The Real Reason Captain Marvel Didn’t Have a Bigger Part in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Many Marvel fans expected Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel to play a much bigger role in Avengers: Endgame than she did. After all the hype about her appearance, some fans thought her role in the mega-movie was little more than a glorified cameo.

Maybe it was, but that was actually intended on the part of the filmmakers. They wanted to avoid a problem that has dogged their rivals at DC for decades regarding Superman: making its big superhero too powerful.

Why Captain Marvel only had a brief appearance

Brie Larson
Brie Larson | Noam Galai/WireImage

The very end of Avengers: Infinity War foreshadowed great things from the woman formerly known as Carol Danvers (Larson). As Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was getting dusted by Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snap, Fury almost let out one of his famous curse words, then he dropped a pager.

That pager revealed a logo of a star and a red and blue background. Some casual fans missed the joke, but it was the logo for Captain Marvel. Ah ha, fans thought, she will be the key to defeating Thanos in Avengers: Endgame!

And she was, sort of. She rescued Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the remaining Guardians of the Galaxy from space. She also encouraged the defeated Avengers to go after Thanos, saying: “Before, you didn’t have me.” 

However, all Captain Marvel does is put Thanos in a headlock, allowing Thor to attack him. She does knock Thanos around in the final battle, but for a moment it looked like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) was going to take down Thanos all by herself. What did they need Captain Marvel for?

Why hold Captain Marvel back?

Captain Marvel has been called the MCU’s single strongest hero, with the ability to command cosmic forces that decimate even the most fearsome opponents. Her solo movie, which came out a few months before Avengers: Endgame, was an even bigger success than many expected, grossing $1 billion worldwide. That was more than Wonder Woman, which made $822 million, and she is arguably a better-known character. 

MovieWeb quoted Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Marcus as saying: “It is a tough balance to strike when you have a character that powerful who you’re going to bring in, and you don’t want it to seem like, well we just brought in this person who can clean the house that we couldn’t clean in the previous movie. So, we had to decide on a balance between not making it feel like a cameo but not having her around so much that she solved all of the problems for everybody.”

This was similar to a problem that troubled Superman writers for a long time. Sure, there’s always kryptonite, but that has been a repetitive crutch. If a superhero can do everything, why should he or she do anything? Ultimately, the point of Avengers: Endgame was to say goodbye to the original crew, so it would hardly have been appropriate to have Captain Marvel solve all their problems. 

When will we see Captain Marvel again?

That question remains to be answered. Marvel’s next phase did not include a Captain Marvel sequel, as some people expected. Black Panther 2’s release date was revealed to be 2022, so Captain Marvel 2 will be sometime after that. It has also been speculated she will play a key role in whatever the next configuration of the Avengers is.

However, it’s possible she may show up in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021. Why that one? Because it’s directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed Larson in Short Term Twelve and The Glass Castle. Larson may want to return some favors.