Captain Marvel, the last film in Marvel's Phase III before the conclusion of the current Avengers storyline, sets up the future by going back to the past. The movie isn't set entirely here on our planet either, making it one of the few space-earth hybrid stories in the MCU thus far. But when the action does occur here at home, it will be set in the 1990s, long before Tony Stark created himself an Iron Man suit or Captain America was thawed from the ice. But even without them, the tesseract will appear in Captain Marvel, confirming the Infinity Stones still tie into the tale.
The latest trailer shows both Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson in their younger years when they were both still lower rung cogs in a S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. Fury, in particular, seems to be at loose ends, with no Cold War to focus the fight anymore and the War on Terror still a decade away. Meeting a human-looking alien with mindblowing abilities like photon blasts changes his life.
It opens his mind to the awareness of what's out there, and the discovery a Kree-Skrull War is ongoing, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth. He also learns there could be other superpowered humans in the world to recruit for a nascent initiative.
But according to Samuel L. Jackson, who has played Fury in Marvel films and TV shows across the last decade, it's not just the understanding of what lies beyond the atmosphere that jogs Fury's life into a new direction. There's also the Tesseract, also known as the Space Stone. First seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Tesseract fell into the Arctic along with Steve Rodgers at the end of the film.
But unlike Rogers, who was presumed dead, the Tesseract was fished back out by Tony Stark's father Howard Stark. After studying it for several years, Stark handed it over to S.H.I.E.L.D. The Tesseract then became part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Fans see Fury and Danvers entering where this project is housed in a short clip in the second trailer.
Initially assumed to be an easter egg for fans, Jackson's response at being asked about it suggests it's not a fluke. Instead, he seems to concur with the Entertainment Tonight interviewer this is his first time seeing the Space Stone. "[T]hat whole power core thing... Seems like the Tesseract has been the constant in all these movies."
Even though this is the point where Fury becomes aware of the Tesseract, history will show he doesn't put nearly the stock into experimenting with it as he does with the Avengers Initiative. The understanding there are dangers in the universe the world needs protection from is what Fury takes away from this adventure, as well as the lesson there are people like Captain Marvel out there who are willing to step up and be that protection.
Fury also gains one other thing: His eyepatch. "You'll see, specifically, the origin of what happened to his eye," says Jackson. Could the Tesseract be involved?
Fans will learn all about the past when Captain Marvel arrives in theaters on Friday, March 8, 2019.