Warning: The following contains spoilers for Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel introduced a slew of new characters that will change the fabric of the Marvel film universe. Captain Marvel itself is the last great hope of Earth against Thanos, and the new movie marks the first time that fans have seen the superhero wielding the photon in action. The Skrulls, with their shape-changing abilities, could turn the established MCU relationships and organizations into pretzels if they wish – including the Avengers. And the aliens of Kree, some of whom Captain Marvel have revealed to be warmongers and propagandists, seem to be more nefarious and threatening than we thought.
But perhaps the most intriguing character is not the one who can shape the future of the MCU, but rather those who have already modified it, and those who lived together with some of our favorite characters: the scientist Wendy Lawson, or Kree's scientist Mar-Vell, played by the inimitable Annette Bening.
Bening, technically, plays two characters; it is also the avatar of Kree's supreme intelligence, which takes the form of the person you most admire. But it is Mar-Vell who actually had a hand in recovering an Infinite Stone, inspiring Carol Danvers to be a hero and moving the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
His character is also a turning point in the history of the origins of Carol Danvers comics, a strident tribute to a Marvel Comics hero, and a landmark for how far Danvers arrived.
The great revelation of Mar-Vell and Project Pegasus in Captain Marvel explained
Bening's Wendy Lawson is only in Captain Marvel for about eight minutes in total. But no other character approaches his minute impact on the overall story of the film.
Captain Marvel introduces Lawson during a flashback sequence in which Carol Danvers is captured by the Skrulls and inserted into their memory scanner machine. Lawson appears in the memories of Danvers and the result, as we are told by Kree, is that the Skrulls believe that Lawson is the key to technological progress that will help them win the war between the two species.
This makes Lawson a person of interest when Danvers crashes on Earth. Finding Lawson is especially important for Danvers, not only to help the Kree win the war, but to help her learn more about her previous life on Earth (Lawson is also the figure in which the Supreme Intelligence takes shape when it appears) to Carol).
As the public and Danvers eventually discover, Lawson is actually part of a joint organization of NASA and the US Air Force called Project Pegasus. Although the scope of the Pegasus Project research and what they are doing exactly with all their funding and their technology is not entirely clear, Captain Marvel shows Lawson and Danvers talking about flying during their previous life on Land of Danvers.
But in a massive revelation, Lawson turns out to be a Kree scientist named Mar-Vell who was actually trying to help the Skrulls find a new home. The Skrulls are actually refugees. At the end of the film, it is clear that the Skrulls are not the bad guys, and the Kree are not the "noble warriors" in which they were portrayed ̵
Mar-Vell discovered it and later decided to help the Skrulls. While at Project Pegasus, he was trying to find them a new home, and some of his efforts were focused on harnessing the power of the Tesseract – the object we know from previous Marvel films is eventually revealed as a powerful Infinite Stone.
In Captain Marvel Mar-Vell of Bening dies trying to help and protect the Skrulls, and his death inspires Danvers to finish Mar-Vell's mission.
The presence of Mar-Vell and Project Pegasus fill some spaces in the Marvel film universe
The nice thing about Mar-Vell is that the character, along with Captain Marvel over the years & Setting (a period of time that we had not yet seen in the MCU), adds a new wrinkle to what we thought we knew about the MCU and the Tesseract, or Space Infinity Stone.
A couple of things to keep in mind: 1) The chronology of the MCU does not correspond to the order in which his films were published, and 2) the first time the audience saw the Tesseract on the screen was in May 2011, during Thor's post-credit scene (more on this in a bit).
In the history of the MCU, the full history of the Tesseract began several decades ago.
The first time we're complete presented to the Tesseract is in Captain America: The First Avenger released in July 2011. The First Avenger is set in the early years & # 39; 40 , and its plot revolves around the Red Skull to track down the Tesseract in Norway (through Nordic mythology) and steal it in the hope that it can cultivate and harness its energies to win the Second World War. Captain America obstructs Red Skull's plan, Red Skull is teleported through a wormhole created by Tesseract, and both Captain America and the Tesseract finally throw themselves into the ocean.
At the end of The first avenger Howard Stark finds the Tesseract, but cannot find Cap:
In the MCU chronology, we know that Stark continued to study the Tesseract because of designs shown in Iron Man 2 – released in 2010, before the first official sighting of Tesseract in Thor and its background in The First First Avenger but takes place about six decades later The First Avenger .
The drawings of Howard Stark in Iron Man 2 imply that the Tony Stark arc reactor (and its various permutations) relies on Tesseract technology originally discovered by Howard Stark – but we did not know when Iron Man 2 came out. It wasn't until The First Avenger began to reveal the story of Tesseract that we started getting a more complete picture.
So, according to The First Avenger and Iron Man 2 the Tesseract was found by Howard Stark post-World War II and studied by Stark for an indefinite amount of time. In the end, Nick Fury gets to own it.
It is here that Captain Marvel begins to fill in some blanks. In Captain Marve we learn that the Tesseract was somehow owned by Mar-Vell in 1989 (and perhaps some years before) – the year he died and that Carol Danvers was captured by the # Kree army.
