CAPTAIN MARVEL comes out in less than a month. After that, we’ll be seeing AVENGERS: ENDGAME in April, the culmination of over a decade of Marvel films. We know Captain Marvel will be joining the Avengers in ENDGAME, but how’s that going to work? CAPTAIN MARVEL is set in the past. How will she join the Avengers in the present? Where’s she been all this time? Let’s make some guesses.

CAPTAIN MARVEL Happens in the ’90s

We know that CAPTAIN MARVEL is set in the year 1995. There’s a good reason to explain why Carol crashes into a Blockbuster in the first trailer. The odds of doing so then are a lot higher compared to now. It also explains why we see younger versions of Nick Fury (with both eyes still intact), Agent Coulson (still alive), Ronan (not fanatical and still alive), and Korath (also alive). Carol will be interacting with Nick Fury, who is getting his first introduction into super-powered people and cosmic forces. We’ll also be seeing Captain Marvel dealing with the Skrulls, an invading race of shape-shifting aliens.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

CAPTAIN MARVEL will be a unique origin story. It appears as though Carol herself will not remember where she came from. She’ll be discovering her origins along with the audience. After this film, Carol will be appearing in AVENGERS: ENDGAME.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME is Present-Day

This is where it gets problematic. ENDGAME is set present-day in regards to the MCU timeline. We see Thanos achieve his goal of collecting all of the Infinity Stones in INFINITY WAR. Once doing so, he snaps his fingers and half of all life in the universe ceases to exist. This includes several of our favorite heroes. ENDGAME will be dealing with the fallout of this event, now known as the Decimation. Captain America and the remaining Avengers are refusing to take the defeat, and are looking to find a way to undo Thanos’ actions.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

Now, at the end of INFINITY WAR, the post-credits scene reveals that just before Nick Fury disappears, he sends a message on a high-tech looking pager. As it falls from his hand and onto the ground, we see Captain Marvel’s icon on the pager, indicating that he’s sending her an emergency message, calling on her for help.

Is CAPTAIN MARVEL the Reason for Time Travel?

Many have long held theories that time travel will play a large factor as to how the Avengers stop Thanos. It certainly seems like it would have to, given the immense power Thanos has at his disposal, to bring back those who were lost. Confirmation of time travel also lies in many set photos of actors wearing exact costumes from films’ past, such as Robert Downey Jr. wearing the Black Sabbath shirt he only wore in the first AVENGERS.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

Several of these theories link the Quantum Realm, first seen in ANT-MAN, as the Avengers’ means of using time travel, but what if the time travel manipulation comes from Carol? Is it possible that Fury’s pager can send messages across time, alerting Carol to the danger of the past (or future?), and she comes to their present? Perhaps. In a recent article, Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson did let slip some details about Captain Marvel, seeming to indicate that time travel could be one of her inherent abilities. If so, that would certainly be a game changer and a new angle for her character not previously seen from the comics.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

Then again, it could very well be that the Quantum Realm is responsible for time travel, and that’s how Carol meets the Avengers. Perhaps she can control it and navigate it with her binary powers. It’s possible.

Does Carol Go Into Stasis?

Another possibility is that after the events of CAPTAIN MARVEL, Carol could end up in stasis. I’m not entirely sure why this would be, but it would explain her absence from the greater MCU all this time. The dark reasoning for the stasis theory would be if Nick Fury is revealed to be a Skrull by the film’s end.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

Maybe Carol does indeed defeat the majority of the Skrulls, with one particular Skrull escaping notice. Perhaps this Skrull has been abandoned? The only means for survival could be playing the part of Nick Fury. It disposes of the real Fury, replacing him. Carol, having put her trust in Fury, is led into a situation where Skrull-Fury can knock her out. He could put her in a stasis pod, fearing her power, but wanting to keep her in reserve for an advantageous time.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

Skrull-Fury then hides in plain sight, working as Fury would, manipulating events to become SHIELD director. He then acts as we’ve seen in the Marvel films. It was only until the Decimation that he determines to set her loose with a page as a last ditch attempt at survival. It would certainly be a crazy move, but not entirely implausible.

Is CAPTAIN MARVEL just Off-World and Busy With the Kree?

It could also be that after the events of CAPTAIN MARVEL, Carol returns to Hala, the Kree homeworld. She could still be a member of Starforce, still in service to the Kree leadership and the Supreme Intelligence. This is another possible explanation for why she’s been absent for the entirety of the MCU thus far. She goes on missions with her team on Kree’s behalf. Maybe she knows about what’s happening on Earth, maybe she doesn’t. It wouldn’t matter if her orders had her saving other worlds across the universe, protecting the interests of the Kree Empire.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

The obvious hole in this theory is the events in CAPTAIN MARVEL itself. The trailers tell us that Carol will be rediscovering her Earth life and upbringing upon crashing on the planet. It looks as though after she gets her powers, Kree erases her memories of her past, with her thinking she’s pure Kree and not a hybrid. After this discovery, it would make a certain amount of sense for Carol to want to stay on Earth as its protector.

Then again, maybe her loyalty to Kree and her squad runs deep enough to keep her off Earth, giving her new friend Nick Fury a means to contact her if he ever needs her help. If that was the case, I still don’t see why Fury wouldn’t have called her way earlier before the Decimation. Like, if aliens are pouring in from a wormhole above New York, being led by the Asgardian God of Mischief, why would you keep that pager in your pocket? Wouldn’t you want all your hands on deck?

Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers

I don’t have all the answers. One of these theories could be accurate, a combo could be what happens, or none of them could be right. Marvel has people I’m sure are smarter than me, and I’m betting Kevin Feige has had it all figured out since they mapped out all of these films way back before AGE OF ULTRON. In any case, it’s still fun to make guesses, and educated guesses at that. I’m very excited to see Carol join the Avengers, in whatever fashion it takes. As a side note, if time travel/stasis isn’t a factor, I doubt we’ll see any signs of Carol physically aging. I’m sure having Kree genetics does wonders for prime years and extends your life span by quite a bit.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Image from Marvel Entertainment

For now, all we can do is wait. Hopefully, we’ll get our answers sooner rather than later by the end of CAPTAIN MARVEL. I’d hate to see the film, and still don’t have an answer until ENDGAME. Gah, that’d be the worst! What are your theories? Let us know in the comments below!

CAPTAIN MARVEL is released on March 8th and AVENGERS: ENDGAME is released on April 26th.

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