The upcoming Captain Marvel movie will be the final entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the decade-long epic comes to a head in Avengers: Endgame. It's been hinted already that Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) will play a crucial part in the upcoming Endgame. After all, she's the one Nick Fury tried to call just as he disintegrated in the stinger of Avengers: Infinity War. What's so special about this new superhero — is it possible that she's the one who's stronger than Thanos himself?
Here's the thing: all those powers that belong to Captain Marvel in the comics? They don't all belong to the Carol Danvers version of the character. In the comics, the first Captain Marvel is actually Mar-Vell, a Kree alien who has major superpowers on Earth, thanks in part to being able to metabolize energy from the sun (yes, like Superman). There's another power, though, that makes him not necessarily stronger than Thanos, but able to outsmart him: the "Cosmic Awareness," a nebulous psychically based ability that allowed him to see the future (within certain limits) and sense his opponents' weaknesses. Using those abilities, the comics version of Mar-Vell figured out how to defeat Thanos: by turning back time to before Thanos came to power. Given the way that Infinity War ended and the emphasis on the Time Stone, this would definitely be something within the realm of possibility for the cinematic universe as well.
Since Mar-Vell is only a supporting mentor character (played by Annette Bening) in Captain Marvel, it appears likely that the cinematic version of the character may be combining traits from the comics' Carol Danvers iteration alongside the Mar-Vell version of the character. Even in the comics, Carol gets her powers in part thanks to Mar-Vell. Her origin story is similar to what we're seeing in the trailers for Captain Marvel: an Air Force pilot and intelligence agent who later becomes a NASA officer. When she is caught in an alien tech explosion during a battle between Mar-Vell and an enemy alien, the Kree tech imbues her with some of Mar-Vell's powers. Specifically, she gains the ability to fly, strength and physical impermeability, and the ability to blast beams of energy.
All of this sounds like some pretty standard superhero stuff that others among the Avengers have: the Hulk is nearly indestructible, Thor flies and blasts lightning bolts around, Captain America has superstrength, and so on. So what makes Captain Marvel so special in the film universe, and why is she implied to be crucial to defeating Thanos? If the comics are anything to go by, her "Cosmic Awareness" may play a big part — combining that ability with the presence of the Time Stone could help fulfill a popular post-Infinity War theory: that the Avengers will enter the sole winning "endgame" that Doctor Strange foresaw by turning back time.
Thanos isn't slated to appear in Captain Marvel, which is predominantly set years before the events of Infinity War and the upcoming Endgame, so it'll probably be a while before we get to see a head-to-head matchup of his powers against Captain Marvel's. In the meantime, we can at least get a peek at what Captain Marvel can do when her movie comes out on March 8!