These Iconic Marvel Characters Will Return for ‘Captain Marvel’

Marvel fans are currently busy getting hyped for Avengers 4, but there’s another MCU movie on the horizon that’s shaping up to be almost as incredible: Captain Marvel. Set in the 1990s, this March 2019 film will star Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a young woman who unexpectedly gains superpowers and becomes one of the world’s most powerful heroes.

Aside from it being the first Marvel Studios movie to be primarily led by a female hero, there’s another reason to get excited for Captain Marvel: it’s bringing back four iconic characters from previous MCU films. Here’s a look at which characters are coming back, including the one we’re most excited about (page 6), and how they might factor into the story.

Phil Coulson is back

Agent Phil Coulson in Iron Man 2 post-credit scene

Coulson has been an important part of the MCU. | Giphy

Captain Marvel will feature the triumphant return of Phil Coulson. Coulson was a member of SHIELD who had a supporting role in the MCU starting with the first Iron Man.

Loki kills him in The Avengers, and his death inspires the characters to come together once and for all. Later, the TV show Agents of SHIELD brought Coulson back to life — he is literally resurrected — but he has not appeared in any of the films since then.

Clark Gregg has now been confirmed to be reprising the character in Captain Marvel. Because the movie takes place in the 1990s, Coulson in this film will be between nine and 18 years younger than he was when we met him in Iron Man, even though the actor himself is 10 years older.

Next: This is why Coulson returning could actually be a big deal. 

Could this allow for Coulson to return in future movies?

Cast of Agents of SHIELD stand next to one another in front of the SHIELD emblem

Coulson has been hanging out in the TV universe on Agents of SHIELD. | ABC

Agents of SHIELD exists in the MCU timeline, meaning it’s canon that Coulson is alive. Yet this has never come up in the movies. Presumably, all of the Avengers still think he’s dead.

It’s unclear whether the movies are ever going to address Coulson’s resurrection. One of the issues is that if you don’t follow the Marvel TV universe, it would be pretty weird for a character who dramatically died in one movie to just randomly return with barely any explanation.

But one theory suggests that Captain Marvel will help explain Coulson’s resurrection within the movie timeline so that it makes sense when he returns in Avengers 4 or later. In Agents of SHIELD, Coulson was resurrected using Kree bodily fluids, and the Kree are going to be a big part of Captain Marvel; they tie into how Carol Danvers gets her powers.

So if Captain Marvel establishes that Kree bodily fluids can bring people back to life, this could set up Coulson’s return better than if that idea had never come up in the movies and only happened on TV.

Next: This is the second character who will return in the movie. 

Ronan the Accuser is also back

Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy

He was an important part of Guardians of the Galaxy. | Giphy

The next character who will return to the MCU in Captain Marvel is actually a villain: Ronan the Accuser. You’ll recall Ronan as being the main antagonist of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.

In that film, he’s a genocidal Kree who is upset about the Kree Empire making peace with the people of Xandar. He wants to destroy Xandar, and so he joins forces with Thanos.

In Guardians, if Ronan is able to get Thanos the Orb, which houses an Infinity Stone, Thanos promises to destroy Xandar. However, once Ronan gets the Orb, he decides he doesn’t need Thanos and he can just use it to wipe out Xandar himself. Luckily, the Guardians of the Galaxy are able to kill Ronan using the Power Stone.

Next: This is why Ronan coming back is so exciting. 

Ronan was much more important in the comics

Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy

There’s more to Ronan than meets the eye. | Marvel

If you just watch the Marvel movies and don’t read the comics, you might not have much fondness for Ronan, disregarding him as another one of the MCU’s generic villains. But in the comics, he’s actually a fairly important and memorable character, and he isn’t even always a villain; he’s sometimes more of an antihero. He also plays a key role in the Kree-Skrull war.

Captain Marvel could potentially flesh out Ronan a bit more than Guardians of the Galaxy did. But it also just makes sense for him to show up. After all, Jude Law is playing Captain Mar-Vell, who the Kree Empire sends to Earth. Since Ronan is a key member of the Kree Empire, this is a perfect opportunity for him to return and for this movie to tie back to a previous MCU entry.

Next: Another Guardians of the Galaxy vet will return in the movie.

Korath the Pursuer will join Ronan in the movie

Korath the Pursuer

You probably forgot about this character. | Giphy

There’s another Guardians character who will be making a return in Captain Marvel, although he’s a bit less significant: Korath the Pursuer.

In Guardians, he’s a Kree mercenary who works for Ronan and who we first meet during the opening scene on Morag; he’s the guy who, when Peter Quill reveals his identity as Star-Lord, responds, “Who?” Drax ends up killing Korath near the end of the movie. So once again, this is a character who could never return in anything other than a prequel.

Since the Kree Empire is going to be such a big part of Captain Marvel, it makes sense for Korath to be back. In the comics, Korath spearheaded a project to create cybernetic warriors for the Kree militia, so that may be something that comes into play in Captain Marvel. 

Next: We haven’t seen much of this character in a while, but he’s back in Captain Marvel.

Nick Fury will return as well

Nick Fury in Iron Man post-credit scene

Fury is going to be in a different place than he was when we met him in Iron Man. | Giphy

Fans will be excited to hear that with Coulson back, it only makes sense that his boss Nick Fury return as well; Samuel L. Jackson has been confirmed for the film. Once again, this means we’ll be seeing a younger version of the character than we’ve ever seen before.

He’ll be very different in this film, and we’ll see Nick Fury first learning about superheroes. According to Kevin Feige, Captain Marvel is actually the first superhero Fury ever comes across.

Fury will look a lot different in the movie. Leaked set photos show him with a full head of hair; he also looks a lot heavier than he does in the present-day movies.

There’s also another key change in Fury’s Captain Marvel look.

Next: The movie might answer a key question about Nick Fury. 

Fury will have both eyes in the movie

Samuel L Jackson in 'Captain America: The First Avenger'

We could get to see how Fury loses his eye. | Marvel Studios

Nick Fury’s eyepatch is a pretty iconic part of his look, but he won’t have it in this movie. Fury has both eyes in Captain Marvel, as the movie takes place before he lost one.

So could Captain Marvel be the movie in which we actually learn how Fury lost his eye? That story still hasn’t been told in the MCU canon. However, he has suggested there was some sort of a betrayal involved. He told Steve Rogers in Captain America: Winter Soldier, “The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye.”

One theory is that Fury was betrayed by an ally who turned out to be a Skrull. The Skrulls are shapeshifting aliens who are set to make their MCU debut in Captain Marvel, so that would make a lot of sense.

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