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How did Captain Marvel get her powers? Carol Danvers’ origin explained

Captain Marvel is one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, we explain how she got her powers, and Carol Danvers' origin story.

Where did Captain Marvel get her powers? Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

How did Captain Marvel get her powers? When it comes to the greatest superheroes, Captain Marvel is up there. With an array of powers that rival even those of Thor or Captain America, she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s also dipped her cosmic toes into most of the major superhero collectives, including the Avengers.

In the MCU, she enters a little later in the game, with her solo movie not appearing in the Marvel movies in order until 2019. Thankfully, she’s set to appear in upcoming Marvel movies like The Marvels, which is set to hit screens later this year. When she first arrived on the scene, there were many fans who were unwilling to call her one of the best Marvel characters, but we’re here to change your mind.

In fact, Captain Marvel might have one of the richest and most original stories in the MCU. She’s also appeared in some of the best movies of the franchise, so there’s that.

Who is Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel was initially a member of the Kree Imperial Militia, known as Captain Mar-Vell, who was sent to observe Earth while it goes through a technological boom.

The Kree are a militaristic alien race that comes from the planet Hala. Mar-Vell becomes weary of the Kree’s intentions towards the human planet, and he eventually turns on them, becoming a hero for Earth. That’s right — he! In the comics, the first person to take up the Captain Marvel mantle was an alien Carol became close with.

There are actually several versions of Captain Marvel, including Mar-Vell, Monica Rambeau, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell, Khn’nr, Noh-Varr, and the most famous figure to take on the mantle: Carol Danvers.

Where did Captain Marvel get her powers? Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

Who is Carol Danvers?

Carol Danvers was a United States Military Officer, who eventually took up the Captain Marvel position. She is the most well-known version of the hero and is the current iteration in the MCU.

This is where it gets a little complicated because Carol Danvers would actually take up the mantle of Ms Marvel before she later became Captain Marvel. Danvers was an officer in the United States Military, electing to join the Air Force after growing up in an authoritarian household. Her father, who favored her brother, didn’t give any reason for Carol to have ambition or believe in her dream of becoming an astronaut.

But, as it usually goes in the best superhero movies, she pushed herself despite her setbacks and decided to enroll in the military anyway. She began to rise in the ranks and was eventually tasked to be the Head of Security at NASA, which is where she met the human alias of a Kree known as Captain Marvel. (In the Earth-616 canon, he’s referred to as Captain Mar-Vell.)

Where did Captain Marvel get her powers? Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

How did Captain Marvel get her powers?

Carol Danvers, who would later go on to become Captain Marvel, got her powers after being caught in an explosion that resulted in her DNA being merged with a Kree. 

In the comics, Danvers is eventually caught in an explosion caused by a Kree device known as the Psyche-Magnitron machine, and her DNA is merged with Captain Marvel’s, meaning that she awoke with superhuman abilities. Essentially, she’s a human-Kree hybrid.

This is where she becomes Ms Marvel. (It’s worth noting that during the ’60s and ’70s when her comics were published, the usage of the title ‘Ms’ would have been considered pretty progressive.) Throughout her comic book history, and later in the Marvel movies, she would interact with the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers.

Over time, she later claimed the title of Captain Marvel as her own. In doing so, she would go on to become one of the world’s mightiest heroes.

The movie version slightly differs from this, since Carol gets her powers after shooting at an energy core during a confrontation with Yon-Rogg. She absorbs the energy, which should have killed her, but she ends up surviving and exhibiting the Captain Marvel powers. It’s this move that also means she ends up losing her memory.

Where did Captain Marvel get her powers? Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

What are Captain Marvel’s powers?

Carol Danvers was already in top shape before the accident as a result of her military training, but afterward, she became an example of peak human condition and was enhanced even further by her Kree DNA meld. 

She has enhanced strength, agility, durability, stamina, and she can also fly. (Very important if you’re a superhero, to be frank.) Captain Marvel also has a ‘seventh sense’, which allows her to catch glimpses of the future, though this isn’t really something she can control. Her superhuman physicality also means that she’s immune from toxins and poisons. Plus, on top of all this, she can also travel through Space without needing a suit, and fire photonic blasts from her hands.

All this comes in pretty useful when she’s fighting for humanity alongside the Avengers. In her comic book history, she’s known for having a strong rivalry with one of the best Marvel villains, X-Men’s Mystique, due to the fact that Mystique actually murdered one of Carol’s closest friends, Michael Barnett.

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What are the differences between the MCU’s Captain Marvel and the comics?

There are plenty of differences between the MCU’s version of Captain Marvel and her source material. For one, Carol doesn’t remember her human life for most of the movie.

We’ve already talked a little about the differences between how Captain Marvel gets her powers in the movie, so let’s dive into what else the big-screen version adapted differently.

When 2019’s Captain Marvel movie begins, Carol only goes by ‘Vers’, and doesn’t remember her past Earth life at all. She’s already a member of the Kree Starforce team and isn’t called ‘Captain Marvel’ at any point throughout. What’s more, Mar-Vell is depicted as a woman, played by Annette Benning, rather than the original Mar-Vell from the comics.

A large plot point in both the comics and the movies is the ongoing war between the Kree and the Skrulls, but both sources treat this event very differently. In the comics, the conflict spans for years, and there’s a complicated moral approach that treats both alien races as villains and victims in equal measure. In the movie, there’s a clear enemy, and it turns out to be the Kree, as Carol finds out.

One of the huge events from her comic canon is also her history with Rogue of the X-Men. Rogue at one point stole Carol’s powers and memories, and it’s been a long road to get to a place where they can now work together.

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That’s Captain Marvel and her powers in a nutshell. For more on the biggest heroes in town, check out every Marvel series ranked, and everything you need to know about Marvel’s Phase 5. We’ve also got guides to The Marvels and the Thunderbolts release date.

If that’s not enough, take a look at the Loki season 2 release schedule, and check out our Loki season 2 review. We’ve also got a feature on why Marvel needs to learn that killing characters isn’t everything. Don’t miss everything new on Disney Plus this month, too!