Captain Marvel arrives in Cineworld on 8th March, and the eponymous hero (played by the Oscar-winning Brie Larson) is set to make a huge impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The events of Avengers: Infinity War dropped a mammoth bombshell on moviegoers last April, chiefly the post-credit scene that teased the imminent arrival of the MCU's newest (and, reportedly, most powerful) hero. Indeed, it's believed Captain Marvel (aka Carol Danvers) will play a pivotal role not just in this year's Avengers: Endgame, but in re-shaping the MCU as we know it.
Although the climactic chapter of phase 3 of the MCU won't be with us for some time (Avengers: Endgame is released on 26th April), Danvers' standalone movie reaches us in March, and it's poised to be one of 2019's biggest blockbusters.
Fans are feverishly speculating about how Danvers could potentially alter the MCU as we know it – here are just a few ways this could happen…
It may give new perspective on the character of Nick Fury
Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s – in reality that's a whole decade before the release of Iron Man in 2008, which birthed the MCU.
When Iron Man was first released, we of course believed Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was the inception point for the Avengers team, until a line delivered in the film's post-credit scene by one-eyed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson): "You think you're the only superhero in the world?...you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet".
At the time, we could only take it at face value as a set-up for the likes of Thor and Captain America to join the MCU. However, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has told Entertainment Weekly that Captain Marvel will in fact be the first superhero Nick Fury will come into contact with.
The trailer goes heavy on the interplay between Captain Marvel and Fury, as she opens his eyes to an interstellar war (more on which momentarily) about which he knew nothing. At the time the Captain Marvel movie is set, government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. is at the peak of its powers, and Fury is at the heart of the operation, so this comes as a major revelation to him. (It will also come as a shock to us to see him with two eyes – we're wondering how he came to lose one of them.)
Therefore Fury's line at the end of Iron Man potentially has a whole new meaning, as this initial meeting between him and Captain Marvel could be the catalyst for his motivations throughout the subsequent MCU movies. This film therefore has the potential to re-shape our perspective of both his character and what we thought we knew about the franchise.
It could pave the way for more powerful MCU heroes (and villains)
Captain Marvel's introduction is considered to be a pretty big deal, not least because no other hero in the MCU comes close to matching her strength. We've already seen a lot of powerful characters including Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the late Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and, of course, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), but even they wouldn't stand a chance against her.
According to an interview with the writers of Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel is on a power scale that we've not yet seen in the MCU. With abilities including super strength and durability, flight, firing and absorbing energy blasts, and even being able to transform into an even more powerful alter-ego known as Binary, we think that super-villain Thanos's (Josh Brolin) days are numbered once she gets involved.
Now that Captain Marvel is raising the stakes, this paves the way for even more powerful heroes to join the team such as Adam Warlock, who was teased in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
And with more powerful heroes comes even deadlier villains. If rumours are to be believed, the next big threat to our heroes will be a race of god-like beings known as Eternals, the spin-off movie for which is said to be in the planning.
Captain Marvel could become the new superhero leader
In recent years, classic characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man have joined the MCU. At the same time, rumours are circulating that veteran stars Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans (who plays Steve Rogers/Captain America) will be making their exit in Avengers: Endgame once their contracts expire – and one popular theory is that Captain Marvel could potentially become the leader of a new generation of Avengers.
As the strongest, most experienced Marvel hero to emerge at the close of phase 3 of the MCU, it only makes sense that Captain Marvel will take the Captain's place – should he die. Similarly, other theories speculate she, being a hero from outer space, could join the ranks of the Guardians of the Galaxy or even form a whole new team of her own.
In the comics she's also been a member of A-Force, Alpha Flight, and the Starjammers, so it's not beyond the realm of imagination that one of these groups could appear further down the line in the MCU with Danvers at the helm.
It could introduce new realms within the Marvel Cinematic Universe
While the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor franchises have taken us on adventures to distant planets and realms, for the most part the MCU has been grounded on Earth. It's where we've been introduced to many of our favourite heroes and where Infinity War's epic battle was fought on the African plains of Wakanda.
As the series has progressed we've been introduced to new aspects that make up the enormous cosmos that is the MCU, from alien races to other dimensions such as Ant-Man's Quantum Realm (which is tipped to be another pivotal part in the events of Endgame). Now that Captain Marvel is set to appear, the scope of this world has the potential to increase massively.
For starters, her debut film is set to shine more light on a war between alien races the Kree and the Skrulls, caught in the middle of which is Captain Marvel, and whose conflict leaves Earth's future hanging in the balance. Throw in the aforementioned inclusion of new, more powerful characters and you have the makings of an exciting new phase in the MCU that's bigger than anything we've seen before.
Moreover, some have theorised that the plot of Captain Marvel could be laying the groundwork for a new chapter that could incorporate the famous Secret Invasion story arc, one that could ultimately lead to the introduction of a new villainous group known as The Dark Avengers.
Captain Marvel is released on 8th March, so tweet us your essential MCU theories @Cineworld.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.