TIMELINE: The comprehensive history of Captain Marvel

Marvel’s Carol Danvers, portrayed by Brie Larson, will grace the screens in March as Captain Marvel, making her cinematic debut 51 years after her first appearance in 1968. “Captain Marvel” is bound to include at least some aspects of Carol Danvers’ long and convoluted history in the Marvel Comics universe, so it’s about time to study up on her story and get to theorizing. From her first appearance as Carol Danvers to later appearances as Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, and eventually Captain Marvel, this is the comprehensive history of Carol Danvers.

1967: Creation of the first Captain Marvel

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Stan Lee and Gene Colan created the original male Captain Marvel. Known as Mar-Vell, the alien military officer of the Kree Imperial Militia who is assigned to observe Earth as it develops its space travelling technology.

Mar-Vell abandons his original intentions and turns on his superiors’ wicked will and instead chooses to defend earth. Continued from “Marvel Superheroes” Issue #13, Captain Marvel battles with the Kree Sentry, protecting the people of Cape Canaveral from the intergalactic threat.

1968: Introduction of Carol Danvers

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“Marvel Superheroes” issue #13 introduces Carol Danvers, created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, as a colleague to Walter Lawson, the human form of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers appears throughout many issues of Captain Marvel in various capacities, especially as a love interest.

Jan. 10, 1977: Ms. Marvel, Issue #1

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Looking to represent the modern liberated woman, Marvel re-introduces Carol Danvers, a capable woman who fought against gender roles and became an officer in the United States Air Force. Danvers later became a CIA Agent until she was hired as head of security for NASA at Cape Canaveral. While at NASA, she worked with Dr. Walter Lawson, the defected and disguised Kree warrior Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel.

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In issue #1, a device known as the Psyche-Magnitron explodes. Mar-Vell, disguised as Walter Lawson, shields Carol from the radiation blast. In the blast, Carol absorbs some of Mar-Vell’s genetic makeup into her body, transforming her into a Human-Kree hybrid.

After Carol recovers, she gains superhuman abilities. Her powers are very similar to those of Captain Marvel. She can fire photon beams, fly, possesses superhuman strength, endurance and a seventh “danger” sense among other abilities. In this issue, Carol takes up the mantle of Ms. Marvel.

April 1979: After 23 issues, “Ms. Marvel” was cancelled

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Although “Ms. Marvel” was cancelled, she went on to appear in various spin-offs and regularly appeared as a member of the Avengers from issue #183 until the release of issue #200, a time in which her character was shrouded in controversy.

October 1980: “Avengers” Issue #200 and the ensuing controversy

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An Antagonist named Marcus, the son of Avengers foe Immortus, takes Carol to Limbo, an alternate dimension, where she is brainwashed, seduced and impregnated. The rape of Carol Danvers storyline upset fans at the time, and still does to this day.

Later in the storyline, she gives birth to a clone of Marcus, who can’t stay on Earth. He manipulates Ms. Marvel into leaving with him and takes her back to Limbo.

Aug. 4, 1981: “Avengers Annual” #10

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Eventually, Carol Danvers escapes Limbo after Marcus rapidly ages and his mind control power fades. Carol escapes and makes her way back to Earth, only to have her powers and memory absorbed and stolen from her by the mutant Rogue.

She is identified and rescued by the X-men. She recovers fully with the help of Professor X at his school for gifted youngsters.

The Avengers hear of Carol’s return and visit her in recovery. Carol explains to them how she was brainwashed and controlled by Marcus, reprimanding them for their betrayal of her during the process of her abduction and assault in “Avengers” #200.

Carol stays with the X-Men for quite some time, appearing regularly for many issues. Without her powers, she becomes the X-Men’s best pilot and intelligence scout, appearing regularly in issues until her abduction by the Brood in 1982.

1982: “The Death of Captain Marvel”

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The first ever long-form graphic novel published by Marvel comes as the original Mar-Vell dies; a large celebration of his life is held among all heroes who have crossed paths with him.

