About a week ago, some exclusive photos from Entertainment Weekly revealed our first look at the Skrulls in Marvel Cinematic Universe. The leading Skrull, played by Ben Mendelsohn is seen in all the full Skrull regalia in one shot. In another shot, he takes on a human fleshed out form as a sleeper agent, posing as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Then we got the Captain Marvel trailer, where we once again saw the Skrulls in the same beach shot that Entertainment Weekly had released. It just had a bit more movement and a lot of light sourcing. Then the very next shot we see an old woman smiling at Brie Larson on the train, and Larson bashing her in the face in a quick cut.
It was a rather confusing trailer. But after reading up on some of the history of the character, I was able to hash together some coherency to what I saw and what’s in the comics. Hopefully this will clear up the trailer a bit for the rest of you all out there.
Brie Larson Smacking Old Women
No, this is not an advertisement for beating up the elderly.
Rather, it’s about the nature of the Skrulls, their history in the comic books, and how the movie will take from that, tweak it, and make the race of shapeshifters unique to the MCU property.
Yes, they are shapeshifters. That might explain Carol Danvers beating up an old lady. Or at least I hope it explains it. Their history in the comics has made them out to be some of the most elusive and most difficult to deal with. Their shapeshifting not only takes on the forms of the people they are mimicking, but their powers as well. Given that Captain Marvel is said to be the most powerful in the MCU by Kevin Feige’s standards, how will the shapeshifters fare against her, if not for a technology with the same capabilities?
Whether that old lady is actually Ben Mendelsohn using another guise, we can’t tell from the trailer. But the way the trailer is cut, the battle is either cut short because a car runs into the bus, or the Skrull escapes from the train and Larson dons the Captain Marvel uniform to blast at him/her.
The Skrulls in the Comics
The Skrulls were introduced back in the early days of The Fantastic Four, when Marvel was still Atlas Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, this alien race had the ability to not only take on the form of those they saw fit to mimick, but used their technology to mimic powers/abilities of their mimicked targets as well. In Fantastic Four Vol 1 #2, a small group of Skrulls came to earth and caused a bit of ruckus impersonating the super-hero team. The earliest comic book appearance of the Skrulls, they were more crudely drawn and with lesser hierarchal standing to actually do any lasting harm to the Earth and the early heroes. However, they meet their end almost hilariously when the Four infiltrate their base of operations and expose them for their crimes. The Fantastic Four are absolved of any wrong doing, and three of the four Skrulls are shapeshifted into bovines and hypnotized to believe they are actually cows.
The comic book Skrulls are mostly masters of infiltration and stealth, using their abilities of shapeshifting to become like normal household pets, or items like vases or lamps. Their ability to gather information has aided them in thwarting whole civilizations using their shapeshifting abilities and use of technology. There are other Skrulls who have appeared throughout the comic books, some more powerful than others. The most notable being the Super-Skrull, whose abilities are augmented through a more advanced technology to mimic both the image and powers of the person they are impersonating.
Although possessing these mans of infiltrating a society, their numbers have dwindled over the years and they have had to resort to more aggressive means to keep their population thriving. Other factors that lead to the detriment of their race is the visitation of Galactus to their home planet, where billions of Skrulls are wiped out. And more importantly, their war with the barbarous Kree.
The Kree Connection/Disconnection
There’s not much to know here, because a lot of the history behind what happens to the Skrulls is part of what happens to the Kree as well.
The Skrulls at some point in their history were a peaceful space-traveling race. They sought out planets and settled eventually on Hala, where they educated the natives there so they could join in the intergalactic trade. The Kree were part of that planet’s population, as were a gentle plant-like race called the Cotati.
Skrull leadership then held a test to determine the worthier race amongst the inhabitants of Hala. The Kree, feeling they were about to lose to a more peaceful inhabitant of their planet, killed the competing Cotati to he point of near-extinction. Then, the Kree sought out to kill the Skrulls who adjudicated over their competition, and took their technology. Using it to eventually take over their section of the galaxy.
Now the Skrull race was forced to become more war-like in an attempt to fight off the invading Kree. The Kree-Skrull war has been raging for hundreds of thousands of years in the main 616-Earth storyline.
How Captain Marvel Fits
The Kree hero Captain Mar-Vell is eventually sent as a Kree hero to earth, to spy on it and determine if it would eventually pose a threat to their empire. While investigating humans, he occasionally dons the armor of a Kree soldier, with powers not so different than a regular human’s other than some enhancements due to his Kree physiology.
During one of his observances, he poses as a recently deceased scientist Dr. Water Lawson. He is in the company of a human, Carol Danvers, who serves as a U.S. Air Force pilot and Security chief of a restricted military base. A Kree device planted on the base explodes, with both Mar-Vell and Danvers being caught in the blast. Danvers suffers a serious injury, but after some time in recovery discovers she has abilities akin to Captain Marvel. She eventually takes on the name of Ms. Marvel after her predecessor, and has only recently taken on the mantle of Captain Marvel in some iterations of the character.
As a Kree-human hybrid thanks to the explosion that melded her DNA with Mar-Vell’s, Danvers becomes a hero for earth. She frequently teams up with the Avengers, has had run-ins with the X-Men and more notably Rogue, and has progressed from a somewhat progressive character to an embodiment of women’s raised consciousness and identity. It is also noted that she was a notable player during the “Secret Invasion” storyline, where Skrull operatives replaced superheroes over the years, and acted at once to destabilize the hero community and put the earth in danger.
What the Movie (might) do
The film looks to take from elements of the Kree world and Carol Danvers’ human life. We might get an origin story mixed with a tale of her time training with Mar-Vell. There is a sense of their time as heroes of the Kree empire. That and her time with Ronan the Accuser and leader of the Starforce. There’s also a glimpse of her early life, as a little girl growing up into a young woman, and being engulfed in an explosion (the one I think she gets her powers from).
We might get a mix between that first appearance of the Skrulls from the Fantastic Four and a mix of that Secret Invasion vibe. An old lady gets smashed in the face, but we also see Ben Mendelson posing as a S.H.I.E.L.D operative. Then there’s that old comic book line back for the movie “Who do you trust?” In almost MIB style, younger versions of Coulson and Fury are getting caught in the middle of an intergalactic feud that had been raging for centuries. Amidst all this, the Skrulls, or at least this small faction washed up on the beach, are trying to infiltrate human society.
If they follow anything from the story in the comics, Danvers might be serving as a hero for the Kree. She’ll eventually learn the history of their aggression against the Skrulls. The skrulls might simply be exposed for trying to get along in human society. However, Danvers attempts to battle them when she crashes on earth because the old hatred dies hard. Eventually she might have to work to save the small Skrull population and fails. The Kree are exposed for being the brutal warlords that they are, along with their leader Ronan. This leads Danvers to get called away to protect the Skrulls from the Kree invasion. The only stopping point for her would be that last scene from Avengers: Infinity War. You know, the scene where a page was sent to her while Fury was fading into dust. Well, she’ll read that page most likely.
Then she’ll turn into ashes.
Just kidding. Maybe.
But what do you think?
Were we off with anything? Did we miss some key element of the Skrulls and Carol Danvers connection that just has to be explained? What about Mar-Vell and his connection given that he serves as the Kree hero? Let’s talk about it on social media or comment below!
Captain Marvel will come out in theaters on March 8th of 2019.