The Ending of 'Captain Marvel' Bleeds Right into 'Avengers: Endgame'

captain marvel
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

This post contains spoilersfor Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

The end of Avengers: Infinity War left a lot hanging in the air -- and not just the dust from the bodies of the heroes that Thanos dissipated with the snap of his fingers. It was instantly clear that some of the lingering questions would be answered in Captain Marvel. Among them: Just where is the aforementioned Captain Marvel during this mess? And why is Nick Fury using a freakin' pager in the year 2018?

The 1995-set origin story -- now out in theaters -- has answers, setting up exactly how Brie Larson's Carol Danvers will figure into the next Marvel Cinematic Universe extravaganza, Avengers: Endgame. Captain Marvel's mid-credits sequence documents the very moment she shows up alongside Cap (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and Rhodey (Don Cheadle). Clearly unaware of the whole end-of-the-world threat, her first words to them are: "Where's Fury?"

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Let's back up a little bit. The new film from Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden is the first time we've ever met Carol, and it charts her journey from a warrior with a memory issue, battling for the Kree people, to insanely powerful superhero who fights for the good of all people. Along the way, she discovers that she's a human named Carol Danvers, a former Air Force pilot, and her adoptive aliens, the Kree, are the bad guys. Those shapeshifting Skrulls she's been fighting? Not evil parasites. They're an alien race just trying to find a home after being persecuted by the militaristic Kree. (There are some Israel-Palestine metaphors in there that will likely be debated.)

In an extended flashback, triggered by a black box Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) brings Carol, we see how she became superpowered while working with the Kree scientist Mar-Vell. Mar-Vell was hidden on Earth as Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), basically building a plane that can travel to other galaxies -- technology that could save the Skrulls. During a test run, Wendy and Carol are pursued by the Kree, and crash. To prevent the Kree from getting her work, Wendy instructs Carol to destroy the plane's engine. It backfires, and she absorbs its power. That's when Kree soldier Yon-Rogg decides to bring her back to the planet Hala as a sort of pet project. 

But that core wasn't really Wendy's trump card. She hid her most powerful tool in her space lab: the Tesseract, a.k.a. one of the Infinity Stones now in Thanos' possession. By the end of the movie, the Tesseract is safe (for the time being) with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. concealed in the belly of the cat Goose, actually an alien called a Flerken. In the final post-credits scene, our dear kitty coughs it up like a hairball. Carol, meanwhile, has flown off into space to help the Skrulls establish a new community. Which is all to say: Carol probably won't be so confused when she is informed that these stones have created a major problem since she's already seen how powerful they can be. 

On the subject of Nick Fury: In her journey of self-discovery, Carol becomes pals with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Such good ones that she takes his trusty pager and outfits it with Kree technology so he can call her in a time of emergency. As we now know, he manages to signal her just in time before he gets obliterated in the post-credits scene of Infinity War.

Marvel Studios

The first tag finds the group of aforementioned Avengers puzzling over Fury's pager, debating who or what it has called and bemoaning the "nightmare" situation they have found themselves in. Somehow, they got their hands on it after Fury dropped it on a random street. That's when Carol -- who has grown out her hair in the 20-odd years -- appears, demanding to see her old friend.

These Avengers have no idea who she is or how crucial she is to their own legacy. According to Captain Marvel, it's Fury's time with her that inspires him to create the Avengers Initiative. He actually names it in her honor -- "Avenger" was her nickname in the Air Force. (His adventure with her is also the reason for the eyepatch: Goose scratched him.) Of course, we're left wondering why it was never necessary to call Captain Marvel in for any of the other apocalyptic threats the Avengers have faced over the past 10 years -- including the one Loki caused involving the Tesseract. (The most plausible explanation: Marvel seriously didn't know what to do with a major female superhero, and maybe still doesn't.)

But now we're set up for Endgame. These are all the clues we're going to get as to how the action in it is going to unfold when that movie drops in a little over a month on April 26. Captain Marvel's on hand to join the fight, but, if we're going off of the Endgame trailer, so will Hawkeye and Ant-Man, presumably somehow breaking out of the Quantum Realm after his team went poof at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp. Maybe Carol will bring some of her Skrull friends along to help. Any and all support would be useful. Thanos is a really problematic guy. 

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.