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How the cast of Captain Marvel should actually look

It used to be that comics adaptations hitting the big screen seemed afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve. Sure, you could make a movie about superheroes, but they seldom were allowed to wear the bright palettes of their four-color counterparts. Molded rubber, black leather, and trench coats were the only acceptable dress code.

Thankfully, due in part to the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, movie heroes have started to proudly wear costumes fashioned after their source material. Captain Marvel will be the studio's first female-led film, and it's taken influences from some of the stranger, more cosmic sides of the Marvel Universe, as glimpsed already in Guardians of the Galaxy. From the eponymous captain's magnificent flight suit-inspired look to Ronan the Accuser's Egyptian-influenced armor and full face paint to the shape-shifting Skrull baddies, Captain Marvel has a little bit of everything.

While the movie takes place in the '90s and features some perfect touches like Brie Larson's Carol Danvers rocking a Nine Inch Nails shirt while hanging out with Samuel L. Jackson's two-eyed Nick Fury, a lot of the character designs it pulls from date back to the cosmic scene of '70s and '80s comics. Bright blues, acidic greens, and deep reds are the name of the game when the Kree and Skrull Empires go to war over the fate of the universe. Captain Marvel looks to deliver on some of the more dramatic designs while finding a way to make them work in the MCU.

It's a Mar-Vell-ous life

Yes, the naming convention of the original Captain Marvel is a bit of an eye-roller, but Mar-Vell of the Kree Empire is an interesting part of Marvel history, and was part of a unique early experiment in telling mature, real-world tinged stories with the company's larger-than-life characters. Captain Marvel was known as one of the fiercest warriors of the Kree Empire and had become a champion of the Earth, but he was powerless to stop the all-too-real threat of cancer. Mar-Vell occupies an interesting space as a superhero — his defining trait is that he died of natural causes, something any reader can latch onto. His legacy is more about that than any of his superheroic feats, lending a human core to an otherwise distant, galactic character.

His original comics costume feels like a template more than a defined look. It's continued to echo forward in time, influencing multiple cosmic characters up to and including the current Captain Marvel. The red and blue full-body spandex is fairly basic, but the full face-mask with an opening up top to let that golden mane fly lends it a bit of character. The design feels strong and glamorous — something made for high adventure. 

In the movie, Jude Law will be wearing the standard issue green and black flight suit of the Kree Empire Starforce. While the Nega-Bands play a large part in Captain Marvel's powers in the comics, it's tough to tell from trailers and promotional photos whether or not they'll be part of Mar-Vell's whole deal in the movies.

In pursuit of fashion

Korath the Pursuer has already made an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy, earning his title by chasing after Star-Lord (and being rightfully flummoxed by his target's dorky introduction). While he doesn't make a ton of impact in that flick, it'll be interesting to see how Korath began his pursuing career in the MCU, and what his life was like before serving Ronan in Guardians and meeting his demise at the hands of Drax. In the comics, Korath's history is mostly characterized by his association with Starforce (which he's also a part of in the film). As part of Starforce, he has waged war against the Skrulls and the Shi'ar Empire. His efforts are aided by all sorts of cybernetic enhancements, giving him amplified physical capabilities, as well as the ability to psionically track down his prey.

While the Korath of the movies will be sporting a slick black and green Starforce flight suit, the Korath of the comics is decidedly a little more comic-booky. His blue skin is covered head to toe in a brick red bodysuit with some Jack Kirby-esque lavender piping to break it up. Instead of the cybernetically-altered fins he'll pick up sometime between Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, he's completely covered by a bullet-like helmet that will mostly make Marvel fans think of the Juggernaut instead of a space-faring warrior. It's an oddly '70s-flavored design for a character that didn't make his debut until Quasar #32 in 1992. Korath may be one character who's better served by drifting away from their original look — Djimon Hounsou cuts a much more striking figure in the green and black than he would as Juggernaut-lite.

The doctor is in

The ridiculous Kree naming convention rears its head again with Minn-Erva. Also known as Doctor Minerva, the Kree geneticist is a member of Starforce. In the comics, Minn-Erva has gotten up to all sorts of villainous hi-jinks from political assassination to some light eugenics. She's also tried to replicate Carol Danvers' powerset for herself. She's terrorized almost every character who has used the name Captain Marvel, and has even recently tussled with Ms. Marvel. She's a super-science villain with roots buried deep in Captain Marvel's Kree heritage, and represents a lot of the darker aspects of Kree culture in the comics. Her comic book look is a little closer to one of Carol's older costumes and the classic Captain Marvel costume.

