Brie Larson - Captain Marvel vs Thanos - Avengers Infinity War

The Marvel Studios Hall H presentation at this year’s San Diego Comic Con was a deluge of exciting news about the studio’s plans for the 2019 Captain Marvel film starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson (Room) and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson). We learned that Captain Marvel is set in the 1990s, making it a prequel to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition, Samuel L. Jackson was confirmed to appear as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s head honcho Nick Fury, but pre-eyepatch. Perhaps the most exciting development is the announcement that the villains of the movie will be the race of alien shapeshifters known as the Skrulls – which could herald a potential Secret Invasion storyline in Phase 4 of the MCU! Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also dropped the bombshell that Captain Marvel would depict the MCU’s version of the seminal Avengers comic book story The Kree-Skrull War.

All of this Captain Marvel news makes Marvel fans giddy with anticipation, and we can be forgiven for wanting to see Captain Marvel right away. The film doesn’t begin shooting until next year and 2019 seems so far from now. Of course, Marvel Studios has something truly epic coming next summer: Avengers: Infinity War. This veritable big bang of the MCU is expected to feature just about every superhero who has appeared in an MCU film going up against the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), who means to rule the universe by assembling the fabled Infinity Gauntlet. The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, along with many members of their supporting cast, are confirmed to be in Infinity War – with many heroes not surviving.

Naturally, fans who want to see her sooner than later wonder if Captain Marvel herself will appear inInfinity War to pit her cosmic powers against Thanos. They could certainly use her help. However, Captain Marvel’s inclusion in Infinity War has been firmly denied by Infinity War‘s director Joe Russo. That should be the end of it, right? Maybe it is, and perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but we’ve heard studio denials of things that turned out to be true before. Could Captain Marvel be in Avengers: Infinity War after all? Let’s examine the possibilities:

CAPTAIN MARVEL ISN’T IN INFINITY WAR

Avengers Infinity War

Besides Joe Russo’s denial, it’s hard to disagree that he and his brother Anthony more than have their hands full directing Infinity War. This is the biggest Marvel film ever and the biggest cinematic superhero event ever in terms of sheer scale and ambition. Infinity War will the culmination of the entire 22 films produced by Marvel Studios thus far spanning Phases 1 to 3. It is also expected to feature over 30 super characters between the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the villains, including the Children of Thanos. Logically, this incredibly crowded field isn’t the place to introduce yetanother superhero audiences have never seen before – much less the superhero who is to be Marvel’s version of Wonder Woman, i.e. their first female superhero to headline her own movie.

Besides, Captain Marvel is already being set up as being special and different. She’s going to be more than just another Avenger. She even came to be a decade before Nick Fury pitched the Avengers Initiative to Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Like Captain America (Chris Evans) in The First Avenger, Captain Marvel will have an entire era of MCU history all to herself – the 1990s. It should be incredibly fun to see the Marvel version of the ’90s – a time before everyone had smart phones, the Internet was still a new invention, and long before Hydra was revealed to be gestating within S.H.I.E.L.D. Assuming there’s no bridge to the present like there was in The First AvengerCaptain Marvel could be uniquely self-contained in that era. There’s even a mystery to address – where has she been all this time?

Captain Marvel appearing in Infinity War in any capacity gives away the answer before we are even presented the question. Audiences could be excused for asking “Who’s this?” – let’s face it, she isn’t anywhere nearly as well known or as iconic as Wonder Woman – especially when their investment is in the characters they already know and love like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). With little time to get into the particulars of Captain Marvel, her presence would be a distraction at best, or worse, some sort of deus ex machina if she turns out to be pivotal to defeating Thanos.

Besides, in this day and age of smart phone cameras everywhere and constant leaks about details of movies, it’s extremely difficult (but not impossible) to maintain secrecy. There’s been no sighting of Brie Larson (who is very active on Instagram and Twitter) on the Infinity War set in Atlanta, whereas the rest of the cast have been posting behind the scenes photos left and right. So when the director of the movie comes out to squash fan speculation and put a damper on any potential disappointment – especially when there’s been no evidence Captain Marvel is in the movie – it’s best we should believe him and focus on the multitude of characters that already are in Infinity War to look forward to. Captain Marvel will soon have her day, after all, and that day will be all hers.

Captain Marvel and the Quantum

WHY CAPTAIN MARVEL REALLY IS IN INFINITY WAR

We’ve had directors of major blockbusters lie to us before. Prior to Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams and his entire team at Bad Robot played a game where they continually denied the villain in the movie, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), was really Khan and that Into Darkness wasn’t a reboot of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It turns out both were unequivocally false – John Harrison was indeed Khan and Into Darkness was Star Trek II redux, which garnered resentment from audiences. Marvel Studios isn’t above such obfuscation. With Spider-Man: Homecoming, the studio played a strange, confusing game with Zendaya’s character Michelle, with all parties denying Michelle was Mary Jane Watson. It turned out she isn’t, but her character’s initials are “M.J.” All of this deception resulted in a reveal that landed with a thud in an otherwise zippy and delightful teen superhero romp.

Though the MJ reveal backfired, with Infinity War, Marvel Studios could be playing the same kind of game they played with MJ to keep the surprise of Captain Marvel just that. This could be a case of Marvel looking at their Distinguished Competition and seeing just how miserable an effort they have made keeping it a secret that Superman (Henry Cavill), who died in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, will be resurrected in Justice League. The marketing of the movie and Cavill himself on Instagram continually spilled the beans on the Man of Steel coming back to join his Super Friends. There won’t be too many people surprised when the familiar red and blue-clad muscular form of Superman shows up in the movie.

Marvel Studios could be playing one of the greatest games of keep-away in movies right now. They know there are plenty of superheroes to occupy fans’ attention and keep anticipation for Infinity War at a fever pitch. Marvel also knows how to keep secrets – Sylvester Stallone’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was kept under wraps until very close to the film’s release, and the Watchers’ appearances were delightful surprises. The same kind of sleight of hand could be in the works for Captain Marvel. Perhaps the reason why there have been no leaks of Brie Larson on the Infinity Warset is because her appearance simply hasn’t been shot yet and will take place during reshoots under a cloud of secrecy.

There’s also the possibility that Captain Marvel could appear in an end-credits scene, or she will at least be mentioned, if an end credits scene instead introduces the Skrulls. However, Captain Marvel is intended to be the most powerful superhero in the MCU – why wouldn’t she appear in the film itself and help save the day against Thanos? The Avengers and the Guardians could use her sheer power on their side, and her presence would help alleviate the lack of many of the cosmic characters like Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer who play pivotal roles in The Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel but are absent entirely from the movie. If there’s one Marvel movie that Captain Marvel is most needed in, Infinity War would be it. It’s simply hard to believe Captain Marvel wouldn’t fight in an Infinity War that needs her the most.

What do you think? Is Captain Marvel secretly in Avengers Infinity War, or is Marvel Studios truly holding her back for her solo film? Which do you prefer? Sound off in the comments!