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Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
The Russo Brothers did the seemingly impossible with their pair of Avengers movies, expertly balancing a massive cast and keeping the movie remarkably character-driven. Endgame exceeded even the expectations set with Infinity War, as the survivors of Thanos' snap teamed up to Avenge the fallen and get back what they lost.
Endgame also brought Brie Larson's Captain Marvel to the greater MCU, following her first solo movie. And while she factored into both of the battles with Thanos in the movie, Carol Danvers wasn't a huge presence in the film. The Russo Brothers recently explained the character's lack of screen time compared to other heroes, with Joe Russo saying:
It was a story about the original six. That was the focus of the film, to conclude a 10-year saga about those characters. And Carol’s a fairly new character.
Well, that was honest. Captain Marvel may have had a strong origin story that made a ton of money at the box office, but The Russo Brothers simply weren't focusing on Carol Danvers much for Avengers: Endgame. It was primarily a story about the OG team, although Captain Marvel saved the day more than once.
Avengers: Endgame was deeply connected to the previous 21 movies in the MCU, especially when it came to the long tenure of the original lineup. Members of the first team like Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow were given the focus they deserve, while the other characters like Captain Marvel helped move that story forward.
[Carol] had no depth of relationship with those other characters, which on one side is an opportunity, but also – when you have a story that’s this size – you have to work with an economy of storytelling in order to maximize the journey in the movie.
Time is money, and The Russo Brothers had to cram a ton of content into the runtime of Avengers: Endgame. And since Carol Danvers didn't have any super interesting personal dynamics with the rest of the survivors, she functioned on more of a tertiary level to the blockbuster. Still, Thanos' death wouldn't have been possible without her. Both times.
Carol Danvers first appeared in Avengers: Endgame in space, rescuing Nebula and Tony in the knick of time. Shortly after, she and the rest of the heroes boarded The Benatar to track down Thanos at The Farm. But after the time jump, she was absent from the Time Heist-- citing issues across the galaxy she had to tend to.
Captain Marvel returned to Earth in the knick of time, destroying Thanos' massive ship in the process. She also helped transport the Infinity Gauntlet through the warzone, before engaging with Thanos directly. She stopped the Mad Titan from snapping his finger, allowing the time for Tony to steal the stones and end him once and for all. Now we'll have to see what's next for Carol in the post-Endgame world.
Captain Marvel's presence in Avengers: Endgame wasn't all that substantial, but it was still exciting to see Carol Danvers crossing over and interacting with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. And much of the film's events wouldn't have been possible without her role. After all, Tony Stark seemed moments away from death when she appeared to tow him and Nebula home to Earth.
While Brie Larson's fans might have been disappointed that the Room star didn't have as big a role in Avengers: Endgame as the original team, but her massive powers have the potential to complicate scenes like the Time Heist and Thanos' assault on the Avengers Compound. Captain Marvel is by far the most powerful hero in the MCU, surpassing the likes of Thor and Scarlet Witch. So she has the potential to end certain conflict before they start. Just look at how quickly Thanos was decapitated in Endgame.
Captain Marvel's big entrance in the Avengers: Endgame final battle was an epic one, and helped turn the tide of the battle for Earth. She evened the odds by destroying Thanos' ship, preventing him from raining fire on the battlefield. Thanos also could have snapped his fingers and ended everything, but was stopped by Captain Marvel. At least until he used the Power Stone to send her flying.
It should be interesting to see how Captain Marvel factors into the Marvel Cinematic Universe during its mysterious Phase Four. There's bound to be a passing of the guard in the new slate of movies, where the newer heroes step out of the background and into the main narrative. Iron Man and Captain America's tenures are up, and Black Widow likely won't be revived in the main timeline. As such, the newer characters should get more of a spotlight.
Considering the massive box office performance of Captain Marvel, we should expect the title character to have a big role in Phase Four and beyond. Additionally, Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson was given the mantle of Captain America, and Spider-Man: Far From Home may be setting up Peter Parker as the next Iron Man. Smart money says that Doctor Strange and Black Panther also get their first sequels as well, transitioning the fandom to a new class of Avengers.
Captain Marvel's sequel could go seemingly anywhere, as there's decades of time between her solo movie and eventual appearance in Avengers: Endgame. She's been helping to police the entire galaxy, so there's plenty of stories to be explored. Plus, we never saw how her conflict with the Supreme Intelligence went.
There are some fans hoping that Ms. Marvel might be introduced in the follow-up to Captain Marvel, including Brie Larson herself. We'll just have to wait for Marvel Studios to finally reveal its plans for the future.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.