It's been three and a half years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Three slate of movies was announced, and we're finally entering the home stretch. Avengers 4 will conclude this era of the franchise, but before that, we'll be winding the clock back to the 1990s (approximately a decade before Iron Man launched the modern MCU) and meet Carol Danvers for the first time in Captain Marvel.
Because of its setting, Captain Marvel will be one of the more standalone entries in the MCU, but, not to worry, because there will be plenty of characters from the Marvel Comics universe who will be stopping by, some of whom we've already seen on the big screen. Here are all the heroes and villains who are confirmed to appear in Captain Marvel, as well as some of the actors who are definitely showing up, but their characters haven't been identified yet.
Introduced in 1968, Carol Danvers' previous superhero monikers included Ms. Marvel, Binary and Warbird, but since 2012, she's been serving as the current Captain Marvel, making her the seventh individual to have that title in the Marvel Comics universe (let's not forget that DC Comics' Shazam was called that for decades). For the Captain Marvel movie, she will be played by Brie Larson, who was officially confirmed for the role at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. So far the only official details about the MCU's Carol that have been revealed are that, like her comic book counterpart, she is an Air Force pilot who gains special abilities (super strength, flight, energy projection) after her body is infused with alien DNA during an accident.
Leaked set photos showed Larson wearing a costume that looked just like what she wears in the comics, only it had a green color scheme. However, the concept art shown at last year's San Diego Comic-Con revealed that eventually Carol will don her traditional red, blue and yellow colors. And like the other MCU superheroes, Brie Larson's Carol has a bright future ahead of her, as it's been confirmed that she will participate in Avengers 4, which comes out two months after Captain Marvel. Since there's a two decade gap between Captain Marvel and Avengers 4, it will be interesting to learn why Carol hasn't aged at all.
In the Marvel Comics universe, the first individual to go by Captain Marvel was Mar-Vell, a Kree agent who was sent by his superiors to spy on Earth and see if it posed any threat to the Kree Empire. Mar-Vell adopted the identity of a recently deceased scientist named Walter Lawson for his civilian cover, but he also started protecting Earth's citizens as Captain Marvel (which came about from someone misunderstanding his Kree name), using his natural strength and a device called the "universal beam" that can project energy. Down the line, Mar-Vell met Carol Danvers, and Mar-Vell's arch-nemesis, Yon-Rogg, kidnapped her to force Mar-Vell into battling him. During the fight, a Kree Psyche-Magnetron device detonated, and that resulted in his DNA being fused with Carol's, thus giving her powers. Eventually Mar-Vell joined the Avengers and turned his back on the Kree empire, but exposure to a nerve gas gave him cancer, and he soon died.
Mar-Vell will be played in the Captain Marvel movie by Jude Law, though all we know about his role so far is that he will serve as Carol Danvers' mentor and train her to use her new powers. Since he's using the Walter Lawson guise as well, one would imagine that like his comic book counterpart, he was sent to Earth to spy on us. Law is no stranger to major motion pictures, with his credits including the Sherlock Holmes movies, Road to Perdition, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead!
Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury has been part of the MCU since the beginning. If it wasn't for him going to Tony Stark's mansion in the Iron Man post-credits scene to talk about the Avengers Initiative, we wouldn't have known that a "much larger world" was being set up. We most recently saw Fury in Avengers: Infinity War's post-credits scene, where he faded away along with half of life in the universe after Thanos obtained the six Infinity Stones. But, before disappearing, Fury managed to transmit a distress signal from a pager-looking device, and while it wasn't outright stated who he was contacting, the device featured Captain Marvel's insignia, thus serving as a nice tease for her upcoming movie.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. briefly touched on Nick Fury's pre-Iron Man life, but Captain Marvel will show us how his first encounter with a superhero went down. In other words, Carol Danvers' origin story will somehow see Fury being drawn in, and that experience will set him on the path that leads to the creation of the Avengers Initiative. The younger Nick Fury in Captain Marvel also still has two eyes, so expect to see him lose one of them before the movie is over. Fury commented in The Winter Soldier about how he lost an eye the last time he trusted someone, and since the shapeshifting Skrulls (more on them later) are appearing in Captain Marvel, I wouldn't be surprised if one of those aliens is responsible for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent becoming his cycloptic self.