The Marvels’ Marvel Cinematic Universe connections

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL.
(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL. /

The Marvels is the third and final Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of the year. Let’s take a look at how The Marvels connects to the larger franchise.

Although almost all of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s movies and shows have an inherent connection to other works set within the franchise’s universe, The Marvels is essentially a sequel to four specific stories, based on the leads of this film.

Obviously, Captain Marvel is the foundation for this sequel. Even though The Marvels is a more appropriate title, if the feature would have been called Captain Marvel 2, that would have passed for acceptable. The first movie set up the conflict with the Kree empire, where Carol was manipulated into believing the Skrulls were her enemy. Captain Marvel overpowered Yon-Rogg, and after embarrassing Ronan, it was actually the Guardians of the Galaxy who destroyed him. This left a hole that Dar-Benn is filling in The Marvels, even wielding a Cosmi-rod similar to Ronan’s.

The first Captain Marvel took place decades ago, and only snippets of the gaps in between are revealed, with the most important event being Carol destroying Hala’s Supreme Intelligence, which is why the Kree now dub her Annihilator, and Dar-Benn, in turn, is a slightly sympathetic adversary. We are also treated to a flashback where Carol visits a dying Maria Rambeau and adopts Goose.

That takes us to our second Marvel’s precursor, WandaVision. The Disney Plus limited series depicts Monica Rambeau’s return from the Blip and the sad realization that her mother passed away while she was gone. Monica was a young girl in Captain Marvel and works for SWORD in WandaVision, helping to investigate the Hex anomaly. Monica somehow survives wading through Scarlet Witch’s hex and comes out the other side with incredible light-based powers and is now one-third of the Marvel’s team in the latest MCU blockbuster.

Ms. Marvel is another series that The Marvels directly trails, even more so than the other referenced content, since the post-credits scene for that Disney Plus show leads us into a central plot point for the film – the spatial interchanging of Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica/Photon. Even Kamala’s funny family members are present in the movie (minus her brother’s new wife, for some unexplained reason).

To top it off, the powerful bangle that Kamala received in her eponymous series is a significant plot device in The Marvels. So, Ms. Marvel is definitely a vital part of the trio and not just some silly teenage girl who likes to have fun and idolizes Captain Marvel.

Secret Invasion is a fourth MCU project with a straight line to The Marvels. The Disney Plus series put Nick Fury in the forefront of a Skrull-based conflict, which ends with his return to the SABER space station. Unlike Ms. Marvel’s various influences, Secret Invasion merely serves a logistical purpose for Nick Fury’s status when it comes to setting up The Marvels. Unless one counts the lack of Talos in this Captain Marvel sequel as a noteworthy connection between the two (Talos was killed in Secret Invasion). Alas, Talos’ daughter G’iah, who became a formidable Super Skrull in the show’s finale, is not even mentioned in The Marvels.

The Secret Invasion fallout is also sidelined for an intergalactic conflict here. If most of the Skrull species covertly resides on Earth, then the Skrulls Carol’s team visits in The Marvels must make up a large percentage of off-world Skrulls. And now that their planet has been destroyed, it looks like they too will find a home back on Earth, courtesy of Valkyrie, who will presumably find space for her new green-skinned friends in New Asgard.

Tessa Thompson cameos as Valkyrie, even though she is not involved in the main MCU storylines that link to The Marvels. Fans may note the rapport between Carol and Thor in Avengers: Endgame as the association between Captain Marvel and Valkyrie; Valkyrie replaced the God of Thunder as the new ruler of the Asgardians. It is also not a coincidence that director Nia DaCosta’s wonderful low-budget feature, Little Woods, stars Tessa Thompson in one of her best performances to date.

Other surprise appearances come at the end of The Marvels. Kamala does her best Nick Fury impression to put together a team of Young Avengers. Her first stop is recruiting the new Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, who was mentored by Clint Barton in the Hawkeye mini-series.

Kamala mentions Stature to Kate, stating “I heard Ant-Man has a daughter”. Cassie Lang became a superhero in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, although she still awaits her debut outside of the Quantum Realm. Time will tell who else will join the Young Avengers, but Ironheart seems like a safe bet, since she is another young adult hero – she was attending MIT in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The mid-credit scene checks back in on Photon, who is stuck in an alternate reality where her mother never died of cancer and is known in the superhero community as Binary. Fascinatingly, Beast is also in this timeline. Kelsey Grammer returns to the part he played in X-Men: The Last Stand, which was not a MCU film. Dr. McCoy talks about the X-Men’s leader Charles, who is actually the first mutant to make the jump from the X-Men universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Patrick Stewart reprised his Professor-X role for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a founder of the Illuminati alongside none other than Maria Rambeau. This is clearly a different reality because both were killed by Scarlet Witch in that multiverse saga. It is also relevant to point out that in the Ms. Marvel finale, Bruno detected that Kamala possesses a mutant gene.

Next. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s MCU connections. dark

We are indeed one step closer to seeing some version of the X-Men in full-fledged action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have a lot to look forward to between the heroines of The Marvels’ future in the franchise and various mutant characters being brought into the fold.