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Mar-Vell dies from cancer given to him by a carcinogenic nerve agent called Compound 13. He was exposed to the agent in a battle against Nitro in “Captain Marvel” Volume 1 Issues #34 & 35.

Dec. 10, 1982: Ms. Marvel becomes Binary

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Fighting with the X-Men leads to Carol Danvers’ capture by an alien race known as the Brood, who single out Carol Danvers because of her unique physiology as a Human-Kree hybrid.

The Brood experiment on her, eventually giving her the ability to tap into the power of a White Hole, described as follows in Marvel’s Directory: “white hole, that region of space which is the exit-point of a point singularity's ultimate inward collapse out of this universe and into another.”

Binary transcends her previous lives, becoming powerful on a cosmic level. These abilities allow her to shift her focus to defending the entire universe from cosmic threats rather than only protecting the people of Earth.

1986: Binary’s departure becomes clear in “Marvel Fanfare” Vol.1 Issue #24 - “Elegy”

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While playing cards with heroes at the Avengers Mansion, Carol Danvers encounters Monica Rambeau, the newly appointed Captain Marvel. She is informed that Mar-Vell, her former love interest and source of her original powers, has died. Upon hearing this news, Carol transforms into Binary and flies away to search for his grave. Upon finding it, she mourns his death despite her lack of emotional memories of him.

Carol is angered after the X-Men allow Rogue to join their ranks again despite her previously stealing Carol’s memories and powers. Carol joins the Starjammers, a group consisting of fellow X-Men exiles Corsair, Cyclops, Havok, Ch’od, Korvus, Raza Longknife, Hepzibah and Sikorsky among others. Carol Danvers becomes particularly good friends with Raza during these adventures.

May 10, 1992: “Quasar” Vol.1 Issue #34, Binary saves the solar system

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After tapping into the power of her white hole, Carol creates a vortex that sucks away antimatter destroying the Earth’s sun. The sun is saved, but her power is drained significantly in the process. Quasar finds Binary and pulls her out of the sun, returning her safely to Avengers HQ to recover in the care of Jarvis and Dr. Kincaid.

March 25, 1998: Carol Danvers returns from recovery as Warbird

After fully recovering from the drain on her powers in “Quasar” issue #34, Carol Danvers is back in action, joining the Avengers roster in her first appearance under the alias Warbird. She maintains similar powers to her role as Binary, albeit much less powerful.

Marvel’s character profile on Carol Danvers states, Warbird possesses superhuman strength, a high degree of durability, the ability to emit concussive photon bursts and the power of flight. Also, she can absorb various forms of energy, thus augmenting her other abilities.”

August 1998: An Alcoholic Warbird quits the Avengers before getting the boot.

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After a series of mistakes caused by drunken recklessness, Warbird, struggling with the loss of her Binary powers through alcoholism, is nearly removed from the Avengers in “Avengers” Vol.3 Issue #7 because of her worsening addiction. She decides to quit before she can be kicked out, the story ending with Carol Danvers staring into a drink and reflecting on her future.

2001-2004: Warbird the Avenger

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After playing an instrumental role in defeating Kang the Conqueror by killing the Master of the World, Carol Danvers killings are justified as acts of war, allowing her to move forward with her membership in the Avengers and atone for prior mistakes.

Not long after, Warbird departs the Avengers as Iron Man and Captain America lead their “New Avengers” effort. Carol finds work as a high ranking officer in the Department of Homeland Security until she returns later as a rebooted Ms. Marvel.

March 2006: Ms. Marvel gets a reboot

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In March 2006, “Ms. Marvel” Vol.2 Issue #1 is published by Marvel. Carol Danvers returns as Ms. Marvel with her traditional powerset, exploring the vast and seemingly unending character arcs since her original appearance.

2006-2007: Ms. Marvel in “Civil War”

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Carol Danvers sides with Tony Stark in the “Civil War” comic, which divides the entire Marvel Universe. This story arc pits the Avengers against one another over the issue of the Superhuman Registration Act. The 2016 “Captain America: Civil War” film is adapted from the “Civil War” comic book.

