s a war so big that clearly Earth is about to become a battleground in it, and that’s certainly not going to be good for anybody involved. Hopefully this war isn’t resolved in this movie, because I could see it becoming the basis for Avengers 5, or, hell, a whole Phase of Marvel movies. While this movie looks cool, it still looks relatively small if we’re gonna go down the Kree-Skrull War route… but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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This is a substantially different origin story for Carol Danvers than the one comic book fans might be used to. Without getting into the little details, all you need to know is that, In the comics (as well as in the excellent, influential, and gone too soon Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series), Carol was an Air Force officer who gained powers via contact with alien technology and/or the original Kree Captain Mar-Vell (depending on which version of the origin you consider canon…and recent comics have changed it even further).

We see Jude Law’s Dr. Walter Lawson giving Carol some pointers here and there in the trailer, but more importantly we see him wearing that snappy Kree uniform, so I’m willing to bet we hear his Kree name at some point, and it had damn well better be Mar-Vell.

But very early on in the trailer, it’s clear that the traditional Carol Danvers’ origin has been tweaked. Or perhaps it’s nowhere to be found. Carol Danvers at least believes she’s a Kree warrior, when in fact, she’s an Earth woman who somehow found herself rescued by the Kree and rebuilt as an alien super soldier. 

Now, before I get into the crazy, potentially spoilery part of this thing, here’s Carol’s cat.

A cat, in case you don’t know, is an alien creature that some humans have a strange fascination with. They force earthlings to do their bidding, and one who has fallen under the spell of an alien feline overlord won’t even mind that the cat shits in a box in the corner of their living room when not making unreasonable demands on its human slaves.

OK, my own suspicion of cats aside, this cat almost certainly IS an alien. A Flerken, in fact, named Chewie. This is what this cat (but not all cats…I guess) looks like in his natural form.

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So, I’ve gotten all the big stuff out of the way, but there’s a few hints in this trailer that are such massive spoilers that I’m going to hide them.

Ready?

Last chance to get out of here! Right after this picture of Nick Fury petting a cat…

Is Carol Danvers a Skrull?

I have to give credit to Gavin Jasper for sneaking this idea into my head like an implanted memory way back when the first trailer dropped.

What if Carol Danvers isn’t an Earth woman who thinks she’s a Kree, but rather a Skrull who thinks she’s an Earth woman who thinks she’s a Kree? There’s one line of dialogue that hints at this, “do you want to know what you really are?” spoken by someone unseen, but presumably someone who doesn’t have Carol’s (or Earth’s) best interests at heart.

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One of the sequels to the Kree-Skrull War comics series was Secret Invasion, which, like many Marvel Comics events of the last 15 years was something of a mess. The basic principle, however, was pretty sound. Secret Invasion revealed that several key figures in the Marvel Universe had actually been replaced by Skrulls, and had been operating undetected for years. Shortly before that, it appeared that Captain Mar-Vell, long thought dead, had returned from the grave.

Until it was revealed that he wasn’t Mar-Vell at all, but rather a Skrull who had undergone a process to bond with Mar-Vell’s DNA so he couldn’t change shape. Using memory implants (hmmmm…) the fake Mar-Vell was a Skrull sleeper agent, waiting his turn. Needless to say, he ends up doing the right thing. Well, at least for a little while, but let’s not get too far into the weeds on this one for now.

It’s pretty convenient that the Kree found her “with no memory” and then took her in and rebuilt her. Could the Skrulls have bonded one of their own with Carol Danvers’ DNA, and then planted her as a sleeper agent with their enemies? And are Carol’s memories of Earth memory implants from the Skrulls…or could they be the memories of the actual Carol Danvers somehow seeping through the bonding process?

Could Marvel be pulling this kind of double fakeout with Carol Danvers in the Captain Marvel movie? I doubt it, mostly because I figure Carol’s loyal fanbase might feel cheated (and rightfully so). On the other hand, this would be perhaps the craziest, most risky move the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken in recent memory. As David Crow put it when I just mentioned this to him, it would be “the Total Recall of Marvel movies.”

I also can’t imagine that if they were going that particular route with Carol, that they’d tease it so overtly with that line. It’s bait for comic book fans, and it just begs to be spoiled in endless news items and trailer breakdowns all over the internet (cut me some slack, I gave you plenty of warning to get out of this article before I got into this particular point!).

In any case, even without this admittedly out there theory, the second Captain Marvel trailer gives fans a lot more to work with than the first, and March 5 can’t get here soon enough. The full schedule of upcoming Marvel superhero movies can be found here.

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Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.