The following post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel.

Ever since Avengers: Infinity War ended with a shot of that mysterious pager with Captain Marvel’s logo on it, the character has been on a collision course with Thanos. We know that this summer’s Avengers: Endgame will see the survivors of Infinity War — including Captain America, Black Widow, and The Hulk — resume their conflict with Thanos in an attempt to reverse his seemingly final deletion of half the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which rendered one out of every two beings in the MCU totally obsolete. Though there are tons of theories about how the Avengers will beat Thanos including time travel, suicide missions, and throwing Squirrel Girl at him over and over until he finally taps out from sheer aggravation.

We knew that Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel would play some role in Endgame since last year, but we didn’t know how until her movie opened in theaters. Captain Marvel is set in 1995 so it contains almost no references to the modern Marvel Universe before the obligatory post-credits scene. But the film itself, and the secret behind Carol Danvers’ powers, do suggest one very plausible way Captain Marvel holds the key to beating Thanos.

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That way has to do with the changes the movie makes to Carol Danvers’ origin. In the original Marvel Comics, Carol gets her powers in an explosion involving a piece of Kree technology called the “psyche-magnetron.” She’s shielded from the blast by the original Captain Mar-Vell, but in the process their DNA is fused and some of Mar-Vell’s powers (including flight, super-strength, durability) are passed to her. Later, Carol loses her original powers — the X-Man Rogue takes them, back in her super-villain days — and gains new abilities based on harnessing the energy from stars.

In Captain Marvel, Carol’s origin is similar to the one from the comics, with at least one huge difference. In the film, she is caught in another explosion with Kree technology. But this time, the technology is not a “psyche-magnetron”; it’s an advanced engine that draws energy from The Tesseract, the incredibly powerful cosmic cube that was the subject of Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. The Tesseract is given to Thor for safekeeping at the end of The Avengers, but Loki steals it at the end of Thor: Ragnarok and then forks it over to Thanos (under duress) at the beginning of Infinity War. 

The Tesseract, as it turns out, is actually the blue Infinity Stone, the so-called “Space Stone.” I’m not sure they’ve ever fully laid out that specific stone’s abilities in the MCU, but, befitting its name, it allows its owner to travel between points in the universe through portals, or to move really, really fast. That’s why Carol can fly so fast at the end of Captain Marvel; her powers come from this Infinity Stone.

You can find more on the Space Stone in this video from ScreenCrush’s Ryan Arey:

That makes you wonder: What else can they allow her to do? If she can draw power from one Infinity Stone, and all the Infinity Stones are connected in Thanos’ gauntlet now, could she conceivably draw power from all of them? Actually, when we last saw Thanos at the end of Infinity War, the Gauntlet looked pretty burned out and broken. If the Gems are fried, is Captain Marvel already more powerful than Thanos? It seems pretty possible.

Of course, beating Thanos to a pulp doesn’t bring back half of everyone in the Marvel Universe. Someone else will need to assist with that end of things. (Maybe Ant-Man and his doohickey that can access the quantum realm, where time works in mysterious ways?) But Marvel doesn’t just change things as major as a character’s origin for no reason. Clearly, Carol having Infinity Stones powers means something. And that something almost certainly has to do with Thanos. We’ll know exactly how when Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters on April 26.

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