Carol Danvers (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
|First appearance||Captain Marvel (2019)|
|Voiced by||Alexandra Daniels (What If...?)|
Carol Danvers is a fictional character portrayed primarily by Brie Larson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise—based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name—commonly known by her alias, Captain Marvel. Danvers is depicted as a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who was given superhuman abilities when a light-speed engine test went wrong and she was exposed to the cosmic energy of the Tesseract and subsequently transformed into a Human-Kree hybrid via blood transfusion and renamed Vers. Initially loyal to the Kree Empire, she serves as a member of the Starforce in their war against the Skrulls, but eventually returns to Earth where she regains her memories and allies with them. She befriends Nick Fury, inspiring him to create the Avengers Initiative. Decades later, she joins the Avengers and participates in the battles against Thanos.
As of 2022[update], the character has appeared in three films. Alternate versions within the MCU multiverse appear in the animated series What If...? (2021), voiced by Alexandra Daniels. Danvers is set to return in the upcoming film The Marvels (2023).
Concept, creation and casting
Danvers originated as a comic book character in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968) by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan. In the story, she is an officer in the United States Air Force and Security Chief of a restricted military base, where Danvers meets Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of alien Kree hero Captain Marvel. In a later story, Danvers is caught in the explosion of a Kree device after trying to get close to Captain Marvel. Although Captain Marvel manages to save her life, Danvers sustains serious injuries, later resurfacing with superhuman abilities and becoming the hero Ms. Marvel (created by writer Gerry Conway and artist John Buscema) in a self-titled series in January 1977, at first written by Gerry Conway and later by Chris Claremont. In the series, it is revealed that the energy exposure from the explosion of a device called the "Psyche-Magnetron" caused Danvers's genetic structure to meld with Captain Marvel's, effectively turning her into a human-Kree hybrid.
After her transformation as Ms. Marvel, Danvers as a character went through several developments throughout the years before becoming Captain Marvel. In the 1980s Danvers' stories are entangled with the mutants, which started when Rogue steals her powers and memories. In Uncanny X-Men series by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, Danvers forgoes her identity as Ms. Marvel and subsequently uses the name Binary after being experimented by the alien race the Brood which gives her the ability to generate the power of a star. However, in the 1990s Danvers loses the majority of her Binary power and regain her original power as Ms. Marvel. Writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Pérez then redefines her as Warbird as she joins the Avengers and fight against Kang the Conqueror. Afterwards, Danvers as Warbird continues to appear in major 2000s storylines such as, House of M, Civil War and Secret Invasion. During the Dark Reign storyline, Danvers returns as Ms. Marvel and fights against her imposter created by Norman Osborn.
After her introduction, Carol Danvers was meant to be an icon of feminist movement as shown by her superhero name and being portrayed as a strong character. However, push-back from Marvel's then Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter instead set a precedent for stories centred on the theme of victimization, with some of her most formative arcs involving alcoholism, torture, brainwashing, identity/power theft, kidnapping, and rape. Although not the ideal struggles expected of a hero, her tendency to bounce back from attempts to write her off and overcome traumatic experiences all the stronger became a consistent theme itself. As such, her continuous appearances with Marvel's prominent characters throughout the decades turned Danvers into a premier heroine for the publisher. In 2010s, Danvers eventually assumed the title Captain Marvel in the series by Kelly Sue DeConnick with a redesigned costume closer to a flight suit rather than the classic female superhero appearance. She also rejoined the flagship Avengers series New Avengers and was involved in major storylines such as the 2015 Secret Wars and 2016 Civil War II, where she leads the side advocating for stopping crime and attacks before they happen.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said Larson was cast because of her ability to balance the character's vast powers with her humanity. Due to concern that Larson (who was 26 when she was cast) was too young to portray an accomplished airman, screenwriter Nicole Perlman consulted with the U.S. Air Force, who said it was possible for someone to excel between the ages of 28 and 34.
In the MCU, Danvers is an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and member of an elite Kree military unit called Starforce. She was imbued with superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight after exposure to Tesseract energy. Larson described Danvers as a "believer in truth and justice" and a "bridge between Earth and space", who must balance her unemotional Kree side with her "flawed" human half. Larson also called Danvers aggressive, quick-tempered, and invasive—attributes that help her in a fight but prove to be character flaws.
