This article contains major SPOILERS for Captain Marvel, so turn back if you haven’t yet blasted off with the high-flying hero in theaters yet.
Amidst a grand introduction to the all-powerful Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the Avengers gear up for round two with Thanos, there was a subtle introduction to another key Marvel Comics superhero. Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Carol’s best friend Maria, has an intriguing history in the comics, which most certainly could be in plans to be explored in Phase 4 – that is if the MCU decides to act on those nudges and hints sprinkled throughout Captain Marvel.
So let’s recap who the Rambeau’s are in the comic books, how they were introduced in Captain Marvel and how they could tie into the MCU moving forward:
What Are Their Comic Book Origins?
In the comic books, Monica Rambeau held the title of “Captain Marvel” before Carol Danvers did when she appeared in 1982’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. Danvers’ first alias was Ms. Marvel, but she did take over the name of Captain Marvel in 2012. When we meet Rambeau, she is a lieutenant for the New Orleans Harbor Patrol as a cargo ship captain. She is on board with a special device capable of tapping into energies from other dimensions, which is intended to be used to create a dangerous weapon. Rambeau aids in destroying the device, but her exposure to the energy arms her with the power of a superhero. Sound familiar?
Monica Rambeau has the power to turn into a being of pure energy, shoot energy blasts, phase through solid matter (just as Vision does) and fly. Besides Captain Marvel, the hero has also been named Photon, Pulsar and Spectrum as well. She became the first African-American female to join the Avengers, where she was mentored by Captain America and Wasp, and once took on the mantle of Avengers leader in Wasp’s place. After a fight with sea monster Leviathan, Monica’s powers became depleted, and she has sat out an Avenger’s membership for some time, but her powers did come back eventually. Her most recent team up was with the rogue superhero squad Nextwave, alongside Black Panther, Luke Cage, Blade and Brother Voodoo, who fought vampires in New Orleans.
Her mother Maria, however, has a completely different backstory than the one introduced in Captain Marvel. Maria is a successful seamstress who owns her own dress shop and is the wife of a former fireman. The mother is much more concerned parent, who, while proud of her daughter’s role as a superhero, often expresses her concerns for her safety.
How Does Captain Marvel Hint At The Characters’ Futures?
In Captain Marvel, Maria and Monica Rambeau play a large part in Carol Danvers rediscovering her identity and becoming the badass superhero she transforms into by the end of the movie. The mother-daughter duo is Danvers’ chosen family who help jog her memory when she and Fury visit them to get answers about a mysterious fighter jet crash. Maria is not a seamstress, but an Air Force pilot, and she is not a wife, but a single mother. Monica (a.k.a. Lt. Trouble) can’t help but get in on the action, help Captain Marvel with her suit and encourage her mother to be co-pilot to the final mission to set a “good example” for her. Monica already looks up to Carol, and then she becomes a superhero. I can’t help but think this is a defining moment for her that the MCU just has to come back to.
Maria’s callsign is also “Photon”– one of Monica’s superhero names. When you look at how important Carol Danvers’ callsign ended up being to the franchise (it was ‘Avenger’ and inspired Fury to name the initiative), then you know how the importance in the details. At the end of the film as Carol prepares to journey across space, they have a conversation about how Monica may have to build a spaceship of her own one day to visit her Skrull friends.
The factor of time also plays a part here. Captain Marvel is set in 1995 and Monica is eleven years old, and we know Carol will appear next in Avengers: Endgame, which takes place in present day. If Carol’s story continues after the events of Endgame, Monica would be in her mid-30s, the perfect age to fix right in with the rest of the Avengers and assume her rightful comic book role.
How Monica and Maria Rambeau Could Tie Into The MCU?
After these hints to the hero’s origin, how could the MCU not explore the Rambeau’s in future films? They are particularly close to Carol Danvers’ heart (just like Bucky Barnes is to Captain America) and could serve as the key story element to future Captain Marvel sequels (which I don't doubt is on the way considering that Earth shattering box office debut). I imagine after Endgame, Carol finds herself back on Earth and either can’t help looking the Rambeau’s up or is approached by an all-grown up Monica. While I hope Maria appears again, I don't think she'll have as vital of a role as Monica.
Considering theories that heroes such as Captain America and Iron Man will be hanging up their role post-Endgame among others, a mentorship between the characters might be part of how the franchise moves forward and starts buffing up their heroes back up as other longtime heroes head to the door. While we know little about what’s coming next for the MCU until after Endgame and Far From Home (and all plans are being held until then), the inclusion of Monica certainly hints at plans to a new generation of the Avengers, who could be completely different then the main crew we already know and how key Captain Marvel could be to the development of them.
The MCU’s continuing focus on diversity following the monumental success of Black Panther is glimmered into the DNA of Captain Marvel, as the team’s first official female African-American hero could soon take flight. The character has infinite possibilities, all the way up to becoming the next Captain Marvel and leader of the next Avengers team. I wouldn’t doubt that this is the direction the MCU is going, thanks to the subtle introduction of the Rambeau’s in the Marvel film that touches so deeply into the Avenger’s roots. Fury will certainly vouch for her.
What do you think about the potential of the Rambeau's in the MCU? Would you like to see their story continue in future movies? Would you particularly like to see Monica become Photon, the next Captain Marvel or even the leader to the new Avengers? Marvel's Phase 4 certainly has a lot of possibilities in store which will certainly become more clear after Avengers: Endgame hit theaters on April 26. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments.