The post-credits scene for Avengers: Infinity War may be the most effective trailer for an upcoming stand-alone film in the history of the franchise. With half the universe wiped away with a snap of Thanos' fingers, including Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Avengers defeated, a message was sent via a pager, across time and space. As Fury disintegrated, the pager pinged back. Captain Marvel had answered the call. But what do fans know about this heretofore unknown heroine? What are Captain Marvel's powers? Does she have the ability to defeat Thanos where an entire phalanx of Marvel heroes failed?
Fans don't know a lot about Captain Marvel or her alter ego, Carol Danvers. That's because this film will be the first one she's appeared in. But in the comics, Danvers' abilities are unlike anything fans have seen on screen. And according to Marvel Cinematic Universe CEO Kevin Feige, when asked about her back in 2016, the movie would stay true to the comics in this respect. Speaking to Vulture, he said:
It's very important to us that all of our heroes do not become silhouette-perfect cutout icons. All of the Marvel characters have flaws to them, all of them have a deep humanity to them. With Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we've ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she's introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we've ever had. It's important, then, to counterbalance that with someone who feels real. She needs to have a humanity to tap into, and Brie can do that.
The first Captain Marvel was actual male, introduced back in the late 1960s in Marvel Super-Heroes #12. The name was explained away by the character being the alter-ego of a Kree named "Mar-Vell." He lasted until the 1980s when he developed inoperable cancer and was killed off in a series appropriately known as The Death Of Captain Marvel.
In 1969, Captain Marvel rescued a character named Carol Danvers, in Captain Marvel #18. A short-lived female love interest, Danvers disappeared again until 1977, when the comic brought her back as "Ms. Marvel." In the series, it is revealed back in the 1969 comic Danvers' exposure from the explosion was from a device called the "Psyche-Magnetron." Captain Marvel may have saved her life, but the energy she absorbed caused her genetic structure to meld with his. She was now basically a human-Kree hybrid.
Ms. Marvel remained Danvers' alter ego until this century when she was rebranded as Captain Marvel, and the Ms. Marvel title passed down to a new character. Still, the original origin story from the 1970s is expected to be incorporated into whatever variation of it the MCU comes up with. Energy explosions, exposure to a Kree masquerading as a human, and viola, Human-Kree hybrid achieved. This also explains how both characters from S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Kree from Guardians of the Galaxy will be part of the cast.
What are her "super strengths" in the comics, which come from her Kree hybrid nature? To break it down simply she has super strength, flight, the ability to absorb energy blasts and radiate them back, and a partial Kree physiology. To cite an example, Captain Marvel in the comics is really good friends with Jessica Jones. When Jessica needs Kilgrave dealt with once and for all after defeating him, Captain Marvel picks his mind-controlling little backside up and flies him off into space, and then tosses him into the sun. Now that's the kind of BFF every superhero could use.
Captain Marvel arrives in theaters March 3, 2019.