It’s here! Captain Marvel has finally landed, before immediately blasting off again with a fantastic looking first trailer. Aside from looking great, the trailer also gives us our first good look at both the cosmic and earthly lives of Carol Danvers, and a hint of the threat’s she’s going to face. Here’s what we could find.
The trailer opens with a shot of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) plummeting to Earth from an exploding escape pod. As if you needed reminding that she’s a cosmically tough woman, it’s her that does the plummeting through a roof, not the pod itself, and she seems…let’s go with mostly fine after the fact?
The camera pans down to reveal that Carol has landed body-first into a Blockbuster Video which, for the youths among us, is an ancient establishment almost like a physical equivalent of Netflix, where one could go and exchange currencies to rent copies of films and video games. Sarcasm aside, this is your reminder that Carol isn’t landing on a modern, post-Thanos Earth: Captain Marvel is set in the ‘90s.
“War is a universal language,” a young Nick Fury (still played by Samuel L. Jackson with some de-aging digital trickery) tells us, as a beleaguered Carol escapes Blockbuster and heads to a Los Angeles subway station. He continues: “I know a renegade soldier when I see one—never occurred to me that one might come from above.” If the Blockbuster wasn’t enough, there’s your other indication that this is set in Marvel’s past, as a younger SHIELD employee Fury is so far unaware of the idea of space alien superpowered people flying around on his planet.
You’ll also notice that Carol is wearing a differently-colored version of her suit in comparison to what you’d usually see in the comics (although as we’ll see, that variation is in the movie too). The green coloration is a hint to the comic book origins of Carol’s powers—it’s symbolic of the Kree race, a species we’ve seen in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of SHIELD, and is intimately tied with Carol’s roots in the comics.
Carol and another figure (presumably Fury) check out a suitably secretive looking installation. Note Carol’s fetching headwear: this is likely a facility for SHIELD, which has yet to be exposed as being infested with Hydra agents at this point in the Marvel timeline.
As Fury’s narration continues, we get a brief first look at one major threat that will be in the movie, as Fury and another SHIELD agent (who we’ll get to meet a bit later) watch a doctor perform an autopsy on a Skrull. The Skrulls are a shapeshifting race of aliens who have a long history with battling the Kree in the comics, but they’re also known for the infamous “Secret Invasion” event, where they infiltrated the ranks of Earth’s mightiest heroes using their disguising powers to wreak havoc ahead of an invasion.
“Space invasion…” Fury begins, rattling off a list of events that presumably are sparked by Carol’s smashing arrival on Earth. That would seem to imply that this ship uncloaking above Earth is Kree (maybe even the ship Carol arrived on?), but the dialogue could equally refer to the Skrulls making their arrival on Earth.
“Big car chase!” as we get, well, a car chase! This makes it seem like Fury is chasing Carol, who is chasing someone else on the train she climbs aboard—an unknown Skrull, as we’ll see later—but we also get our first brief glimpse of Carol’s powers in action. In the comics, aside from the standard superhuman strength and durability you’d expect, Carol’s powers are based around energy absorption and photonic blasts she can shoot out of her hands.
Fury ponders about how he was almost considering leaving SHIELD before Carol showed up, and we finally get to see him as he corners Carol, presumably post-chase. Yup! That face de-aging tech is still very good and kind of petrifying!
Now that the two have had their meet cute, they can get into the fact that Carol, well, fell from the sky, a thing female sci-fi heroes are wont to do lately. Which means it’s time to learn about Captain Marvel’s new origins—we know they’re getting updated for this film, and we know part of that involves her being more heavily involved with the Kree side of her powers…
As we cut to an alien world called Hala, the home planet of the Kree. And a Carol seemingly very content with it being her home, too.
“I keep having these memories,” Carol recalls, “I see flashes” as we ourselves get a flash of Carol’s past as an Air Force pilot. In the comics, Carol has always had a history with the Air Force, but her piloting background draws heavily from Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel in 2012, when Carol first took on the mantle after decades as the hero Ms. Marvel. You should read it, because this movie draws a lot from that portrayal of the character.
We also get to see her fellow pilot Maria “Photon” Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch. That’s a surname (and codename) that will have longtime comics fans talking—Maria has been described as a single mother in this film, presumably to Monica Rambeau, a hero in the comics who’s gone by many, many names over the years, including Photon…and was actually the first female Captain Marvel, decades before Carol took on the mantle. Given the period setting of the film, this likely means there won’t be a Carol/Monica team up in Captain Marvel, but once we fast forward to the present, who knows?
We get to see even more of Carol’s military training, cut with a few shots of her childhood, as the twist of her new origins is revealed: Carol’s getting flashes of a life she can’t remember, because she’s seemingly been mentally conditioned to think she’s part of Kree society.
But teased moments later, as Carol, in her pilot jumpsuit, is knocked back by an unknown assailant…is her hand glowing with cosmic energies. How Carol originally got powers involved an accident with a Kree device called the Psyche-Magnetron, merging the DNA of a Kree warrior called Mar-Vell (more on him later too!) with her own. Could there be a similar accident that leads to Carol being sent off to Kree for training in the movie?
