She’s a relative newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel may be headed to the top spot in the studio’s superhero pantheon in Avengers 5 — or whatever Marvel decides to call its never epic crossover movie.
According to noted Marvel tipster Daniel Richtman (paywall), Larson wants Captain Marvel to assume a leadership role as the MCU moves forward, to the point of seeing the character command the next generation of Avengers. Larson has allegedly gone so far as to make her case directly to Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige.
An Impeccable Record – From a practical standpoint, Larson’s stance that Captain Marvel should topline the next stage of the MCU makes sense. Yes, she’s only been part of Marvel’s rotation for two years, given that Captain Marvel hit theaters in 2019. But in the fictional timeline of the MCU, now that Steve Rogers is retired, she’s the most seasoned superhero still standing, having gained her powers of flight in the mid-90s.
Admittedly, this assumes she was active all that time despite not having visibly aged — that’s a subject we can hope 2022’s The Marvels covers. But when it comes to superhero experience, her service record is second to none.
More arguments could be made in favor of Larson’s Captain Marvel taking control of the Avengers as the super-powered team reels from losing both Rogers’ Captain America and Tony Stark/Iron Man. She’s likely the most powerful hero left in the MCU – at least when it comes to brute, cosmic strength (sorry, Thor). Fighting alongside other superpowered individuals and hatching battle strategies in the heat of combat was also literally her job when she fought on behalf of the Kree.
But Carol Danvers has another argument in her corner that could carry just as much weight: a comic-book history of stepping up to the plate in times of need.
A Born Leader – In the comics’ continuity, Carol Danvers never served as an official leader of the Avengers despite being a member of the team, on-and-off, since 1979’s Avengers #183. (Let’s ignore the reason why she left the team for more than a decade.) However, that doesn’t mean she lacks experience as a team leader.
After emerging as the head of the alternate-reality Banshee Squadron air force in 2015’s Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps miniseries – part of Marvel’s canonical Secret Wars storyline – Captain Marvel was given another significant leadership position in the comics, serving as the director of first-contact space program Alpha Flight. It wasn’t the easiest gig, running a program dedicated to defending Earth from potential alien invasions, but the character carried it off with style, simultaneously balancing her solo adventures and teaming up with the Ultimates.
That’s not to say things didn’t eventually fall apart, of course, which brings us to Carol’s second big leadership role. In the 2016 miniseries Civil War II, Iron Man once again led a team of heroes against a second team of heroes led by a fellow Avenger, as ideological disagreements escalated into a brutal physical conflict. In this arc, Captain Marvel directly opposed Iron Man. That she was portrayed as supporting a zero-tolerance approach to supercrime (which basically amounted to profiling, with a side of Minority Report-style future-predicting) might not be the best argument in favor of giving her more power. But the fact remains that she capably led a collective of heroes including multiple X-Men and the entire Guardians of the Galaxy, which surely adds to the case for her heading up a new Avengers lineup.
The Inverse analysis — Whether or not Larson gets her wish likely has more to do with Marvel’s larger plans for that team. Even there, though, Larson might be in luck. Not only does her character bear the studio name — really, is anyone better-qualified as a corporate figurehead? — but her next announced appearance, in The Marvels, will likely provide plenty of opportunities for her to experience life leading a super-team. Iman Villani’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau are both appearing in the Marvel Phase 4 entry, but it’ll be Larson’s name atop the marquee.
That said, 2022’s The Marvels has the potential to alter the course of the entire MCU. Will Captain Marvel even need the Avengers with a super-squad of her own in the offing? Perhaps, as the dust settles after The Marvels, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” will be surrendering that title to Danvers’ new team.