The end of Infinity War is very literally an end–the actual, genuine annihilation of half the universe at the hands of Thanos, armed with a fully powered Infinity Gauntlet. Not exactly the feel good, heroic, triumphant superhero vibe of Avengers past. Thanos has won, and from where we’re sitting, it looks like his victory is absolute.
But all hope isn’t lost. Though Infinity War deviates from Marvel’s post-credits formula slightly by including only one stinger, rather than what’s become the customary two, the movie’s final moments give us the briefest glimpse of what’s on the horizon.
Here’s the scene: Nick Fury and Maria Hill speed through a New York City that is slowly descending into chaos. As Fury notes that something big is happening in Wakanda, he tells Hill to get in touch with someone named Klein, likely this guy from Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron–which may point to more progress in Fury’s somewhat forgotten efforts to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D in the wake of its official Hydra-fueled destruction.
But the effects of Thanos’s finger-snap are reverberating across the galaxy and, one by one, people are disappearing at random. This means literally anyone–pilots, drivers, pedestrians–vanishing into thin air, no matter what they may have been in the middle of. So naturally, as more and more people crumble, helicopters are crashing, cars are veering off the road–you get the idea. The world is not in a great place, and Fury and Hill are left trying to puzzle through what’s happening.
Unfortunately, even their time is limited. As they scramble out of their car, Hill begins to crumble and abruptly vanishes, leaving Fury on his own. He pulls out a device–something that looks almost like a beeper–and dials out just as he himself begins to disintegrate.
As Fury blows away in the wind, the device he was holding clatters to the ground and we’re left staring at what we can only assume is the transmission of a distress signal. Though there is no text on the screen to give an official destination, a symbol or logo soon appears–the blue, red and gold emblem associated with none other than Captain Marvel.
We’ve known for some time that a Captain Marvel movie is coming–set photos of Brie Larson in costume have been filtering in since filming kicked off–but her role in the still unnamed Avengers 4 remains shrouded in mystery, just like the rest of the film. We do know, however, that her solo movie will be released in March of next year (two months prior to the next Avengers, due in May) and be set in the ’90s, which leaves her in an interesting position considering Infinity War‘s very present day ending.
Just how long has Fury known about Captain Marvel? Where has she been all this time? Is the distress signal actually going to Carol Danvers or is it going to someone like, say, her mentor Captain Mar-Vell instead?
Perhaps more importantly: what exactly can Captain Marvel do in the face of a fully powered Infinity Gauntlet?
Carol Danvers traditionally gets her powers from her Kree heritage, making her similar to what we might expect from an Asgardian in the MCU, with a few twists. In the books she has enhanced durability, strength and speed, as well as the ability to fly and shoot energy projectiles from her hands. She also has an abundance of military and tactical training both on Earth and with the Kree army, making her a formidable force both in the heat of battle and in any war room–so it’s not that she’s incapable, by any means.
But all the training and superpowers in the universe seem dwarfed by the force of the Infinity Stones, even with the Infinity Gauntlet in the damaged state that the movie leaves it in, so it’s unlikely that she’ll be able to show up on Earth without some sort of back up and expect to make a difference. Luckily, there are a few other cosmic Marvel heroes who have been alluded to in the past who just might be able to lend a hand. We saw the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy, which paves the way for Nova to get involved, especially if Thanos destroyed the entire Corps when he nabbed the Power Stone from them, which would fit with Nova’s origin in the comics. And don’t forget Adam Warlock, who was referenced in the Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 post-credits scene.