From the tale behind Nick Furys eyepatch to the rehabilitation of the Skrull, the latest Marvel film has altered comic-book canon in fruitful ways
If there’s one thing we should have been primed for, prior to viewing Captain Marvel, it would be to expect the unexpected. Marvel is a studio that, time and again, has chosen to twisting comic-book canon to suit new wants, rather than deliver overly faithful adaptations of the original work.
The addition of the Skrull, a race of alien shape-shifters, to the Marvel universe, prompted predictions that we may ultimately see storylines riffing on the 2008 Secret Invasion storyline, in which various members of the Avengers are replaced by extraterrestrial interlopers. In the comics, the Skrull are usually evil and often bent on invading Ground and taking it for themselves. So the facts of the case that Captain Marvel’s trailers indicated Skrull disguising themselves as human while fighting Carol Danvers( Brie Larson) naturally led commentators to suspect they were up to their old tricks.
To twist that narrative on its head and make the Skrull the victims of a race of fascistic foreigner warriors, the Kree, was the various kinds of masterstroke that only Marvel could pull off. Any other studio would have faced accusations of subverting canon, but the Disney-owned studio has done such a great job of creating its cinematic universe that it has credit in spades from fans.
We trust that if Marvel has chosen to alter the route the MCU works for the big screen, there must be a good reason. And here, there is: it is the involvement of the Skrull, and the revelation that they are not the bad guys after all, that allows Danvers to escape her straitened existence as a kind of Kree pet and achieve her destiny as Captain Marvel. The Skrull’s new identity as downtrodden refugees was also another example of Marvel’s penchant for sprinkling its bombastically far out fantasy cosmo with only the right amount of real-world complexity.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s film shakes up the MCU in other ways, minor and major. For a start, we discover that Danvers has been a part of the MCU since before we previously thought it had begun. There was always more than a hint, in 2008′ s Iron Man, that Tony Stark’s tin-suited Avenger didn’t represent Nick Fury’s first superhero rodeo – what would have been the point of setting up S.H.I.E.L.D if there were no other super-suited titans out there to inhabit it? Now we know how he got the idea for the Avengers in the first place: from his 1995 encounter with Danvers and her Skrull pals.
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