It gives us a hint of what was happening with Tesseract before we assisted Loki to steal it from Fury in 2012 The Avengers ( which takes place around 2008 or 2012 in the MCU – Spider-Man : Homecoming tinkered with the timeline, leading to a controversial debate about when Avengers took place ).
And the key to the timeline is Project Pegasus.
In Iron Man 2 it was revealed that Howard Stark was working with Project Pegasus before his death in 1991. Tony Stark opens a box of files labeled "Project Pegasus" in the film, when he is trying to creates his new element:
Mar-Vell also worked with Project Pegasus – was introduced in Captain Marvel as a joint NASA-USAF project that SHIELD has access to While we do not know if Mar-Vell and Howard Stark crossed the streets before he died in 1989 and died in 1991, neither Captain Marvel specify exactly how long Mar-Vell did research on the Tesseract or when he took it to his lab spatial, a sort of transfer of Tesseract takes place at the Pegasus Project.
In Captain Marvel we see that the "cat" Danose Goose uses his tentacular mouth to keep the Tesseract with him and Nick Fury for safety, and it isn't until decades later – as you can see in one of the films two scenes of end credits – that Goose sends him on Nick Fury's desk, presumably delivering it to Fury and SHIELD
The Pegasus project also binds to the scene of Thor credits of 2011 and of 2012 The Avengers . In the scene Thor Fury asks Dr. Selvig – a scientist working with Jane Foster and witness of the events of Thor – to search for the Tesseract in a secret underground laboratory. However, without Fury's knowledge, Loki is plotting in the shadow:
Then in The Avengers before everything turned into chaos and an intergalactic invasion, it was revealed that the lab where Selvig worked is called … Pegasus Project!
In The Avengers the operation is a joint venture between NASA and S.H.I.E.L.D. – A slight difference from when we learn that it is a joint venture between NASA and the US Air Force in Captain Marvel.
But its main purpose seems to study the Tesseract.
Captain Marvel reveals that the Tesseract had a brief detour of space-time in the 90's and that the Skrulls and the Kree, along with some cosmic beings like Captain Marvel and the late Mar-Vell, everyone knows his existence to some extent.
After that, it does not re-emerge in the MCU history up to The Avengers . After Earth's most powerful heroes defend the planet from the Chitauri invasion of Loki, Thor returns Tesseract (and Loki) to Asgard for safety. Everything is relatively good until the events of Thor of 2017: Ragnarok when Asgard is destroyed and Loki saves the Tesseract last moment.
Then in 2018 Avengers: Infinity War Thanos kills Loki and reveals that the Tesseract is actually an Infinite Stone crushing it on the palm. In the end, Thanos assembles the Infinity Gauntlet, snaps his fingers, and puffs – half the life in the universe disappears. Expect someone to fill Carol Danvers on all these details – perhaps in abbreviated form – in April Avengers: Endgame .
Mar-Vell's presence in Captain Marvel is also a tribute to the comics
The Tesseract's possession of Mar-Vell and involvement with the rest of the MCU are not the only Easter eggs of the character in Captain Marvel . In fact, Mar-Vell is actually a big part of Carol Danvers's story of origin – with a twist.
When Danvers was first introduced in Superheroes of Marvel n. 13 in 1968, Mar-Vell's alter ego of Dr. Wendy Lawson was actually Dr. Walter Lawson, and Danvers was Lawson's love interest:
The love of superheroes is adorable, right?
The problem is that Danvers, in many of his first appearances, was a sort of unfortunate girlfriend. And even when he became a superhero in the 70s, the initial idea was that Danvers would have had a bad headache or fainting spell as his superhero character took over, leaving the current Danvers with no memory of performing superhuman companies.
Captain Marvel introduces puts a new twist in this story by making Walter a Wendy.
Much of the Danvers original story is otherwise left intact in the film – the explosion of a Kree device is what guarantees its powers, just like in comics. But in the comics, it happened because the explosion caused Mar-Vell to give some of his Kree powers to Danvers, who was his girlfriend at the time (the explosion and the story of origin was revealed in 1977 Ms Marvel N. 2):
On the contrary, the film sees Danvers take on a more active role, making the device explode on purpose to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. It is in line with the most modern comics, in which Danvers is the author of his own destiny.
The screenplay by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on the comic Captain Marvel in 2012 gave Danvers an agency in getting his powers, introducing a paradoxical plot in which he actively chose to acquire superhuman abilities and become the hero he wants to be:
The passage to make Mar-Vell a woman in the movie Captain Marvel seems inspired by a character from DeConnick's race, Helen Cobb.
Cobb is a pilot that Danvers greatly admires, not unlike Danvers who admires Wendy Lawson / Mar-Vell in the film (and sees the Supreme Intelligence take the form of Lawson). Cobb also flies jets, with the regret of his Air Force leaders who do not allow women to fly. And Lawson / Mar-Vell and Cobb of Bening have some similarities in their appearance, namely their short hair and jackets.
Here's another shot of Cobb, slightly younger than her in that newspaper clipping: