With Captain America: Civil War now behind us, the hot topic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become Avengers: Infinity War, the event that has been built up over a near decade through the big mystical MacGuffin that is the mysterious Infinity Stones.
After Civil War fractured the Avengers, the team as we know them has become two separate entities. As per the comic books, Team Iron Man remains in power as the primary Avengers team, while Team Cap goes underground as the New (or Secret) Avengers.
There are many big players from this arc of Marvel Comics who haven't been introduced to the MCU yet. Aside from Doctor Strange, whose solo movie arrives in a mere few months, none of these characters are perhaps as notable as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel.
Where's Captain Marvel At?
Around the time of Civil War and the fallout in the comics, Captain Marvel was then still Ms. Marvel — complete with the deep-crotch, black and gold leotard that must've caused many a wedgie. She didn't assume her current mantle until 2012, when she again became a headlining Avenger and later Captain of the Alpha Flight team and the Ultimates, sporting the now-iconic blue and red jumpsuit and snazzy haircut.
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Carol Danvers is set to make her solo debut in 2019's Captain Marvel, portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, but rumors of her appearance in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War have been abundant. This speculation was fueled by directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo at the Smithsonian Institute back in May, when they name dropped that iconic character, "Captain Barvel."
So, Will Captain Marvel Appear In Infinity War?
While promoting the DVD and Blu-ray release of their box-office smashing Captain America: Civil War, the Russo brothers were asked again whether or not we'd be seeing the Avengers' First Lady making an appearance in Infinity War. The upcoming third installment of the Avengers franchise will be directed by the Russos as their third MCU movie, alongside long-time screenwriting collaborators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
As you would expect, the brothers are still remaining coy about the possibility of seeing Captain Marvel in Infinity War. Anthony Russo poked fun at the casting debate, which was long speculated upon, before saying:
"That's one we're going to have to plead the fifth on."
But there was another name brought up in conversation that has been floating around in the Marvel fanbase for a while, and what the Russo brothers had to say about this specific character does seem to suggest that we will be getting at least one new superhero debuting in Infinity War.
Could It Be Squirrel Girl?
I know, Squirrel Girl/Doreen Green sounds like a ridiculous character. A mutant with a squirrel tail that she can control like an extra limb, Squirrel Girl was Central Park's greatest protector, fighting crime with the forces of the park squirrels, with whom she shares a special bond.
But she's not one to be underestimated. Remember that time she beat up Doctor Doom? And that was in one of her very first appearances back in 1992.
She was part of wannabe Avengers team the Great Lakes Avengers for a while, but more recently in The New Avengers Vol. 2 became the superpowered nanny to Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's baby daughter, Daniella. At this time we also got the revelation that she once dated Wolverine so, uh yeah, try and work that one out.
Long has it been suggested that, should Squirrel Girl ever be introduced to the MCU, the perfect choice for the role would be the admirably adorable Anna Kendrick. As it turns out, the Russo Brothers wholeheartedly agree.
Joe Russo: "It would be perfect casting, and we're huge Anna Kendrick fans."
The only problem? There's no space for the squirrely one in Infinity War.
Joe Russo: "[We have our] hands full trying to tell the story we have with our preexisting characters. Anthony would probably die from exhaustion if we introduced another character."
This is where the rub comes in. Anthony Russo chimed in to clarify that — even though we shouldn't count on seeing Kendrick putting on the Squirrel Girl pants for Infinity War — we should expect at least one new character.
"That's not to say we're not going to introduce a new character."
Narrowing Down The Roster
The Russos had previously joked about the inclusion of a whopping 67 characters in Infinity War, though they later admitted a certain degree of hyperbole about this claim. They were asked if they'd narrowed down the class roster from this supposed number, to which Joe Russo jokingly responded:
"Yeah, it's down to 66. Remember Dr. Fine, [the S.H.I.E.L.D. surgeon] from 'Winter Soldier'? He's off the board. Wanted too much money."
But, joking aside, we know there's going to be a lot going on in Infinity War. The same was said of Civil War, packing a lot of different characters and storylines into one feature-length film. The Russo brothers pulled it off with aplomb, which is why we're fairly confident that Infinity War will live up to the hype.
Even more mysterious is the news that Infinity War will no longer be released as a two-parter as previously expected. Instead the fourth Avengers movie will arrive under a different title, though it will still be a continuation of the Infinity War story.
It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Brie Larson debuting as Captain Marvel in Infinity War, a year ahead of her solo movie. Tom Holland's Spider-Man debuted for a few scenes in Civil War, and the hype for his solo movie Spider-Man: Homecoming benefited greatly from his small, scene-stealing roles in the ensemble movie.
Carol Danvers does, after all, receive her powers after being caught in the explosion of a Kree device — the Kree being an alien race seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even though Captain Marvel screenwriter Nicole Perlman has confirmed that we'll be seeing a new take on Carol's origin in the movie, there will likely still be cosmic facets there.
Given that Infinity War is likely to feature a measure of intergalactic warfare, it could even act as an origin set up for her — if we see her as the pilot Carol Danvers in Infinity War then, the fully fledged Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel. Doing so would also do away with having origin stories occurring in isolation of the other MCU characters, as has been the trend thus far.
For now though, as always, we'll just have to wait and speculate until we get further news on official castings and the like. Keep an eye on those sneaky Russo Brothers though, we get a feeling they aren't done dropping cryptic hints yet.
Avengers: Infinity War releases May 4, 2018, with Captain Marvel landing March 8, 2019, and the Untitled Avengers Project follow-up set for a May 3, 2019 release.