No, not the same Marvel Spotlight banner under which some of the upcoming Marvel Studios shows are slated to be released under for Disney+. Instead, we’ll be doing a quick catch up with the three Marvels who will headlining the MCU’s newest entry: The Marvels.
That’s a lot of ‘marvel’ in one paragraph, isn’t it?
But with the return of Captain Marvel, Photon, and Ms Marvel to the screens–all having been absent for a fair bit of time, here’s a quick primer on where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to these last few years.
We’ll start with the one who, well, started it all.
Carol Danvers has been a Marvel Comics flagship and Avengers mainstay for as long as many fans can remember. Be it as just Carol or Ms Marvel or Binary or Warbird, Danvers’ popularity has only grown with each new name she’s taken on–and there’ve been quite a few names, almost rivalling the X-Men Kitty Pryde’s list of monikers.
But, arguably, her most iconic and long-deserved brand is the currently in-use Captain Marvel. A name that, perhaps controversially, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has chosen to immediately adopt. Coupled with a new origin, the MCU’s Carol debuted proper in an eponymous featur in 2019, serving as a ‘90s-set prequel to the MCU, while also bridging the wait between Avenger: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
To say that Captain Marvel didn’t take a fair bit of creative liberty with both Carol’s and her pseudonym’s backstory would be inaccurate to say the least. But it’s not done very differently from the changes made to the likes of immediately-public Iron Man, or the superhero-apprenticed Spider-Man.
Despite a relatively small number of appearances, Carol’s impact on the MCU has been significant. From exposing the more than amoral Starforce, to delivering a healthy warning to Ronan, to inspiring the creation of the Avengers Initiative, Carol’s saga sets joins the ranks of the other Captain from Marvel by sparking a whole universe of superheroism. And that’s just the beginning of her tale.
While little is known of her whereabouts and activities between the events of Captain Marvel in the ‘90s to Endgame (set in 2023), it’s clear that the universe has been a relatively safer place thanks to her presence. As she so eloquently points out, “There are a lot of other planets in the universe and, unfortunately, they didn’t have [the Avengers].”
While the extremely middling Secret Invasion has somewhat muddled Carol’s mission over the last three decades, her sudden return in Disney+’s Ms Marvel and sheer significance to the universe at large, is bound to to harken bigger things for the MCU… we hope.
Also debuting in 2019’s Captain Marvel, we were first introduced to young Monica Rambeau as the daughter of Carol’s friend and sister-in-arms, Maria. It is only during the events of WandaVision do we see Monica as an adult, and an agent of S.W.O.R.D., attempting to resolve the threat of Wanda Maximoff in Westview.
Her repeated interaction with Wanda’s Hex “field” eventually gives her superpowers–whether triggering something latent or granting her something entirely foreign remains unknown (though the former seems to be likely).
Very little has been done with Monica outside of her role as a S.W.O.R.D. agent–a pity given her comic book history and having debuted as Captain Marvel herself, a good 30 years before Carol assumed the name, and even led the Avengers at one point.
Given her ties with S.W.O.R.D. in the MCU, we can only assume the character has much ahead of her. And, even if leading the (New) Avengers is not in the cards for her in the near future, having her runited with Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo should already warrant a Disney+ series. Think X-Files, but with more aliens.
Arguably one of the most popular modern iterations of a classic character, Kamala Khan’s journey from feeling like an outsider to becoming an Inhuman to being revealed as a mutant has been an interesting, and truly genuine one.
First joining the MCU with her own Disney+ series, Iman Vallani’s take on Ms Marvel has allowed the character to quickly become one of the most endearing characters of the megafranchise.
While the series had some issues with pacing and piecing together aspects of the larger storyline (but which Disney+ series hasn’t?), Ms Marvel has nevertheless already proven why she’d be the glue holding together her fellow Marvels.
Kamala’s powers, however, have undergone some of the most drastic changes from page to screen. Abandoning the more “stretchy” aspect of her Mr Fantastic-like abilities, her MCU powers verge closer to cosmic energy and hard light manipulation–certainly details to better tie her in with Captain Marvel and Photon.
While her powers, being of Inhuman origin in the comics, initially seemed to manifest due to a family heirloom, they were revealed to have much larger implications by the end of the series: that they are of a mutation. This essentially gives Ms Marvel the distinction of introducing mutants to the MCU.
Fitting considering how she’s now a member of the X-Men in the comics, too.