When Marvel announced they were making a Captain Marvel movie, it seemed like only hardcore fans of the comics knew who this was, but their levels of excitement were proof enough that this was a character people should get to know. And why not, as she has a long and interesting history in the Marvel comics, and that’s just the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel. That’s right, there is more than one version of Captain Marvel, so read on to find out more about that!
Considering the Danvers version is the most popular one—and the Marvel movie will follow her—there’s quite a lot to learn about her and her amazing back-story. Danvers has been considered one of the most powerful heroes—man, woman, or alien—in the Marvel Universe, and at one point was the most powerful by far. Her influences also stretch beyond the page and into the real world, as she has been a symbol of hope and progress for women all over the world.
So, before Captain Marvel becomes a household name and the movie breaks box office records, read up on the hero who will be the key to defeating Thanos, and find out what makes her so powerful and special!
38. Voice Work
Captain Marvel may be making her big screen debut in 2019 but she has appeared on the small screen—in animation form—many times before. She popped up on animated shows like X-Men: The Animated Series, Avengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy, animated movies like Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, and even video games like Marvel VS Capcom Infinite and Lego Marvel Avengers. Multiple actresses have voiced the character, too, but Grey DeLisle seems to be a favorite as she has been the voice of Captain Marvel seven times in multiple formats.
36. Everybody Loves Carol
There have actually been multiple people, and even aliens, who have gone by the name Captain Marvel—more on that later—but the most common and popular one is Carol Danvers. She became half Kree and half human after she was caught in a Psyche-Magnetron explosion with Mar-Vell—a Kree warrior—and her DNA merged with his, resulting in her gaining powers.
33. Making the Cut Part Two
Not everyone has been a member of the Avengers though, so an even more definitive list would be one that focuses on Marvel characters in general, and sure enough, Captain Marvel has appeared on a fair share of those as well. IGN’s top 25 best Marvel superheroes sees Captain Marvel at number 22 while CBR’s 25 strongest Marvel heroes has her at number 10. Screen Rant has her ranked the highest at number two on their 28 most powerful Marvel heroes list.
32. Name Game
Mar-Vell is actually an important character to know, as he is the original Captain Marvel. His origin goes back to 1967 when he was created by Stan Lee, however, it starts to get tricky from there as he is technically only the original Captain Marvel in the Marvel universe. There was a hero created by Fawcett Comics in the 1940s with the same name who would later be bought by DC. They kept the name for as long as they could, but after a lengthy legal dispute with Marvel they changed it to Shazam! That exclamation mark isn’t there because we’re excited. It’s actually part of his name.
31. Better Late Than Never
Since there was already a Captain Marvel when Danvers made her debut in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in 1968, she was simply introduced as a fighter pilot for the US Air Force. Unlike most superheroes, though, she didn’t have a typical origin story, as she would stay a civilian in the comics for years before she gained her powers.
30. What Could Have Been
Before Captain Marvel makes her debut on the big screen in the self-titled movie, there were plans to have her appear in two separate Marvel properties—a cameo in Age of Ultron and a much bigger role in Jessica Jones. In fact, Captain Marvel was supposed to be Jones’s best friend/sidekick but ended up being replaced by the character Trish Walker, who the writers felt was a better fit for Jones.
29. Years in the Making
Danvers may have been introduced in the comics in 1968 but it would take nearly ten years before she would become a superhero, and over 40 years before she would take on the mantle of Captain Marvel. Danvers originally went by the name Ms. Marvel from 1977 to 2012 before finally switching to Captain Marvel.
28. Expanding the Universe
Captain Marvel will see a lot of characters return to the MCU as well as the introduction of brand new ones, or more specifically, brand new races. The main villains of the film will be Skrulls, which are an alien race that can shapeshift. This will be the first time this race appears in the MCU.
27. History in the Making
Even though Black Widow is an OG Avenger dating all the way back to Iron Man 2, and Scarlet Witch has been around since Age of Ultron, neither of them have gotten a solo film, making Captain Marvel the first female-led MCU film and film number 21 in the MCU. Not bad for a character who has never appeared on screen, or even been mentioned aside from her logo popping up on a beeper in the post-credits scene from Infinity War.
26. The Many Faces of Captain Marvel
As mentioned earlier, Danvers isn’t the only superhero to go by the name Captain Marvel, and aside from Mar-Vell, the others have been mainly women. Other characters that have taken on the Captain Marvel name include Sharon Ventura, Karla Sofen, and Kamala Khan. Khan even holds the distinction of being the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel comic.
