The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 shifts into gear in 2023: First came Ant–Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and then The Marvels in November.
The Marvels brings back Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) for a second time in a solo (not-solo) movie, more than four years after the cosmic-powered Avenger first featured in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
So, who’s in The Marvels, what’s it all about, how does it tie into the wider MCU, and when is it coming to screens?
Read more: Every upcoming MCU movie and show
Read on to find out everything you need to know about The Marvels.
The Marvels’ release date
The Marvels hits screens on 10 November, 2023, the same date as its US theatrical release. It’s the 33rd film in the MCU, releasing after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Originally slated for an 8 July, 2022 release, the pandemic pushed it back to 11 November, 2022; and then 17 February, 2023. At the beginning of 2022, its release date got switched with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and then in February 2023 it was pushed back from July to November.
We don’t yet know when The Marvels will arrive on Disney+ to stream but Disney follows a 45-day minimum theatrical release window for most movies meaning that The Marvels will most likely head to streaming at some point after that time period. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took 82 days to head to Disney+ following its theatrical release but this gap varies.
The Marvels trailer
Dropping online in late July, the first official trailer for The Marvels saw Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel herself return, this time scored to a nifty retooling of Beastie Boys track Intergalactic.
It's an apt song choice though, as this sequel appears to be an adventure that splices space and new dimensions as Danvers gets her powers mixed up with a batch of new heroes, including Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan.
The first teaser trailer for The Marvels was released by Disney on 11 April, 2023. Opening with Nick Fury in a space, it quickly reveals the core plot of The Marvels which shows that Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau somehow swap places every time they use their superpowers.
Watch it above.
Oh, and Goose is set to make a return (Flerken fans rejoice, your favourite ginger Tom is back).
The Marvels director
The Marvels is directed by Nia DaCosta, the acclaimed director of 2021’s Candyman, a sequel to the 1992 original which she co-wrote with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld.
Directors of Captain Marvel, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, are not involved in The Marvels.
Read more: What is 'the multiverse'?
Writers include DaCosta alongside Megan McDonnell (WandaVision), Zeb Wells (The Amazing Spider-Man comic series) and Elissa Karasik (Loki). With both WandaVision and Loki integral to The Multiverse Saga, this begs the questions whether the film could pull from both series.
At the very least, continuity is all but ensured and any Multiverse shenanigans should remain consistent with these two shows.
The Marvels cast
The Marvels is essentially Captain Marvel 2, so of course, Brie Larson is back (alongside her cat Goose) as Carol Danvers and her super-powered alter ego.
Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel will also star. Khan was introduced to the MCU via her own series on Disney+ in which we saw the New Jersey teenager unlock her powers when she put on her great-grandmother’s mystical bangle.
In the series, we learned that Kamala Khan has a mutation in her DNA, which was activated by the bangle allowing her to access cosmic energy. She can create hard light structures, stretch her limbs, and teleport through time and space.
"I'm very proud of the Ms. Marvel show," Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told EW. "I also know — and this is a spoiler — she essentially steals The Marvels."
"The great thing about Kamala in her show, and now in this movie, is that she's not unlike Tom Holland's Peter Parker in Civil War. She can't believe she's with these other heroes, and can't believe that she finds herself in these places."
Teyonah Parris, who starred in Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, will return as Monica Rambeau, the now grown-up daughter of Carol Danvers’ friend Maria Rambeau. We met both Rambeaus in the 1990s-set Captain Marvel, when Monica was a little girl.
Monica Rambeau played a major role in WandaVision as a SWORD agent who, after passing through the Hex surrounding Westview which altered her DNA, developed the ability to absorb and manipulate energy.
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Samuel L Jackson is confirmed to appear as original Avengers assembler and former Director of SHIELD, Nick Fury, in the film, while The Handmaid’s Tale’s Zawe Ashton is playing the gender-flipped villain Dar-Benn, a Kree warrior, and Parasite’s Park Seo-joon will appear in an undisclosed role.
Park could, according to various sources, be playing comic book characters Amadeus Cho aka Brawn, Prince Yan of Aladna, or Noh-Varr aka Marvel Boy, a Kree warrior modified with cockroach DNA and nanobots. The idea of throwing another Marvel into the mix is tantalising.
Kamala Khan’s family — her older brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), and father Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) — will reprise their roles from Ms Marvel.
The Marvels’ plot
The Marvels’ plot revolves around the characters Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, and Monica Rambeau and their ability to swap places.
"There's something immensely powerful about seeing Monica and Kamala and Carol together in a frame," Kevin Feige told EW. "To me, it's only akin to the first Avengers movie and seeing the six of them together in a frame. It's chill-inducing. They're so great together, and they all have different histories with one another."
The film is a spiritual follow-up to Captain Marvel, which was set in the 1990s and told Carol’s origin story. We’ve seen her since helping the Avengers defeat Thanos in Endgame and in other glimpses throughout the MCU.
"Marvel comic fans will recognise elements of the Kree-Skrull war," says Kevin Feige. "And it's picking up directly after the end of Captain Marvel 1, not in timeline but in story."
Read more: Brie Larson turned down Captain Marvel twice
The post-credits scene in Ms Marvel, in which we saw Danvers arrive seemingly from nowhere in Kamala’s bedroom as Ms Khan disappears after her bangle begins glowing, teased Ms Marvel’s return in The Marvels. This moment looks the most likely jumping off point for the film’s story to begin.
In Ms Marvel, we learned about Kamala Khan’s hero worship of Carol Danvers’ alter ego, so this dynamic between the pair will probably be explored, setting up the potential for some funny moments. After seeing Carol’s reaction to being transported into Kamala’s bedroom, the walls of which were adorned with posters of Captain Marvel, this looks likely.
Hawkeye explored a similar scenario, in which Kate Bishop’s adoration of a disdainful Hawkeye and their subsequent partnership allowed for some very funny moments and exchanges.
How is WandaVision connected to The Marvels?
The end of WandaVision also set up the events of The Marvels when we saw the similarly cosmic-powered Monica Rambeau recruited by a Skrull sent by an old friend of her mother’s: “He heard you’d been grounded, he’d like to meet with you”. The Skrull points upwards which suggests they’re probably heading to space and Nick Fury where Rambeau looks set to come into contact with Marvels Captain and Ms.
Rambeau has beef with Danvers – we learned in WandaVision that she felt Carol had abandoned her mother, Maria, after gaining her super powers. We could consequently see some conflict between the two.
Will we learn more about Mutants and Ms Marvel’s heritage?
Given that Ms Marvel is the first MCU character referenced to have a mutation in her genes in the MCU, could mutants feature more pertinently in The Marvels, ultimately ushering the X-Men into the proceedings?
We don’t yet know where Kamala was transported to at the end of her solo series, or where else the film might go but given that the movie is part of the Multiverse Saga, and Ms Marvel introduced the Noor Dimension, it’s entirely possible that this could feature. We’ve had a taste of Djinn and it seems probable we’ll explore them further at some point.
Read more: Why was Phase 4 so divisive?
We also know that as far as character exploration goes, Carol Danvers is set for further probing.
Brie Larson told Good Morning America: “There are parts that are not so great about her, that we can see a hero is not being the person that makes every right decision all the time.”
Marvel seems set on continuing to paint its characters in shades of grey after historical criticism of its villains. The studio has made efforts to move away from binary definitions to create richer characters rather than black-and-white heroes and villains. This can only be a good thing for a long-running franchise that needs to remain fresh.
The Marvels is in cinemas from 10 November, 2023.
Watch: Gemma Chan talks to Yahoo about Captain Marvel