In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new Marvel movie out this week. But if you haven’t gotten around to getting tickets for The Marvels yet, don’t worry, there should be plenty of available seats. Perhaps the lack of anticipation is a branding problem, since calling it The Marvels distracts from the fact that it’s a sequel to Captain Marvel. And if you haven’t been paying attention to the Marvel Studios original shows on Disney+, then you may be a bit lost about the two new heroines, Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who are teaming up with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers.
The good news is that Disney+ is the streaming home for all of the MCU movies and shows that you need to watch before The Marvels. And in the interest of making things as easy to follow as possible, the shows and films are presented below in chronological order rather than by their release dates.
If you only have time to see one movie before you see The Marvels, then it has to be Captain Marvel. This has Carol Danvers’ origin story, even though it wildly deviates from the comic book source material. But we can’t fault the awesome job the filmmakers did on adapting Carol’s superhero costume, which looks like it popped out directly from the comics.
This film is also important because it establishes Carol’s connection to the Kree, the Skrull, and to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Jackson is also back for The Marvels, which should tell you how important he is in relation to Carol herself.
Avengers: Infinity War is a great film, and perhaps one of the best movies that Marvel has ever made. But all you really need to see for The Marvels is the post-credits scene with Jackson. As Nick Fury falls victim to Thanos’ snap, he sends a desperate S.O.S. via cosmic pager to his old ally, Captain Marvel. This moment got a big cheer in theaters.
Captain Marvel actually got to join the Avengers in Avengers: Endgame. However, Brie Larson’s screen time is very limited in this movie because it was filmed at the same time as Captain Marvel. But Carol does get to kick a lot of butt late in the film, especially when she goes one-on-one with Thanos. Carol also gets to fight alongside all of the other major Marvel heroines. It might be a while before that happens again.
Samuel L. Jackson appears throughout Spider-Man: Far From Home, but it isn’t until the post-credits scene that viewers learn that Jackson wasn’t playing Nick Fury. He was playing Telos, the leader of the Skrulls from Captain Marvel, who was pretending to be Fury.
The real Nick Fury was revealed to be on a Skrull starship somewhere in deep space. It’s played for laughs in a lighthearted way, which is why it’s difficult to reconcile this scene with Fury’s somber return in Secret Invasion.
Young Monica Rambeau made her debut in Captain Marvel as a girl who looked up to her unofficial aunt, Carol. Teyonah Parris made her first appearance as the adult Monica in WandaVision as an agent of S.W.O.R.D. who attempted to get Wanda Maximoff to release the town of Westview from her control. Because Monica was exposed to Wanda’s magic barrier more than once, she gained superhuman powers of her own. The final episode of the series hints at Monica’s reunion with Fury when he sends a messenger to recruit her for his latest organization.
Nick Fury’s alliance with the Skrulls goes sideways in Secret Invasion, as the younger generation of Skrulls decides that humanity needs to go so they can have the Earth as their new home. The best thing about this series is that it doesn’t go out of its way to be funny. The downside is that the conclusion’s a bit lackluster, and it doesn’t appear to be directly setting up anything in The Marvels other than Fury’s new status quo.
Iman Vellani is absolutely charming as Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel. The series has a few problems with its lack of compelling villains, but Kamala is a great addition to the MCU. This is her origin story, and the reason it’s placed at the end of this list is that the post-credits scene of Ms. Marvel takes place during The Marvels, as Kamala switches places with her idol, Carol Danvers. But you’ll have to watch The Marvels to find out what’s going on there.
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