One of the many unanswered questions about Captain Marvel is a simple one: why does the color of Carol Danvers’ costume change by the end of the film? The first photos of Brie Larson in costume left fans somewhat surprised; she was wearing a color scheme that certainly isn’t traditionally associated with Carol Danvers. The outfit was a distinctive green and black, with silver highlights; that contrasts markedly with Captain Marvel’s normal colors, which are red and blue, with gold highlights.
This immediately caused controversy online, with comic book readers shocked at the apparent departure from the normal uniform. Since then, it’s become clear that this was an overreaction; Captain Marvel will actually change costume over the course of the film. She’s in the green-and-black outfit at the start, but by the end has switched to a color scheme that corresponds more faithfully to the comics. Long before the set photos leaked online, Marvel revealed Larson’s traditional Captain Marvel costume at SDCC 2017.
Of course, the costume change isn’t just for fashion purposes. There’s clearly a story reason behind it – just as there is behind, say, Superman’s black suit, or Spider-Man’s Iron Spider outfit. In the case of Captain Marvel, the change in color scheme feels like an important plot point. But what can it mean?
- This Page: Exploring the Significance of Captain Marvel’s Costumes
- Page 2: The Skrulls Unlock Captain Marvel’s Powers And Change Her Suit
Captain Marvel’s Green Suit Is From The Kree Starforce
It’s first important to recognize that the green and black costume is the uniform of the Kree Starforce, a crack strike team who are on the front lines of the Kree-Skrull War. In the comics, the Starforce were an elite group of super-powered beings gathered by the Supreme Intelligence in order to wage war upon the Shi’ar; during the Kree-Skrull War they became part of the Supreme Intelligence’s power-grab as he attempted to regain control of the empire. It’s interesting to note that every confirmed member of the Starforce to date is actually a villain in the comics, with Minn-Erva as the most famous.
Captain Marvel’s green costume is inspired by the comics, and blends Jamie McKelvie’s Captain Marvel design with the traditional color schemes of the Kree military. It features the Hala Star – the symbol of the Kree Empire – in place of pride. Notice that the uniforms are designed to allow Starforce members to operate in any environment, with retractable helmets even meaning they can survive in a vacuum. While most of the Starforce do carry a gun holster at their right-hand-side, Minn-Erva also carries a larger weapon. That may hint that each Starforce member has their own combat specialism; perhaps Minn-Erva is a sniper. If that’s the case, the fact that Captain Marvel is the one shot down investigating Earth may suggest she’s the Starforce’s scout.
What We Know About Captain Marvel’s Color Change From The Trailers
Captain Marvel is sent to Earth on a mission to track down Skrull infiltrators, so it makes sense that she’s suited up for battle. She wears this Starforce uniform for most of the film’s first act and at least part of the second, but then mysteriously changes to the more famous red-and-blue design. Watch the trailers closely, though, and you’ll notice that the new costume comes with a significant power-up. When she’s in the green suit, Captain Marvel is able to project energy blasts from her hands. In the red, though, she’s tapped into more power than ever before. She’s able to generate stunning radial blasts, and can even transform into an energy form in which she can propel herself into space – and blast enemy starfighters apart with ease. It’s surely no coincidence that there’s no sign of these power-levels in scenes where Captain Marvel is wearing the green suit. This costume change means something.
It’s also important to note that Captain Marvel’s allegiance seems to change at this point as well. In the green costume, she’s taking down Skrulls – including a sweet old lady who’s really a dangerous warrior. In the red, however, she’s battling the Kree themselves. The second trailer features a shot in which Carol Danvers unleashes a radial blast, apparently at Kree Centurions. It then comes to an end with Captain Marvel in space, battling what appears to be a Kree invasion force.
Theory: The Skrulls Unlock Captain Marvel’s Powers And Change Her Suit
The Captain Marvel trailers have included a number of scenes in which Captain Marvel is restrained in some sort of advanced device, held upside-down as unknown energy is projected into her temples. Until the second trailer, it had been assumed that this was some sort of Kree memory-modification device, and that it explained Carol’s amnesia. Significantly, though, the second Captain Marvel trailer showed a Skrull stood next to the machine, not a Kree. It looks as though, at some point, Carol Danvers will either surrender to, or be captured by, the Skrulls – and they will subject her to an unknown technology.
Comic book fans will find the device eerily familiar. It’s very much reminiscent of a similar machine used on Carol Danvers in the comics, back in Uncanny X-Men #163. That issue saw Carol experimented on by an alien race known as the Brood, who claim human beings as hosts. They were fascinated by Carol’s unique DNA matrix, which was neither human nor mutant; curious to see what their potential host could become, they irradiated her cells with energy to literally evolve the hero to her maximum potential. The Brood experiments unlocked Captain Marvel’s Binary powerset, thus making Carol Danvers more powerful than she had ever been before. The same powerset is glimpsed in the second trailer, most famously associated by flares of energy streaming from Captain Marvel’s hair. This simply can’t be a coincidence; whatever this machine is, it seems safe to assume it will grant her the Binary powers. Presumably the Skrulls will also give her a new costume at the same time; either that, or the energies Carol Danvers is being irradiated with transform the uniform’s fabric.
In the comics, it made sense for the Brood to accelerate Carol’s evolution; they believed she would become their host, and that they would thus gain any additional powers they unlocked. But, in the MCU, why would the Skrulls give Captain Marvel a power-up? There’s only one reasonable explanation; that the Skrulls aren’t the villains in Captain Marvel after all.
The Kree Are The Villains, Captain Marvel’s New Suit Rejects Them
It’s already clear that the central theme of Captain Marvel is deception, and it’s generally believed that the Kree have been manipulating the amnesiac Carol Danvers into working for them. Is it possible that literally everything Carol knows is a lie? Far from being a race of “noble warrior heroes,” have the Kree deceived Captain Marvel into helping them pursue an innocent race who have already been defeated and who are simply using their shapeshifting powers to seek sanctuary? That would explain why there are no scenes of Captain Marvel battling the Skrulls while in the red outfit. She’s realized they’re not the villains – the Kree are.
The plot of Captain Marvel clearly revolves around Carol Danvers trying to discover the secrets of her own past. Significantly, in one scene in the second trailer Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull leader Talos asks Carol if she wants to know what she really is. That raises the possibility that, even as they enhance Carol’s powers, the Skrulls also reverse the Kree memory-modifications. Indeed, it’s possible the device they’re using on Carol does that in addition to unlocking her Binary powers; notice the energy around Captain Marvel’s temples, which could reflect a healing of her mind.
Circling back to the costume, this theory neatly explains why Carol Danvers will decide to ditch the colors of the Kree Starforce. She realizes that she’s been betrayed, and that the Kree aren’t the heroes she believed them to be. As a result, Captain Marvel takes up a far more individualistic uniform; she retains the Hala Star in honor of the principles she has dedicated her life towards, but ditches the colorscheme because she no longer honors the principles of the Starforce. Instead of serving as an agent of the Kree, Captain Marvel‘s Carol Danvers has decided that she will not fight in their wars any longer. Rather, she will end them.