Brie Larson trained for nine months for the role, learning judo, boxing, and wrestling. She also visited Nellis Air Force Base and met with active duty airmen, including Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt and Thunderbirds pilot Major Stephen Del Bagno, in preparation for the role. Carol Danvers is portrayed as a thirteen-year-old by Mckenna Grace, and as a six-year-old by London Fuller.
In Avengers: Endgame, screenwriter Christopher Markus stated that Danvers's powers are on a scale that has not previously existed in the MCU and likened her personality to Steve Rogers, "which is sort of a person who's right and knows they're right and doesn't really want to hear it when you tell them they're wrong". Danvers has little screen time in the film, which McFeely reasoned as "not the story we're trying to tell—it's the original Avengers dealing with loss and coming to a conclusion, and she's the new, fresh blood." Larson filmed her scenes for Endgame before beginning work on her solo film Captain Marvel (2019), which was released first. Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were present for the filming of her scenes in Endgame and gave Danvers's characterization in the film their blessing.
Fictional character biography
Origin and Kree–Skrull War
In 1995, on the Kree Empire's capital planet of Hala, Danvers, known as 'Vers', suffers from amnesia and recurring nightmares involving an older woman, particularly as a former U.S. Air Force test pilot who acquired cosmic energy force powers from the Tesseract after an explosion that wiped out her memory. The Kree decide to use her as a weapon against the Skrulls. Yon-Rogg, her mentor and commander, trains her to control her abilities while the Supreme Intelligence, the artificial intelligence that rules the Kree, urges her to keep her emotions in check. During a mission to rescue an undercover operative infiltrating a group of Skrulls, Vers is captured by Skrull commander Talos. A probe of Vers's memories leads them to Earth. Vers escapes and crash-lands in Los Angeles. Her presence attracts S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, whose investigation is interrupted by a Skrull attack. Vers and Fury later go to the Project Pegasus installation at a U.S. Air Force base. They discover Vers was a pilot presumed to have died in 1989 while testing an experimental light-speed engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson, whom Vers recognizes as the woman from her nightmares. They fly to Louisiana to meet former pilot Maria Rambeau, the last person to see Vers and Lawson alive.
Rambeau and her daughter Monica reveal that Vers is Carol Danvers, who was once like family to them. Talos, arriving unarmed, explains that the Skrulls are refugees searching for a new home and that Lawson was Mar-Vell, a renegade Kree scientist helping them. Talos plays a recovered recording from Lawson's jet, prompting Danvers to remember the crash, whereby she absorbed the energy from the ensuing explosion, gaining powers but losing her memory. Devastated by the truth, she suffers a breakdown that Maria and Talos help her through.
Danvers, Talos, Fury, and Rambeau locate Lawson's cloaked laboratory orbiting Earth, where Lawson hid several Skrulls, including Talos' family, and the Tesseract, the power source of Lawson's engine. There, Danvers is captured by Starforce and interfaces with the Supreme Intelligence. Danvers removes the Kree implant that suppressed her powers during their conversation, allowing her to reach her full potential. In the subsequent battle, Fury retrieves Goose, who is revealed to be an alien Flerken. Goose swallows the Tesseract and scratches Fury, blinding his left eye. Danvers destroys a Kree bomber, forcing Kree officer Ronan the Accuser and his squadron to retreat before overpowering Yon-Rogg on Earth and sending him back to Hala with a warning to the Supreme Intelligence.
Danvers departs to help the Skrulls find a new homeworld, leaving Fury a modified pager to contact her in an emergency. Meanwhile, Fury drafts an initiative to locate heroes like Danvers.
