We never learn anything explicit about Carol Danvers’ sexual orientation in Captain Marvel, but the lack of it has left it open for fans to assume Carol might be heterosexual, homosexual, or anywhere on the spectrum of sexuality.
Is Carol Danvers gay? If you want her to be, Captain Marvel also offers more than enough evidence to support that she may have been in a relationship with fellow Air Force pilot Monica Rambeau.
“The great love story in this movie is her best friend,” Brie Larson explained to news.com.au of her character’s friendship with Rambeau. “That’s her long lost love. And I can’t think of anything that is more powerful to me than the girlfriends in my life. To get to imbue what that experience is really like [in the movie] felt powerful.”
Danvers’ relationship with Rambeau is the heart of Captain Marvel, helping Carol regain her sense of humanity. The two women are so close that Maria’s daughter Monica calls Danvers “Auntie Carol.” We see in a box full of Danvers’ personal items that they formed their own little family, even celebrating holidays together. Women couldn’t fly combat in the Air Force during the ‘80s, so Maria and Carol tested planes for Dr. Wendy Lawson (actually a Kree named Mar-Vell) and P.E.G.A.S.U.S., and we see them endure sexual harassment in one flashback.
But when the crash happened in 1989 that gave Carol her powers, Maria and the rest of Earth thought Carol Danvers was dead for the next six years. Their reunion midway through Captain Marvel is the most emotional scene of the film, fueling fan theories and dreams of them being a legit couple.
The fan fiction has already begun.
There’s even fan art depicting Larson in her Captain Marvel-themed jump suit that she wore to surprise fans at one theater, where she served concessions.
Here’s Larson’s actual suit.
“Susan Jane” is probably not Carol’s actual middle name(s), right?
Internet film critic persona “Film Crit Hulk” has many astute criticisms of Captain Marvel, but one of his most poignant is this: “good granola should carol and maria’s story have been made text, like, oof.”
Film Crit Hulk is saying that their romantic story was presented merely as “subtext,” or an underlying fact that’s merely implied. Making something “text” is the opposite: making it explicit.
Had Captain Marvel made Danvers explicitly gay, it would have elevated Carol’s emotional arc to even greater heights and infused the film with more personal stakes. If Captain Marvel has one failing, it’s that Marvel Studios played it too safe with this one. Making Carol and Maria’s story “text” would’ve been a major improvement.
At the Los Angeles premiere for Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios production chief Victoria Alonso said “the world is ready” for a gay superhero.
Heather Hogan, managing editor at Autostraddle, perhaps summed up the collective feeling of a lot fans best when she put it this way: “I actually just saw a Marvel movie with a gay love story and it was called Captain Marvel.” (Read Hogan’s full review of the film, too.)
Maybe the world already has a gay superhero? Either way, fans can expect more of her story in the likely forthcoming sequel, just based on the opening weekend’s box office of $153 million ($456 million worldwide).
Captain Marvel is now in theaters with Avengers: Endgame due out April 26, 2019.