(Note, possible SPOILERS for future Marvel movies below)
Now, there's been a whole lot of talk lately about how Captain Marvel will first appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and, it seems, the general online consensus is that she'll be here sooner rather than later, with many tipping her for an appearance at the tail end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, or at the very least during Captain America: Civil War.
The only problem? We have absolutely no idea how she'll first make an appearance on our screens.
After all, we've had no real hints of Carol Danvers - Captain Marvel's alter-ego - in the MCU, and so don't really have all that much to go on when it comes to working out how we'll see her arrive.
Unless, that is, we totally do.
Could Captain Marvel be Set to Replace Maria Hill?
Or, rather, could Carol Danvers be set to replace Maria Hill as the Avengers' go-to bad-ass military-ish liaison?
Well, there's actually more reason to think it could happen than you might think...
Carol Danvers Got Her Start in Exactly That Sort of Role
Specifically, Danvers was originally an Air Force officer and chief of security at a secret military base - who then gained super-powers.
That, though, is how it happened in the mainstream Marvel Universe.
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe - on which much of the MCU is based - she didn't actually gain any powers. Instead, she worked alongside Nick Fury, and - after his disappearance - became acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and ultimately ends up taking a key role in a version of The Avengers who're directly opposed to another team led by...Nick Fury.
Now, if that sounds familiar to any mainstream Marvel universe readers, that'd be because that's pretty much the exact plot-arc that Maria Hill goes through in the comics...all the way through to Civil War.
So, there's a version of Captain Marvel out there who's strikingly similar to Maria Hill - but why would the Marvel Universe need her to take on that role? They already have Maria Hill, right?
Well, perhaps. The thing is...
Maria Hill Might Just Be Set to Die
Now, the reasons why that could be on the cards have been discussed right here by Moviepilot's own Toby Michael Shepherd, but the gist of it is this: Avengers: Age of Ultron might well be set to kill off Maria Hill.
Maria Hill Has Been Written Into a Tough Situation
Now, the problem is essentially this: Marvel are building towards Civil War, and Maria Hill doesn't fit naturally onto either side: which creates a problem.
Y'see, back in the comics, Hill was a key part of the pro-registration (meaning: pro Iron Man) side - but in the movies, there's no reason to believe that'd be the case. After all, she's far more closely aligned with Captain America, and with generally sticking it to the man.
At the same time, though, she's also a dedicated and pretty darned straight-laced government agent, who wouldn't make for a natural anti-governmental rebel.
And something tells me - much as I'd love to see it - that Captain America: Civil War isn't going to dedicate anywhere near enough screen-time to Hill to make that conflict work as part of the story.
Which might just mean that when Whedon and co were looking for a fan-favorite character to kill off in Age of Ultron, she would've seemed an uncontroversial choice.
But Why Captain Marvel, Then?
Well, aside from the fact that her Ultimate origin story fits the description of Hill's character suspiciously well - and would therefore allow her to replace the character within the Civil War narrative with relative ease - she's also in pretty darned urgent need of introduction to the MCU, what with that whole solo-movie coming up fast.
And, since she supported Iron Man in the comic-book version of Civil War, this could well be her chance to shine on screen, while staying true to more than one version of her comic-book origin. Plus, this way she'd have the chance to
So if, at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark turns around and introduces a new S.H.I.E.L.D-ish liaison officer? Expect her to be named Carol...