WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Captain Marvel, currently in theaters.
Captain Marvel features one of the most sympathetic portrayals of the Skrulls ever depicted. Among the members of the alien race introduced in the film, by far the one who receives the most character depth is Talos. Reimagined as a desperate father trying to protect his family of refugees, the Talos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a far cry from the comics incarnation of the character.
Instead of being introduced as an relatable figure, the Talos of the original Marvel Comics was a more aggressive enemy, going toe to toe with the Hulk in one of his first appearances. He even managed to bring the Hulk to tears! Sort of...
Talos The Tamed
Talos was briefly introduced in Incredible Hulk #418 before making his full-blown first appearance in the following issue, written by Peter David with art by Gary Frank. Crashing the wedding of Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler, Talos made a pretty audacious statement of intent by just straight leaping off a building. This results in the Hulk deciding to investigate the apparent suicide.
It's important to note that at this point in Marvel canon, Bruce Banner and the Hulk had merged into a single form, commonly known as Professor Hulk. Hulk had also just had a conversation with his estranged wife Betty Ross and how she could see him finally controlling the rage that had always haunted him. In the comics, Bruce was really trying to be a more content figure. This doesn't mean he wasn't having to keep down the impulse to beat people up, though.
Talos reveals he's alive and attacks Hulk. However, it quickly becomes apparent that he has no intention of actually winning the fight. Instead, in picking a fight with the Green Goliath, he essentially is attempting to commit suicide. Talos revealed that he was actually one of the few Skrulls who lacked the ability to shape-shift.
While the character was given that ability in Captain Marvel, the comics version was instead just a determined and skilled soldier. But when he was captured by the Kree, his courage gave out and he couldn't bring himself to end his own life via a cyanide capsule in his tooth. Considered a disgrace by his own people, Talos convinced himself that he needed to find his death in battle. So, naturally, he assumed the Hulk would be up for the job.
While the other Skrulls watch from their local ship, Talos manages to do a pretty good job of fighting back against the Hulk. He keeps attacking him, calling the Hulk a genuine threat who would be a worthy enemy to fall to in battle. This is how Talos can regain his honor, once and for all. His attacks prove to be so determined that it actually starts to enrage Professor Hulk. But when Hulk reels back to pummel Talos, he manages to control himself. Thinking of Betty's compliments earlier in the issue about finding a new awareness of his actions, Bruce decides to try a different method.
Namely, he starts to blubber, sob and plead for his life.
That look of pure confusion from Talos is perfect, especially considering his earlier accolades about Hulk single-handily beating down the Super Skrull. Furious that his honorable opponent has turned out to be such a coward, Talos returns to his ship. To his surprise, the Skrulls who had been previously watching the battle and decrying him as "Talos the Tamed" reaffirm their loyalty to Talos in light of him "defeating" the Hulk. The issue ends with a quietly moved Talos returning to space, while Professor Hulk watches from Earth.
Defined by his honor, it makes sense why Captain Marvel would think to use Talos as its main Skrull. Even though the specifics of the character were dramatically changed (the comics version is actually the uncle of the Skrull Queen Veranke, along with his aforementioned lack of shape-shifting abilities), Talos makes for a solid introduction to the race. Who knows though, the MCU version may share his connection to Queen Veranke, which would make him one of the most complicated characters in the MCU, if the rumored Secret Invasion film is ever produced.
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 is in theaters now and 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 Mar-Vell/the Supreme Intelligence.