Even as the DCEU increases in momentum, and Fox revitalize their X-Men franchise, there's no doubt that the MCU is still the cream of our bountiful superhero crop. But lately, it seems like the franchise titan is just resting on its laurels, spitting out movies like Doctor Strange and Ant-Man that are basically Magic Iron Man and Iron Man: It's A Heist This Time. Spider-Man: Homecoming was released to good reviews, but it was still a quintessential #Marvel movie: quippy and poignant, yes, but with a predictable plot structure and all the required tropes.
Point is, Marvel need to shake things up, and not just by saturating the color palette. Now they've done it, producing a movie so unexpected that it might just compete with all the genre-bending Logans, Deadpools and Wonder Womans (women?) out there. And that movie is Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel Will Shake The Foundation Of The MCU
Before we get to the repercussions of the Skrull vs Kree plot — and trust me, they are monumental — let's talk about that 1990s setting. This is the riskiest move Marvel have taken since giving Guardians of the Galaxy the green light, as with Captain Marvel they're stepping outside the continuity they took years to build up. No more Avengers, no more Civil War repercussions: Carol Danvers will take her hero's journey alone... with a little help from Nick Fury of course.
This is exciting for many different reasons. Marvel finally doing something different by setting Captain Marvel in the past, jumping on the nostalgia train to provide us with another interesting aesthetic and soundtrack (here's hoping they actually commit to the 90s and feature everyone wearing fashion disasters like triple denim, rather than just ignoring the era like Harry Potter did).
Fury's role is also intriguing. With S.H.I.E.L.D. dissolved in the franchise-shaking The Winter Soldier, the MCU lost a compelling element of its world — unless you count Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, which the movie-makers clearly don't. With Captain Marvel, we can jump back to S.H.I.E.L.D'S heyday, when a two-eyed Fury used the organization to protect the Earth from threats its population simply wouldn't be able to handle the knowledge of. But that secrecy may lead to the planet's downfall..
And so we come to the Skrull/Kree war plot, which is so vast that it would take a whole other article to fully examine what this means for the MCU (lucky for you, we have one right here). The upshot of this is huge, and Captain Marvel may well plunge the MCU into a war that has secretly been waged for decades. The Skrull, as the comics explored in depth, are a shapeshifting species, allowing them to impersonate any human they like. In the comics this lead to, among other things, a crossover arc called Secret Invasion — and in the MCU, it means that any one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes could have been a Skrull spy all along.
Tying Into Infinity War
So how will all these elements come into play? It's important to remember that Captain Marvel will be released a year after Infinity War and a few months before the untitled Avengers 4.
This puts Captain Marvel in the excellent position to explain plot points from Infinity War that didn't make much sense at the time — like, for example, a team-mate's unexpected betrayal of the group because they're actually a Skrull.It seems likely that the Skrull/Kree war will be alluded to in Infinity War, and that at least one or two #Avengers will turn out to be Skrulls themselves. Captain Marvel could then explain exactly how this happened, and Avengers 4 would feature the heroes finally wrapping this secret invasion up — perhaps in a way that ends the Avengers' saga and leads into Marvel's new plan for a cosmic universe.
[Update 07.26.17] Of course, all of that was assuming that Carol would appear in Infinity War, which up until a few days ago seemed like a definite possibility. However, since SDCC Joe Russo has given Comicbook.com a definite answer about Carol's possible appearance in Infinity War, saying "she's not in Avengers 3." However, that doesn't mean that Captain Marvel won't connect to Infinity War in some way, and it would be a smart move on the part of the filmmakers to foreshadow the Kree/Skrull secret invasion plot by revealing at least one of the Avengers, or their allies, to be a secret Skrull in Infinity War. And this would lead into not only Captain Marvel, but Avengers 4.
With Carol not appearing in Infinity War, it seems highly likely that her solo movie will instead set up Avengers 4, which could be a full-blown Secret Invasion adaptation. This could be alluded to in Infinity War by the betrayal of a team-mate, explained in Captain Marvel, then concluded in Avengers 4 — in which the Russos suggested Carol could play a major role.
Unlike how Black Panther's appearance in Civil War allowed us to skip his origin story, it seems that Captain Marvel will explain how Carol went from Air Force colonel to full-bird superhero. Yet, we still aren't entirely sure how this happened. The comics featured her getting her powers from a Kree device that misfired, and if I were to hazard a guess, then I'd say that Captain Marvel will follow prodigy Air Force Colonel Carol Danvers as a mission to space goes wrong, accidentally embroiling her with the Kree. And as the incident with the Psyche-Magnatron imbues Carol with incredible cosmic powers, she becomes entangled in a secret invasion that S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently defending the Earth against.
Though we may not know much about Captain Marvel, the setting and Skrull/Kree war alone has set up a horde of possibilities for the MCU to explore. It's safe to say that the franchise will never be the same again — and it's about time, too.
Tell us in the comments: Do you think Avengers 4 will adapt Secret Invasion?