Let's Talk 'Captain Marvel's Big Twist Ending and What It Means for the MCU

Captain Marvel might not end on an epic cliffhanger like Avengers: Infinity War, but the latest Marvel movie still has plenty of twists and turns. One of the biggest comes in the final act of the movie, setting up an epic conflict that will catch most audiences by surprise. If you’ve already seen Captain Marvel, here’s a spoiler-filled explainer for the movie’s shocking ending, and if you haven’t seen the movie, well, what are you doing here?

You’ve been warned: Captain Marvel spoilers ahead.

When Captain Marvel begins, Brie Larson’s character “Veers” is living on Hala, the capital planet of the Kree. This alien race, who previously showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy, adopted an amnesiac Veers six years earlier and trained her to become a member of their elite military team, Starforce.

In an early scene, Starforce sets off an a mission to rescue a Kree spy who’s in danger due to an invasion by enemy aliens, the Skrulls, a shapeshifting race the Kree view as terrorists. However, it’s not quite that simple.

captain marvel spoilers ending explained
Skrulls arriving on Earth in 'Captain Marvel'

As we later learn, the Kree are actually evil and the Skrull are the good guys. It turns out the Skrull are basically refugees who’ve been all but wiped out by the Kree after refusing to submit to their evil empire. Meanwhile, the Kree actually kidnapped “Veers” (real name Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel) from Earth and scrambled her memory so she’d believe them.

By the end of the movie, we learn that Captain Marvel’s Kree mentor, played by Jude Law, is actually the one who kidnapped her, and he’s been limiting her powers intentionally with a chip embedded in the back of her neck. Meanwhile, the Skrull, led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), turn out to be pretty charming — aside from the whole shapeshifter thing.

So are the Kree totally evil while the Skrull are good? It’s rarely that simple, at least in the comics. In a 2008 to 2009 comic book crossover event titled Secret Invasion, the Skrulls tried to take over Earth by impersonating various superheroes. Could that happen in a future Marvel movie? Maybe, though it’d certainly be out of character for the Skrulls we met in Captain Marvel.

captain marvel spoilers ending explained
'Secret Invasion' comic book cover

As for the Kree, they’re mostly portrayed as an aggressive and militaristic race, which fits with what we see in Captain Marvel. During the movie, the Kree are ruled by the Supreme Intelligence, a powerful artificial intelligence that often served as an antagonist in the comics. At the end of the movie, Captain Marvel vows to destroy the Supreme Intelligence and get revenge on the entire Kree empire, which would seem to set up a Captain Marvel 2 set-in between the events of the first movie and Avengers: Endgame.

In 'Captain Marvel', the Supreme Intelligence takes the form of whatever person you admire most. In the comics and cartoon, it's a big, floating green head.

Whether that actually happens remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing the Captain Marvel ending makes clear, it’s that intergalactic war is rarely as simple as good vs. evil. As the MCU expands into more cosmic stories, that’s one thing fans should definitely keep in mind.

Captain Marvel is in theaters now.