WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
The 1990s nostalgia was reason enough to watch Captain Marvel, but adding an orange cat was a pretty genius move. Although the world is divided into cat people and dog people, regardless of your stance, cats are pretty entertaining. That's why millions of people watch videos of them being weirdos and why millions of people own some of these weirdos.
Goose the cat was already a star, even before the public saw him in action on the big screen. How often does an animal actor get a livestream to promote a film? It’s even less often we see a cat in a tie on the red carpet. Introduced in the Ms. Marvel comics as a cat named Chewie, he's later revealed to be a Flerken, a dangerous alien whose body contains pocket dimensions. The Marvel Studios film plays with that idea well, and Goose is even more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than we thought.
We Already Knew Cats Were Aliens
For cat people, Goose is a delight because we’ve always suspected cats are aliens. Why else are they so weird? When Goose is introduced as a regular cat hanging out at the U.S. Air Force facility, Nick Fury acts like most of us would: He fawns over him and calls him a good kitty. Little did Fury know Goose would be the key to a fight later in this film.
Even before Goose reveals himself as a Flerken, he’s still a star; some of the film’s best comedic moments are because of him. Like a cat is wont to do, he shows up where he’s least expected and follows Fury and Carol into a plane. He doesn’t have a little cat seat belt, so he gets pinned against cargo while the plane accelerates, and floats when they go zero gravity.
Plus, there’s the added element of Fury being surprisingly tender toward him the entire time. We wouldn’t have expected the Fury from Iron Man to be obsessed with cats, but it’s clear his character contains multitudes.
Goose’s Role in the MCU
Goose is key in a major fight between the Kree and the Skrulls, and their new ally Captain Marvel. The moments when he shows his Flerken powers — that is, uses his tentacles to attack the Kree soldiers — are hilarious. It’s reminiscent of when Groot rages in Guardians of Galaxy.
However, Goose isn’t merely for comedic effect; he has helped to shape the MCU. For example, he’s responsible for guarding the Tesseract -- the containment vessel for the Space Stone -- while Carol is in space. Yet somehow, we went through 20 Marvel Studios films without knowing the reason behind Nick Fury’s signature eye patch: You guessed it, Goose.
We’ve come to anticipate something significant happening in the post-credits scenes of MCU films, and Captain Marvel is no exception. One is devoted to Goose hacking up the Tesseract, as if it were a hairball, onto Fury’s desk, at an unspecified time after the events of the story. That also suggests Fury adopted the cat (or, really, Goose adopted him), who out at the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility.
This is the first time the MCU has had a pet, and it shouldn’t be the last. If Goose ages like a real cat, he’ll be gone by the time Carol returns for Avengers: Endgame. But perhaps this can open the door for more MCU pets. The merchandising opportunities alone should be reason enough, but really, nothing grabs our attention more than a dog or cat on-screen.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, 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.