25. Symbol of Hope
Danvers is not only a heroic woman but also a hero for women, specifically when she was going by the name Ms. Marvel, which was seen, at the time, as a feminist symbol and a statement for women’s rights. Back then, the abbreviation “Ms.” was starting to be used by more and more women over the abbreviations “Miss” and “Mrs.” It was also the name of a feminist magazine co-founded by Gloria Steinem. For a female superhero to also chose that title was a powerful and uplifting message for women of all ages.
24. Casting a Wide Net
Danvers has been associated with numerous organizations, groups and teams throughout the years, as a civilian and as a superhero. Danvers worked for the Air Force, NASA, the CIA, and S.H.I.E.L.D. As Captain Marvel, she was a member of The Avengers, New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, A-Force, Starjammers, Defenders, Excalibur, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy. She also founded The Ultimates and was the leader of the Alpha Flight Space Program. Either she wants to help out in as many ways as possible. or she’s really picky when it comes to choosing a career path.
23. Putting in the Reps
To get into shape for the movie, Larson trained for nine months, and to be as authentic as possible for when she appears on screen as Danvers, Larson visited an Air Force base, met with various pilots and learned about different fighter jets. She even got the chance to fly one!
22. Is There Anything She Can’t Do?
Captain Marvel has quite the list of superpowers, ranging from generic ones like super strength, super speed, and flight to a few that are less common, like psychic powers and the ability to absorb energy and project it as an energy blast. It’s no wonder that she is considered one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel comics and—according to Kevin Feige—soon to be the most powerful in the MCU!
21. Adding More and More Layers
Danvers first costume as Ms. Marvel was met with fan backlash, as it appeared to be more provocative than practical since she wore essentially just a bathing suit. She then switched to a black semi-leotard for a bit before donning the classic blue and red outfit when she took over the mantle of Captain Marvel.
20. All That Work for Nothing
Before the Captain Marvel movie was announced, storyboard artist Ben Bates brought an idea for an animated Captain Marvel show to Marvel Animation, and ended up putting together a five-minute sample piece that he wrote and drew himself. He even went as far as to hire actors to voice the characters in it. Unfortunately for him, not only did it not get picked up, but Marvel wouldn’t even listen to his pitch!
19. Wiped Clean
Danvers once lost her powers and memory after a confrontation with the mutant Rogue, who has the ability to borrow other heroes’ powers by touching them. She was saved from any further damage or possible death by Spider-Woman and was taken in by Professor X, who was able to restore Danvers memories. Unfortunately, it took a lot longer for her powers to eventually come back.
18. Add It to the List
When Danvers officially became Captain Marvel in 2012, it marked the sixth time a character in the comics adapted that name as their alter ego.
Danvers was technically still the security director for NASA when she gained her powers, making it difficult for her to maintain that position. The last straw was when she refused to give up her friend, Mar-Vell, to NASA, leading to her being forced to resign from the position. She clearly wasn’t happy about the decision, as she would go on to write a tell-all article exposing NASA. It went viral and helped her land a new job.
16. Butting Heads
After the article on NASA gained mainstream attention, Danvers got offered a job with the Daily Bugle, the same publication that Peter Parker works for. She was immediately named the editor for the new Women’s Magazine that the paper was starting, but—not surprisingly—she quickly clashed with J. Jonah Jameson over the direction of the magazine and was replaced. She would go on to deal with more important issues anyway, like saving the world on multiple occasions.
15. A Thousand Ways to Die
In the comic book world, superheroes die and come back to life all the time, and Captain Marvel is no exception. Some have been straightforward deaths, like when Norman Osborn hired Ghazi Rashid to assassinate her, while others have been a bit more complicated and downright strange. Basically, when Rogue stole her powers, she also absorbed Danvers memories and personality. To get rid of all of that, Rogue expelled a physical form of Danvers from her body, and that version was murdered by Magneto. There’s a reason why comic book movies leave out a lot of material from the comic books.
14. Breaking the Mold
Captain Marvel will take place in the 1990s and be an origin story but, according to the writers, not in the traditional sense. Due to the high number of origin story movies, the filmmakers have made a conscious effort to, “subvert the traditional structure of how a superhero origin story is told.” It’s unclear exactly what that will entail, but it’s just another of many reasons to go see the film!
