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How Does Captain Marvel Get Her Name?

Captain Marvel Went by Another Name For Decades in the Comic Books

CAPTAIN MARVEL, Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, 2019. ph: Chuck Zlotnick /  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /  Marvel / courtesy Everett Collection

The first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe answers some questions, but sets up a whole bunch more. Captain Marvel gives us our first glimpse at Carol Danvers, the human pilot with a mysterious, alien-connected backstory and some serious superpowers that could shake up the entire Marvel saga. Although it answers some of the key questions that we've had since she was first teased in the stinger of Avengers: Infinity War, such as how she met Nick Fury, it also raises more. One seemingly small but possibly important question the movie raises: how does Carol Danvers get the name of "Captain Marvel"?

In the new Captain Marvel movie, Carol is pretty much always referred to by her civilian name, Carol Danvers. Unlike many of her fellow heroes, her superhero name isn't bestowed upon her immediately during her origin story (like Captain America or Spider-Man), nor is it her actual name (like Thor). And there's more: in the comics, her name actually wasn't "Captain Marvel" at first — it was "Ms. Marvel."

In the comics, Carol was just one of several characters to carry the mantle of Captain Marvel. Originally, Captain Marvel was a mispronunciation of "Mar-Vell," a Kree alien who became a hero on Earth in a 1960s comics series. Carol Danvers came onto the scene in 1967, introduced as an Air Force officer who crossed paths with Mar-Vell; eventually, she gained some of the Kree's powers after being caught in an alien tech explosion, and was given the name Ms. Marvel. It wasn't until recent years in the comics — 2012, to be specific — that she took on the mantle of her mentor Mar-Vell and officially became Captain Marvel.

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As far as the cinematic universe goes, however, we're still in the dark about her heroic moniker's origins. It's possible that we'll learn, down the line, that she takes on the name as a tribute to her mentor, Mar-Vell (who does play an unexpected role in the new movie), or it could be a totally different explanation given when she finally joins forces with the Avengers and their allies in an attempt to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame!

Image Source: Everett Collection
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