Marvel Studios is going back in time for Brie Larson's Captain Marvel. The film takes place in the 1990s, years before Tony Stark created a suit of flying armor, Steve Rogers was de-iced, or Thor set foot on modern day Midgard. This week saw the announcement that production has begun, and a new synopsis offers up more details regarding Carol Danvers' adventures.
The film's updated description also happens to tease a possible influence from Marvel Comics' Secret War miniseries.
The opening sentence of the synopsis reads, "The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races." As we already know, those two alien races are the Kree and Skrulls who will be engaged in a version of the "Kree-Skrull War" comic book storyline. This, of course, raises one huge question: How does Marvel Studios establish that Earth was in the middle of a galactic war between the Kree and Skrulls in the 1990s, while having never referenced it in any previous Marvel Cinematic Universe film or television show?
The post-credits scene for 2008's Iron Man featured S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury introducing himself to Tony Stark, with the already grizzled super-spy telling the narcissistic inventor that he wasn't the only superhero in the world, that he's now become part of a larger universe. We would quickly learn how correct Fury was, as the MCU has grown larger with new characters in each passing film. However, despite Captain Marvel taking place decades before Marvel's first movie, there have been no references to any superheroes operating post-Captain America until Iron Man's (or, arguably, the Hulk's) arrival.
How could S.H.I.E.L.D. have kept the Kree-Skrull War and Captain Marvel hush-hush from the general public? Well, perhaps the reason is that the film's war is actually a secret war, similar to the one detailed in 2004-2005's Secret War miniseries by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Gabriele Dell'Otto, which saw Nick Fury recruit various heroes like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Black Widow and more for an under-the-radar mission.
We know a much younger Nick Fury appears in Captain Marvel, so the mastermind behind Secret War is already present. Carol Danvers being the only powered individual in the 1990s makes her an obvious choice to fight the Kree and Skrull, particularly considering Fury likely won't have many heroes to pick from. And, if any S.H.I.E.L.D. agents or civilians find themselves involved in the galactic showdown (either in space or on Earth), Fury could use brainwashing techniques to erase their memories of the events. This is what Fury used on Marvel's heroes in the Secret War comic, and could be the reason no one remembers Captain Marvel in the current day.
An added benefit of Captain Marvel using elements of Secret War is the opportunity to plant seeds for a potentially massive storyline for the MCU's Phase 4. If we saw the start of the Skrulls infiltrating Earth, where their agents take the place of recognizable figures in the MCU, the stage would be set to follow up on Avengers 4 with the big screen adaptation of another popular comic story event, Secret Invasion. But that, of course, is a whole other story.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as Walter Lawson/Mar-Vell and Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva. The film is targeted for release on March 8, 2019.