WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
The major question surrounding the 1990s setting of Captain Marvel wasn't necessarily how Brie Larson's Carol Danvers would join the fight against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but rather, where has she been all of this time. Perfectly sound theories ranged from the Quantum Realm to elsewhere in time to in suspended animation.
But with Captain Marvel now in theaters, we finally have the answer, and it's relatively simple: She's been away, on the other side of the universe.
The film reveals a pretty massive twist: the shape-shifting alien Skrulls, whom we thought were the villains of Captain Marvel, are actually an endangered race hunted down by the Kree. They're not plotting an invasion of Earth, but rather searching for a new home where they can live in peace, safe from their archenemies. That's what Carol's late mentor, Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), secretly the Kree scientist Mar-Vell, was working toward at the time of her death.
After she learns the truth about Mar-Vell and the Skrulls, and the Kree are defeated, Carol takes it upon herself to continue her mentor's mission. As the movie ends, Carol sets off for the ends of the universe with the Skrulls in tow, in the hope of finding a new planet for the refugees to live.
That may not the big revelation some fans were expecting, given all the secrecy surrounding Avengers: Endgame, but it nevertheless leaves a little room for speculation.
Of course, it's possible that, during that time, something else happened that could tie into the fan theories. But given that, in the mid-credits scene, Carol meets the Avengers after answering Fury's distress call, it doesn't appear that she was stuck anywhere.
But then, how does that explain how Carol hasn't aged since the mid-1990s? The answer could be found in interstellar travel. Time may not pass in the same way that it does on Earth. Or perhaps Carl's powers slow her aging.
Captain Marvel has given us the answer we were looking for, while allowing for a little mystery.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence.