Following her big screen debut in March, Carol Danvers (aka, Captain Marvel) is set to join the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Endgame. But before she can team up with Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of the gang, Carol Danvers may have to prove her worth in a fight with at least one of the (remaining) Avengers. The reason? That’s just how these movies work.
As redditor u/AdrammelechAeshma noted in a recent post to the Marvel Studios subreddit, ever Avengers movie so far has featured some sort of fight between different heroes. In the original Avengers, it was Thor vs. Iron Man and Captain America (watch it here if you don’t remember). In Age of Ultron, Tony Stark used his Hulkbuster armor to take down an angry Bruce Banner (video), and Infinity War featured an epic battle between the Guardians of the Galaxy and an Avengers squad made up of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange.
So if history is any indication, there’s bound to be some sort of hero-on-hero showdown in Avengers: Endgame. The only question is: Who? And the answer (or at least half of it) seems pretty obvious: Captain Marvel. As the new kid in town, Carol Danvers may be perceived as a threat when she first arrives. Or she might simply be angry for some reason we’ll learn in Captain Marvel and show up ready to rumble.
But with Captain Marvel looking for a fight, which Avenger will be on the receiving end? Commenters on the original Reddit thread suggest that Thor could be the one to do it, which makes sense since he’d have something to prove after failing to stop Thanos after coming so close. He was also looking particularly mopey in the Endgame trailer. So he’s probably ready for a good fight.
However, if there’s one Avenger who’s most likely to end up fighting an ally, it’s probably the Hulk. Not only is Bruce Banner’s alter ego prone to fits of uncontrollable rage, but there’s a subtle narrative pattern in the MCU when it comes to the Hulk: Anytime another character needs to be quickly established as super powerful they just beat up on the Hulk.
That’s what Iron Man did in Ultron (with some extra armor), and Marvel used the same narrative trick to establish Thanos as a powerful enemy in Infinity War. Even Thor gets to take on the Hulk in Ragnarok, giving the God of Thunder a chance to redeem himself at his lowest point in that movie.
So having Captain Marvel lay the smackdown on Hulk would be an easy and efficient way to establish her as a powerful new character. The only catch is that Bruce Banner is currently unable to transform into the Hulk in the MCU. So something big will need to happen for him to unlock that power again. Will Carol Danvers’ arrival be the thing that does it?
Then again, maybe it won’t be as simple as a one-on-one fight. If Captain Marvel really is the toughest Avenger of all, it should take an entire superhero team to beat her. So when the character first shows up in Endgame, perhaps we’ll see her take on Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and anyone else still around.
Winning that fight, or even just surviving it, would be more than enough to establish Captain Marvel as the most powerful hero on Earth — and maybe even as the defacto new leader of the Avengers.
Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, 2019.