2007-2010: Ms. Marvel returns to “The Mighty Avengers”

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After the events of Civil War, Carol Danvers joins “The Mighty Avengers,” continuing her battle against the forces of evil alongside Iron Man, Spider-Man, She-Hulk and Luke Cage among others. Carol Danvers leads the team during this run, ending after the publication of “The Mighty Avengers” Issue #36 in 2010.

2008-2010: Appearance in "Secret Invasion"

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During this run, many of Marvel’s greatest heroes are revealed to be Skrulls, sleeper agents of a shapeshifting alien race disguising themselves as some of Earth’s mightiest heroes. These events are known as the “Secret Invasion” storyline, one of the most notable storylines in recent years.

April, 2010: last Issue of “Ms. Marvel” Volume 2 Issue #50

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In a climactic battle against nemesis Mystique and a shapeshifting Skrull clone of herself, Ms. Marvel fights her way through to the conclusion of her story. She emerges victorious and admits romantic feelings for Spiderman, leaving her character with an ambiguous ending.

December 2010: Ms. Marvel joins “The New Avengers”

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Carol Danvers joins The New Avengers in June 2010 with “The New Avengers” Vol. 2 Issue #1. This series consisted of Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Man and the Thing.

September 2012: Carol Danvers makes her official debut as Captain Marvel

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In “Captain Marvel” Volume 7 Issue #1, Ms. Marvel transitions into the role of Captain Marvel. Captain America suggests she take on the role due to her history with Mar-Vell. She refuses it initially, but meditates on the idea of taking up the mantle.

Remembering Helen Cobb, a mentor and fellow pilot who had recently died, Carol recalls that Helen always stressed the idea of being the best you can be, and not to let anything hold you back. With that in mind, she decides to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel and honor the legacy of Mar-Vell, former love interest and source of her original powers.

2013: Captain Marvel stars in "Avengers Assemble" crossover

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Carol Danvers joins The Avengers as Captain Marvel while they face "The Enemy Within" storyline in the animated series on Disney XD.

October 2015: Carol Danvers returns in “Captain Marvel” Volume 9

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Part of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” series following the events of Secret Wars, Carol Danvers returns as Captain Marvel, taking over S.W.O.R.D., the military agency designated to prevent Earth from intergalactic threats.

2016: In “Civil War II,” Captain Marvel is the Opposition

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In this comic miniseries, Carol Danvers leads a faction which seeks to “change the future” by using predictive justice, an ability to prevent potential crimes from happening by would-be criminals through visions of their future crimes. Tony Stark leads a faction which wants to “protect the future,” advocating for the allowance of time to unfold naturally without disruption.

March 2017: “The Mighty Captain Marvel” is released

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Running for 9 issues until it collides with the “Dark Origins” series, this "Captain Marvel" series explores Carol Danvers’ long history as foes attempt to tear down everything Carol has built.

July 2018: “The Life of Captain Marvel”

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In this retelling of Carol Danvers’ history, readers revisit the origin of the character as Captain Marvel. This story alters the original story by revealing that Carol Danvers’ mother was actually Kree, but her alien genes were not activated until her first appearance in the explosion of the Psyche-Magnitron in 1977’s “Ms. Marvel” Issue #1.

This is different from the original story, as the original posits that Mar-Vell’s genetic template transferred or combined with Danvers’ DNA during the blast, resulting in her powers. “The Life of Captain Marvel” suggests that her existing Kree DNA was ‘activated’ by the radiation blast, leaving her with supernatural abilities.

May 2018: Captain Marvel Post-Credits Scene “Avengers Infinity War”

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In an unexpected twist, during the final end-credits scene in “Avengers: Infinity War,” Nick Fury witnesses the decimation occurring, quickly implementing his contingency plan by paging Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel’s insignia is displayed on the pager as it falls from Fury’s decimated hands.

March 8, 2019: Carol Danvers on-screen in “Captain Marvel”

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In March 2019, Carol Danvers will appear as Captain Marvel, as portrayed by Brie Larson, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning “Phase 4” of the aforementioned film universe.