How That Huge 'Captain Marvel' Tesseract Twist Rewrites MCU History

As a prequel, Captain Marvel had to explain how Carol Danvers got her powers, where she’s been for the last 23 years, and how she’ll fit into Avengers: Endgame. The movie’s biggest surprise, however, feels almost like a confusing retcon because it involves Danvers’ connection to an Infinity Stone — and a connection between two hugely important scientists in the MCU.

Heavy spoilers follow for Captain Marvel.

Of all the Infinity Stones that Thanos uses to eradicate half the universe’s population in Avengers: Infinity War, the Space Stone has the most complicated history, having appeared in more movies than any other Infinity Stone. Yet here we are, with Captain Marvel complicating it again in a big way.

Captain Marvel’s bit plot twist is that the real Mar-Vell — Annette Bening’s character and not Jude Law’s — was a Kree scientist in the ‘80s who found the Tesseract on Earth and used it to create a form of light-speed travel. When Danvers destroyed a fuel cell in 1989 so it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, the Tesseract’s power infused into her body, creating the MCU’s most powerful being.

Then in 1995, they retrieve the Tesseract from Mar-Vell’s research lab and Nick Fury brings it back to Earth while Carol Danvers flies away to find Skrull refugees a new home.

But wait … how did Mar-vell end up with the Tesseract in the first place? If you’re a little confused by this Space Stone’s timeline you’re not alone. So we did some digging to figure out the Tesseract timeline now that Captain Marvel’s added another wrinkle to the story.

Must Read: Here’s the One Marvel Movie You Need to Rewatch Before Seeing ‘Captain Marvel’

Captain America
'Captain Marvel' fills in the gap between 'Captain America' and 'The Avengers'.

The Tesseract’s been around for years now, so here’s a quick recap of its history:

Odin kept the Tesseract in Asgard for aeons until bringing it to Earth, where it became the source of many legends in Norway. That’s where it was found by Red Skull during Captain America: The First Avengers and used to develop Nazi weapons. At the end of that movie it ends up falling into the Arctic Ocean. That’s where Howard Stark recovers it.

He studied it for years, and his findings helped Tony Stark develop a new element in Iron Man 2. We don’t really see the Tesseract again until the Thor post-credits scene when S.H.I.E.L.D. has it.

So how does that even fit with Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel Carol Danvers
Carol Danvers met Mar-Vell in the late-'80s.

This discrepancy does create something of a plot hole for the MCU — but also an opportunity. At some point, Howard Stark must have encountered Mar-Vell and maybe even worked with her. That’s when he handed off the Tesseract.

47 years passed between Howard Stark recovering the Tesseract and the incident that triggers Captain Marvel’s powers, so Captain Marvel makes it seem probable that both scientists worked together at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. between 1942 and 1989.

It’s fun to imagine that story, and maybe if we’re lucky, Marvel will get around to telling it at some point in the future. After Endgame, it really does seem like anything is possible, and we definitely wouldn’t mind learning exactly how the Tesseract passed between these two great minds of the MCU.

Captain Marvel is now in theaters.

Media via Marvel Studios