Who Is Captain Marvel?

One of the many new superheroes announced for the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week was Captain Marvel. To comic book readers, that name is a big deal — she’s a fan favorite character that people have been asking Kevin Feige about for years. But to everyone else, the name may not ring a bell.

To get you better acquainted with her in time for her 2018 debut, we’ve put together a primer explaining who she is, how she got here, and what her introduction might mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you’re going “Who is Captain Marvel?” you’ll get all the answers after the jump.

Who Is Captain Marvel

Who is Captain Marvel?

The short answer: As Kevin Feige said, “This Captain Marvel’s name is Carol Danvers.”

The long answer: Kevin Feige had to clarify the above because Captain Marvel has the nom de guerre of many different characters in the Marvel Comics universe. (To make matters even more confusing, Captain Marvel also used to be the name of the unrelated DC Comics superhero now known as Shazam.) The first Captain Marvel who debuted in 1967 was a Kree (alien) soldier called Mar-Vell, and the mantle passed through several more characters before landing with Carol Danvers in 2012.

Carol Danvers

Okay, so who is Carol Danvers?

Carol Danvers first appeared in 1968 as a supporting character in Marvel Super-Heroes. She was a top U.S. Air Force pilot who moved on to the CIA and then NASA, where she met and eventually fell into a romance with the original Captain Marvel. During a battle with Mar-Vell’s nemesis Yon-Rogg, a radioactive explosion leads to Danvers’ DNA absorbing Mar-Vell’s genetic structure. That meant she also gained his powers, including flight and enhanced strength and durability. Danvers took on the superhero name Ms. Marvel for the first time in 1977.

Ms Marvel

Over the next several decades, Danvers underwent all the sci-fi soap operatics typical for a Marvel superhero: She made new friends, fell in love, suffered losses, battled foes, gained and lost other powers, forayed into other realities, got trapped in an alternate dimension where she was raped and impregnated, and so on. At various points she’s taken on the aliases Binary and Warbird, and she’s rolled with the X-Men, the Avengers, the Starjammers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Captain Marvel

When did Carol Danvers become Captain Marvel?

Carol Danvers took on the Captain Marvel mantle in 2012, headlining her own series from writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Dexter Soy. At the time, Captain Marvel was the publisher’s only solo female superhero title. It proved an immediate hit, and launched Carol Danvers to new heights. The new Captain Marvel inspired a devoted following calling themselves the Carol Corps, many of them women and girls excited to see a lady in the lead and eager to push for still more diversity in comics. And they seem to be succeeding, based on the recent announcements of a Muslim Ms. Marvel, a black Captain America, and a female Thor.

After the jump, find out what Carol Danvers is like and how she might fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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