13. Fountain of Youth
To make the movie even more authentic with its 1990s setting, both Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg—who play Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, respectively—will be de-aged 25 years for the entire movie to look like the younger versions of themselves.
12. Turning a Negative Into a Positive
After she lost her powers, Danvers was kidnapped by an alien race called the Brood, who would go on to abuse and experiment on her, due to their fascination with her half Kree and half human DNA. However, this actually resulted in her not only getting her powers back, but more enhanced versions of them, making her even more powerful and giving her the added bonus of being able to survive in space. During this time, she changed her superhero name to Binary. The heightened powers eventually died down after a while, but she kept a few cosmic ones.
11. Just Go With It
She once had a pet cat named Chewie that ended up not being an actual cat but a Flerken, which is an alien creature that disguises itself as a cat but actually has giant tentacles and fangs. The only reason she found out about its true form was because Rocket Raccoon was able to sniff it out. And thanks to an Instagram post by Samuel L. Jackson, there is speculation that Chewie may show up in the Captain Marvel movie. This would be weird to see if Rocket Raccoon didn’t already exist in the MCU, but because he does, this just feels normal.
10. Calling an Audible
Nicole Perlman, co-writer of the Captain Marvel movie, mentioned in an interview that they slightly tweaked Danvers origin story for the movie to avoid any similarities to DC’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern movie. In the comics, they are both fighter pilots who interact with and gain powers from an alien race.
9. The Benefits of a Connected Universe
The Captain Marvel movie has quite a few tie-ins to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as one of the co-writers, Nicole Perlman, was a co-writer for the first Guardians movie and two characters from that movie—Ronan the Accuser and Korath—will return for Captain Marvel.
8. A Long Time Coming
Although the movie will finally be released in 2019, it was actually officially announced by Kevin Feige all the way back in 2014. Because of this, several actresses were either tied to the titular character or were in consideration for it before Brie Larson landed the role. This list included some heavy hitters in the film industry like Bryce Dallas Howard, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, and Shailene Woodley.
7. From Good to Great
Writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan are the creative minds behind Carol Danvers but it was comic writer Kelly Sue DeConnick who would make the bold decision to transition Danvers from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel. Not only was it well received, but it also turned out to be one of the smartest moves for the character.
6. On the Fast Track to Success
DeConnick’s decision to make Danvers the new Captain Marvel was met with both financial and critical success, as it took no time for Captain Marvel #1 to immediately sell out upon its release in September 2012. It was this quick success that also led to a Captain Marvel script being written eight months later and the movie being officially announced in 2014.
5. Wrong Side of the Law
Captain Marvel was involved in both Civil War storylines in the comic books, taking on a bigger role in the second one and arguably being on the wrong side of both. She was on Iron Man’s side for the first Civil War—she was pro Superhero Registration Act—but ended up fighting against Iron Man in the second Civil War—she wanted to use the inhuman Ulysses’ ability to see into the future as a way to stop crimes before they were committed. She did not win over many fans in Civil War II, as many blamed her for several characters’ deaths.
4. Turning to the Bottle
After a string of personal tragedies in her life, Danvers turned to alcohol to help ease the pain. This resulted in her becoming an alcoholic, rebranding herself as Warbird and getting kicked out of the Avengers due to her new reckless attitude. In the end, it was fellow addict Tony Stark—who struggled with alcoholism himself—who helped her straighten out and get back on the right track.
3. Super Ex-Boyfriends
Not only has Danvers been on a lot of teams, but she has also been romantically involved with a few characters in the comics. She’s dated fellow heroes such as Wonder Man and Spider-Man, but her most notable and significant relationship was with James Rhodes, AKA War Machine. Unfortunately, the relationship ended not too long ago in the Civil War II comic book storyline, after Thanos murdered Rhodes.
2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The explosion that led to Danvers getting her powers also caused severe brain damage, resulting in her developing a split personality. Basically, Danvers had no idea Ms. Marvel existed and Ms. Marvel had no idea that Danvers existed. Whenever Danvers was in danger, Ms. Marvel would take over to protect her. Eventually, both personalities found out about the other and merged together, giving Danvers full knowledge and power over her abilities.
1. Paving Her Own Path
Danvers joined the US Air Force at the age of 18 to help pay for her college because her father refused to pay for it. He believed that Danvers should’ve been a housewife rather than waste her time getting a college degree. Thankfully for herself, and the universe, she didn’t listen to her father. She would go on to find her calling in the Air Force and over time, worked her way up to the rank of colonel.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21