Training with a side order of brain-tampering, seemingly, as we smash cut to an upside-down Carol being mentally probed back on Hala, as she tells us in the narration that she’s not sure the memories of a life on Earth she’s been seeing are real. Given Fury described her as a renegade soldier earlier on in the trailer, maybe Carol flees Hala to try and find out what her allies have been hiding from her.
Speaking of those allies! We next get to see Carol flanked by two Kree warriors: on the left, Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan). These two are members of a Kree superhero team from the comics that Carol will be a part of in the movie, Starforce. They have a long and weird history in the comics, which you can learn more about here!
Starforce features some other characters in the film, including Bron-Char (Rune Temte) and returning Guardians of the Galaxy characters Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou), but they’re lead by a very intriguing and mysterious commander we get to see here, played by Jude Law. It’s been heavily speculated since the moment Law was cast that his character is actually Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel and whose DNA got mixed with Carol’s in the comics to give her his superpowers. Law has danced around this speculation for now, and the trailer doesn’t really give us any more clues, but we know his character is a mentor figure to Carol while she’s on Hala, helping her adapt to her powers.
A very intriguing montage of shots showing young Carol growing up ends with a shot of her in some sort of advanced flight craft, while in space…but this looks to be when she’s still a pilot, rather than after. So what if that shot of a decloaking spaceship from earlier—which included some kind of Earth craft that could be this one—is not from Carol returning to Earth, but the start of the encounter that gives her her powers?
The Skrulls are suitably all over this trailer, while at the same time being very hard to actually spot. This is the best shot we get of a group of them all, emerging onto a beach. We don’t know much beyond that, other than that they’ll be fronted by a Skrull villain named Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn. In the comics, Talos was actually born without the ability to shapeshift, which he compensated for by…killing lots of people, basically. He earned the nickname “the Untamed” and became one of the Skrull’s most feared warriors.
Speaking of Skrulls, we’re back on that train Carol leaped on top of earlier in the trailer. Remember what we said about shapeshifting? Skrulls can turn into anyone to blend in, so Carol isn’t just recklessly beating up the elderly in an attempt to get high strung baby boomers to stop complaining about millennial entertainment or whatever. She’s recklessly beating up a Skrull in disguise as an old lady. Much better. But also probably not a good look for what’s probably her first public hero appearance.
After a shot of an explosive space battle, we get two shots of some other returning characters: the aforementioned Ronan the Accuser is first, standing on the bridge of a ship overlooking earth—presumably that decloaking ship from earlier, confirming it as Kree in origin?
And then there’s Fury’s SHIELD partner…a young Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Coulson lives, again! Well, he was always alive at this point in the Marvel timeline, but anyway yes, the son of Coul is in Captain Marvel, and also in the early days of his SHIELD career.
“We have no idea what threats are out there…we can’t do this alone,” intones Fury, as he sends a message on his period-appropriate beeper. Which, give or take a few additions and modifications over the next couple of decades, is presumably the same beeper he taps out a final message for aid at the end of Infinity War, bringing Carol back to beat up the Mad Titan in Avengers 4.
Carol goes on an underwater mission with the rest of the Starforce, giving us a very cool look at an addition to her suit: a battle mask design from the comics affectionately known as the “faux hawk” look for Carol by fans. Although it’s the Kree version of her suit here, there’s a chance we get to see this in the red-and-blue version too: Samuel L. Jackson sneakily gave us a look at a crew t-shirt on social media recently, featuring the look.
Meanwhile, back in Carol’s past, this is definitely the moment she gets her powers. Remember how we mentioned energy absorption was a thing she can do?
And here’s another beautiful shot of Carol’s masked look in action—sans holographic breathing apparatus this time.
Not only is this one of the best set of cuts in the trailer, but the final shot also gives us our first tiny glimpse in the trailer of Carol’s comics-colors. But what’s interesting in that shot is who Carol is squaring off against. They’re hard to see given the blur, but still:
That’s basically a black version of the Kree armor and Carol’s suit. And whoever’s wearing is definitely not Kree-blue. It seems like the only person we could really speculate as to who this is, is Jude Law’s character. Does he turn on Carol when she decides to fight for her real home?
After Carol tells someone off-camera that she’s “not what you think I am,” with a young girl barely seen in the frame present. Could this be Monica Rambeau, Maria’s daughter?
The trailer ends with this spectacular money shot: the mighty Captain Marvel, brimming with energy as she prepares to square off with someone. You’ve probably seen people referring to this as Carol going “Binary”—a reference to one of Carol’s past identities in the comics from a time when she became a super powerful cosmic hero for a bit. When Carol absorbs enough energy, she can briefly re-unlock those vast cosmic powers and kick serious ass, which she looks like she’s about to do in style. And a reminder, Marvel’s Kevin Feige has stated on numerous occasions that Carol is more powerful than any other character in the MCU.