Captain Marvel Theory: Why Carol Changes Her Costume In The New Movie

Brie Larson is Cap

Costume changes are all the rage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Superheroes from Captain America and Iron Man to Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man have altered their threads from movie to movie, with some characters -- who've been around since the earliest days -- sporting multiple looks that drastically evolve. We noticed that Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) sports two very different versions of her Captain Marvel costume in the first trailer for 2019's Captain Marvel, but some new information might explain why she does it.

The differences boil down to color, and a little bit about design. The two costumes in question are the green-and-grey, followed by the majestic red-and-blue (largely considered the signature Captain Marvel costume design).

Because we have months until the next MCU movie, we spent way too much time overanalyzing each frame of the Captain Marvel trailer, and tried to come up with the continuity of the movie based on key reveals. And I think the costume is an important indicator of where scenes occur in the movie, and why Brie Larson is wearing certain suits in the trailer, and the promo images.

I'm going to have to dig deep into what we know about Captain Marvel, so if you don't care to read an in-depth analysis of production, bail out now.

This discussion started when set photos of Brie Larson in her Captain Marvel suit appeared online. Carol Danvers (Larson) confronts a man who appears to be homeless, and by the time she's finished, he is bowing down at her feet.

But fans didn't notice that. They picked up on Carol's green-emphasis suit. Rumors swirled at the time that the green is practical for filming when on a physical set, and that it could be properly colorized in post. To a certain extent that makes sense... only, Carol was still wearing the green suit when she popped up in the new trailer.

So, the green suit is part of the movie. But so is the red-and-blue -- which also is featured prominently on the movie's poster. That will be Carol's suit. And there will be a reason. More on that in a second.

Carol's wearing the green suit in scenes that we believe will take place in the early stages of the movie. Marvel President Kevin Feige has said that Captain Marvel will not be a traditional origin story, in that our hero will already have her powers when the movie starts. Carol, we understand, will arrive on Earth on some mission -- crashing down into a Blockbuster Video in the 1990s -- and will come to realize that she had a past on this planet... even though she has been fighting in the galaxies as part of the Kree warriors for years.

Here's where our theory starts to take real shape. We recently reported that Marvel Comics is going to great lengths to change Carol's origin. In the original narrative, Carol is swept up in the explosion of a Kree device, and the alien force gives her her powers.

The comic makes an important change, that we believe will affect the movie, and even explain the costume change from green to red. In the new Marvel Comics run of Carol Danvers stories, there's still an explosion. But rather than just giving Carol powers, the Kree blast awakens genes that already were inside of her, instead of randomizing the power trigger. Carol was born to be a Kree fighter... because her mother was a Kree, as well.


It's an interesting twist, having Carol be the child of a human and a Kree. It gives her a bond to both worlds (and yes, this draws a little from the Superman narrative, who had both alien parents and human parents, giving him loyalty and allegiance to two worlds). And it goes a long way to explaining the casting of Annette Bening in Captain Marvel. Because most reports say that Bening will be playing Carol's mother in the movie.

And that means she's playing an alien Kree, and also the first Captain Marvel.

We're fully in speculation mode here. We have no clue what's going to play out in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel movie. But the costume changes gave us a theory, and it goes something like this.

Carol Danvers is a veteran Kree warrior who arrives on Earth to track a Skrull (likely the grandmother that she punches on the train). She lands in Los Angeles, completes the mission (by punching the Skrull grandma), but is apprehended by a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He tells Carol that she's part of a bigger world, while also learning from her that there's a whole galaxy of threats he might one day have to contend with. Fury begins to plot The Avengers Initiative.

Meanwhile, Carol can't shake the lingering feeling that she had a past on Earth. We see, in the trailer, shots of young Carol overcoming obstacles as she grew up, and entering the military where she trained to be an ace pilot.

One important person missing from the trailer is Annette Bening's character, but after the news of Marvel Comics tweaking Carol's origin to more directly involve her mother, it hit us. Bening will play the original Captain Marvel. The red-and-blue number will be her original outfit. And at some point in the movie, Carol will switch over to it to honor her legacy as the daughter of Captain Marvel.


Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in Green

Captain Marvel will be an important movie for Marvel Studios for numerous reasons. By most accounts, Carol Danvers will be the strongest fighter in the MCU, and her might is exactly what the Avengers will need to rectify what Thanos started in Avengers: Infinity War. There's a reason Fury texted her as he faded into dust during the Snappening.

But Captain Marvel also stands as the first solo Marvel story centered entirely around a female character, with all due respect to the strong female characters that Marvel Studios has introduced to this point. Having Carol stem from her mother, and wear her costume in tribute to that legacy, creates a very powerful subtext to the costume change that we see happen in Captain Marvel. Imagine the scene where Annette Bening passes the torch to Brie Larson by giving her the original costume?

Or, you know, it could just be a reason to sell more toys with alternate Captain Marvel costume designs.

But I don't think that is the case. I believe that Annette Bening is playing the ORIGINAL Captain Marvel in the MCU. And I believe that she'll pass her legacy on to Brie Larson, signified by the costume change from green to red and blue. It makes the costume change more significant, and way more emotional.

Do you agree? Disagree? We have several more months to debate it, as Captain Marvel doesn't open in theaters until March 8, 2019. Be sure to bookmark our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide, and then hop into the comments to continue this discussion.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.