Joining the Avengers and fighting Thanos
In 2018, Danvers is summoned via the pager by Fury during the Blip.[c] Danvers returns to Earth and tracks the activated pager to the Avengers Compound where she meets surviving members of the Avengers. She is then sent into space to rescue the stranded Tony Stark and Nebula who were aimlessly drifting in the Benatar and brings them back to the Compound. She is grief stricken when informed that Fury is a victim of the Blip, and accompanies Bruce Banner, Nebula, James Rhodes, Rocket Raccoon, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Thor in confronting Thanos on the Garden planet. Danvers assists in subduing him when he reveals that he has destroyed the Infinity Stones as to prevent his mission from being undone. Danvers then watches as Thor decapitates Thanos.
In 2023, she has joined the Avengers under the leadership of Romanoff, involved in space missions helping to quash post-Blip chaos across the universe alongside Rocket and Nebula. Later, when the Avengers and their allies are overwhelmed by a bombardment reigned down from the alternate timeline Sanctuary II, Danvers returns and destroys it. She is then given the Nano Gauntlet and attempts to fly it into the Quantum Tunnel. However, she is stopped by alternate Thanos. She temporarily overpowers him, but he manages to overwhelm her with the Power Stone. A week later, she attends Stark's funeral to pay her respects and reunites with a restored Fury.
In 2024, Danvers, along with Banner, answers Wong's holographic call to discuss the Ten Rings with Shang-Chi and Katy. While she does not recognize anything alien about the Ten Rings, they discover the Ten Rings are emitting unknown signals, before Danvers receives another call and leaves.
Death of the Avengers
In an alternate 2011, Danvers is summoned by Fury to fight the Asgardian army led by Loki alongside Rogers following the death of the other Avengers Initiative candidates. During a battle on the Helicarrier, they are assisted by a Romanoff from another universe brought in by the Watcher, who subdues Loki with his Scepter.
Stopping Thor's party
In an alternate 2011, Danvers is summoned by Maria Hill to take down Thor's out-of-control intergalatic party. Danvers confronts Thor, but he refuses to leave and fights Danvers. Forced to hold back her power in order to avoid collateral damage, Danvers retreats and formulates a plan with S.H.I.E.L.D. to lure Thor to the Siberia desertness. Before they can fight again, Frigga intervenes, prompting Thor to quickly repair the damages he and his partygoers conflicted across the planet.
In an alternate 2015, Danvers defends Xandar against Ultron after the android acquires the Infinity Stones. She drives him into the planet's core in an attempt to destroy him, but is killed when Ultron unleashes the Stones' full power.
Differences from the comics
This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2021)
In the comics, Carol goes by numerous superhero names before becoming Captain Marvel with her first and most prominent name being Ms. Marvel. Furthermore, Carol Danvers received her powers through an exposure from an explosion of a Kree device called the "Psyche-Magnetron" while assisting Mar-Vell. The explosion caused her to mutate and becoming a human-Kree hybrid. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, Carol received her powers from an energy exposure of an explosion when she destroyed a light-speed engine created by Mar-Vell. However, the energy comes from the Tesseract that housed one of the Infinity Stones, the Space Stone. She becomes a human-Kree hybrid much later, when Yon-Rogg, a Kree officer, takes her to Hala and transfused his blood to her.
In the MCU, Carol's activities on Earth in 1995 and her call sign, "Avenger", are the inspirations for Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative that created the Avengers. Meanwhile, in the comics, the Avengers was created in response to Loki's invasion and was later named by the Wasp.
Jacob Stalworthy of The Independent praised the character, opining that the character had the potential to "become one of the best" MCU characters. However, the character has also been the target of negative attention due to Brie Larson's perceived feminism. Additionally, some have been critical of the character suffering from the "Superman problem", calling her "overpowered" and "unrelatable", with concerns raised over how to convincingly write the character into established MCU plotlines without turning her into a Mary Sue.
Awards and nominations
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||June 17, 2019||Best Hero||Brie Larson||Nominated|||
|Best Fight||Brie Larson vs. Gemma Chan||Won|
|National Film & TV Awards||December 3, 2019||Best Actress||Brie Larson||Nominated|||
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||May 2, 2020|
|Favorite Movie Actress||Nominated|||
|People's Choice Awards||November 10, 2019||Female Movie Star of 2019||Nominated|||
|Action Movie Star of 2019||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||September 13, 2019||Best Actress||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||August 11, 2019||Choice Action Movie Actress||Nominated|||
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