From the story behind Nick Furys eyepatch to the rehabilitation of the Skrull, the latest Marvel film has altered comic-book canon in fruitful ways
If theres one thing we should have been primed for, prior to viewing Captain Marvel, it would be to expect the unexpected. Marvel is a studio that, time and again, has chosen to twist comic-book canon to suit new needs, rather than deliver overly faithful adaptations of the original work.
The addition of the Skrull, a race of alien shape-shifters, to the Marvel universe, prompted predictions that we may ultimately see storylines riffing on the 2008 Secret Invasion storyline, in which various members of the Avengers are replaced by extraterrestrial interlopers. In the comics, the Skrull are usually evil and often bent on invading Earth and taking it for themselves. So the fact that Captain Marvels trailers showed Skrull disguising themselves as human while fighting Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) naturally led observers to suspect they were up to their old tricks.
To twist that narrative on its head and make the Skrull the victims of a race of fascistic alien warriors, the Kree, was the kind of masterstroke that only Marvel could pull off. Any other studio would have faced accusations of subverting canon, but the Disney-owned studio has done such a great job of creating its cinematic universe that it has credit in spades from fans.
We trust that if Marvel has chosen to alter the way the MCU works for the big screen, there must be a good reason. And here, there is: it is the involvement of the Skrull, and the revelation that they are not the bad guys after all, that allows Danvers to escape her straitened existence as a sort of Kree pet and achieve her destiny as Captain Marvel. The Skrulls new identity as downtrodden refugees was also another example of Marvels penchant for sprinkling its bombastically far out fantasy universe with just the right amount of real-world complexity.
Anna Boden and Ryan Flecks film shakes up the MCU in other ways, minor and major. For a start, we discover that Danvers has been a part of the MCU since before we previously thought it had begun. There was always more than a hint, in 2008s Iron Man, that Tony Starks tin-suited Avenger didnt represent Nick Furys first superhero rodeo – what would have been the point of setting up S.H.I.E.L.D if there were no other super-suited titans out there to populate it? Now we know how he got the idea for the Avengers in the first place: from his 1995 encounter with Danvers and her Skrull pals.