SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp, in theaters now.
Captain Marvel may have cast Rick Jones right under our noses -- but this version of the character may be more of a Raquel than a Rick. When She’s Gotta Have It star DeWanda Wise was cast in a mysterious role back in January, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans began to speculate about just who she could be playing. Since then, Wise has left the role and been replaced by Still Star-Crossed's Lashana Lynch, but the role remains a mystery. Thanks to a key moment in Ant-Man and the Wasp and the film's source material, though, we believe we've figured it out. Lynch may be playing Rick Jones, a character central to The Kree-Skrull War conflict.
First, let's talk about the speculation surrounding Lynch's role. Since the role was announced, many have assumed she will play a character like Monica Rambaeu's Spectrum (originally a Captain Marvel herself) or Captain Universe. While this writer would like to see these characters in the MCU post-haste, the act of including one or the other in this particular movie may be a missed opportunity. After all, Captain Marvel takes place in the 90s; considering this, Lynch may play a one-off character who will stay in this era. Seeing as the MCU takes place in real time (for the most part), her character will be significantly older by the time of Avengers 4 -- if she survives the events of Captain Marvel, anyway. Spectrum and Captain Universe could spin off into their own franchise, so introducing them in the 90s as opposed to the present would simply be a misuse of the characters.
In order to postulate about Captain Marvel, we need also discuss The Kree-Skrull War and Rick Jones' role in it. The comic opens as the Kree soldier Mar-Vell returns to Earth from the Negative Zone. Though he had been trapped there for a while, he was able to escape with a little help from Jones. Prior to the event comic, the Kree Supreme Intelligence had telepathically linked Mar-Vell and Jones together. When Jones donned a set of nega-bands and clashed them together, he could switch places with Mar-Vell for a brief period of time, allowing Mar-Vell to roam the Earth.
So, at the start of The Kree-Skrull War, Jones and Mar-Vell swapped places to free Mar-Vell from the Negative Zone, if only for a moment. However, due to his time in the Negative Zone, he had absorbed a lethal amount of radiation. Thanks to some help from Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, he ultimately got cured -- but not before he used the Fantastic Four's portal to the Negative Zone to free Jones.