Minn-Erva can usually be seen in a red body-suit with black boots, trunks, and gloves. Of course, the ensemble wouldn't be complete without a stylish red scarf. In the film, it's tough to tell what side of things Minn-Erva will fall on — although Mar-Vell and Carol are both a part of Starforce in the movie, there's still a chance the rest of the crew breaks bad and Minn-Erva gets to go full-on arch villain. Whether she ends up fighting on the side of the angels or not, Minn-Erva looks to also be sporting the green and black Starforce flight suit for a lot of the film. Hopefully she'll get a slightly more stylish villainous update if she sticks around for a sequel.

The Accuser returns

Ronan the Accuser has got quite a look. The Kree zealot can be seen on both the page and the screen literally draped head to toe in green. What little we can see of the behemoth's face is covered in the most dramatic eye make-up this side of a very intense Gerard Way fan. The black, geometric war paint contrasts nicely with his blue skin. The bold, impressive ensemble wouldn't be complete without a bludgeoning implement that Ronan uses to carry out his judgment on the accused. The movie version takes the classic Jack Kirby design and injects a little more drama by darkening the green and adding textured armor plating to go along with the draping of Ronan's headpiece. The intensity is taken up a notch thanks to the piercing gaze and boundless screen presence of Lee Pace.

Fans have seen the on-screen version of Ronan before, as the chief antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy, but Captain Marvel will give viewers a glimpse into the early days of the Accuser, possibly before he becomes the radicalized, Thanos-serving militant that they know from his previous film outing. There's also a chance that Ronan is already working with the Mad Titan in Captain Marvel and will help sow the seeds for a future showdown between Thanos and Danvers. Either way, Ronan looks the part of the intimidating cosmic threat whether he's on the page or on the screen.

A supreme departure

Annette Bening's character was only recently revealed thanks to an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and probably comes as a genuine surprise to longtime fans of Marvel Comics. That's because she's playing a pretty goofy, high-concept sci-fi character. Of course, everyone else in the movie is dabbling in that area, but the Supreme Intelligence is on a whole 'nother level. 

The Supreme Intelligence of the Kree isn't just some fancy space alien with weird powers. The Supreme Intelligence, as it traditionally appears in Marvel Comics, is a giant green face that dictates the actions of the entirety of the Kree Empire like some sort of logic-driven god-king. That, unfortunately, doesn't look to be the case with the version of the Supreme Intelligence that will be appearing in Captain Marvel.

In the short scene that's been released, Annette Bening is referred to as "The Intelligence," but sadly lacks any of the giant green face aesthetic that die-hard fans conjure up in their minds at the mere mention of the Kree's guiding light. She's wearing the same flight suit that members of Starforce are wearing, but there's still hope that she might develop into a slightly more Wizard of Oz-style menacing face before the credits roll. Or maybe they're just saving it for the sequel.

Eyes on the prize

Nick Fury, as played by Samuel L. Jackson, has been a binding force in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception. The head of the Avengers Initiative and S.H.I.E.L.D. has operated in the shadows, protecting the world from all manner of domestic and interstellar threats. A lot of people know that the original Nick Fury in the comics is a grizzled white guy with two-tone hair, and that when Marvel launched the Ultimate line in the 2000s, their new version of Nick Fury was specifically based on Samuel L. Jackson. This, of course, led to the actual Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury when he finally made his silver screen debut in Iron Man. It's like an ouroboros of influence. What a lot of people don't know is that the cycle hasn't stopped.

In 2011, Marvel published a series called Battle Scars, which introduced a character named Marcus Johnson, who would soon be revealed to be the secret son of Nick Fury. The revelations came fast and furious, letting readers know he not only had a military background, but had inherited the effects of the Infinity Formula — the reason that Fury has enhanced physical abilities and why he appears to age slower than most people. 

After getting wrapped up into a conspiracy involving the Serpent Squad and a group named Leviathan, Johnson ends up joining SHIELD and having it revealed to him that his birth name is Nick Fury Jr. Oh, and he also lost an eye during the conflict. Due to some cosmic shenanigans involving the Watcher, the original Fury was taken off the board and Nick Fury Jr. has essentially taken his place, bringing a Nick Fury who looks a lot more like his film counterpart to the comics universe.

Running the spectrum

Captain Marvel is about more than just opposing empires of warring aliens. Back on Earth, Carol Danvers has a life, a family, and friends. Chief among those friends in the movie is Maria Rambeau, an ace fighter pilot. While Maria herself looks to be an awesome addition to Carol's supporting cast, eagle-eyed comics fans will mostly take note due to her last name, immediately connecting her to Monica Rambeau, the first woman to sport the title of Captain Marvel. Turns out, Maria has a daughter played by Akira Akbar (This is Us). It's Monica as a young girl, which opens up some fun opportunities for future stories, since Captain Marvel takes place in the '90s.

In the comics, Monica is a powerhouse with a history that spans decades. After a science accident involving extra-dimensional energy, Monica found that she was able to convert her body into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum, giving her an incredibly diverse powerset that has allowed her to be an asset to any super team she's been a part of. She's been a member and leader of the Avengers, spent time with the latest incarnation of the Ultimates, and was part of the fantastic satirical Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. 

Over the years, Monica has swapped code names pretty frequently, going from Captain Marvel to Pulsar, to Photon, to Spectrum. Her current and most popular look is that of a black-and-white bodysuit with geometric designs that's sometimes covered by a long trench coat — a look she picked up while a part of Nextwave. Although Monica may not play much of a part in Captain Marvel, it's clear that the architects of the MCU are planting seeds by introducing her as a child with her whole future ahead of her.

A fuzzy co-pilot by any other name...

An animal having the name of another animal is always good — it's a universally-accepted truth. Goose is one such animal. Goose is a cat, but not just any cat. Goose belongs to Carol Danvers, and offers not just company but solace to the beleaguered space hero after her long days of fending off alien invasions and saving the world. Movie Goose is not significantly visually different than Carol's feline friend in the comics, but she has one major difference from her comics counterpart — her name. 

Back in the day when Disney didn't own every single franchise under the sun, Carol's cat buddy in the comics was named Chewie, a loving reference to another furry co-pilot. Someone somewhere probably thought it might be a bit insular to have an MCU character's pet's name be a reference to another franchise they owned. Now Goose's moniker is a shout-out to Anthony Edwards' callsign in Top Gun.

Another thing that may not make it to the MCU is that Chewie isn't actually a cat. She's something called a Flerken that just happens to look a lot like an Earth cat. Flerkens are pretty monumentally weird, given that Chewie laid a host of eggs that spawned 117 offspring in a recent adventure that involved Carol and Chewie hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This is possible due to a theory that Flerkens might be able to access a pocket dimension in their body that could potentially store anything, including dozens and dozens of offspring.

Secret Invasion

Skrulls have long been rumored to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They've been a go-to for fan theorists for explaining away plot holes or giving the studio a convenient out for removing a character or actor from the franchise. The reason for this is that Skrulls are known for one thing: shape-shifting. The green invaders can assume any form they want at any time, making them a uniquely difficult enemy to deal with, even by Marvel Universe standards. In the comics, the Skrulls were even able to stage a years-long infiltration of Earth that culminated in the line-wide event Secret Invasion. If there's one thing the Skrulls are known for apart from shape-shifting, it's their blood-feud with the Kree Empire, which makes them a natural adversary for the cast of Captain Marvel.

While Skrulls tend not to look the same for too long, they do have a shape they return to when not masquerading as someone you know and trust. They're big green reptilian aliens with ribbed chins and, strangely enough, tend to wear a lot of purple. Captain Marvel looks to have taken a fairly literal approach to adapting the nefarious Skrulls. The only changes apparent at first glance are the lack of the almost universal purple head-sock they tend to rock in their standard form. The faces of the few Skrulls we've seen in promo material seem to have a bit more of a sunken look, with purple vein-like markings running throughout their skin. Interestingly enough, Talos will be in the film — a Skrull defined by his inability to shape-shift.

Carol Danvers' eclectic closet

Carol Danvers has a long history in Marvel Comics, which has been filled with almost as many costume changes and aliases as it has with high adventure and drama. Debuting in 1968 as an officer in the Air Force, Carol started her comics tenure as a supporting character for Mar-Vell, who eventually succumbed to a freak accident with some Kree technology that gave Carol a whole host of super powers, including flight and super strength. One of her first looks was similar to what Minn-Erva wears — a take on the Captain Marvel uniform that sacrifices full-body coverage for bikini bottoms and a wild ab window. Not exactly a look that's aged well.

After a serious power upgrade thanks to horrific experimentation by the Xenomorph-like aliens known as the Brood, Carol took on the mantle of Binary. This gave her the ability to draw on a "white hole," essentially giving her godlike powers of energy absorption and manipulation, as well as a new all-white costume, ringed in flames to go along with her fiery new form. After losing her connection to the Binary persona, Carol went by both Ms. Marvel and Warbird for a time. 

The Warbird costume is nothing to write home about, with its dark color scheme and generic armored look. The Ms. Marvel costume was a black one-piece adorned with a lightning bolt and a red sash at the hip. This would remain the standard look for Carol up until 2012, when Marvel debuted the current, iconic look that the movie costume is based on.

A modern marvel

Carol Danvers had gone by many names before 2012, but was finally graced with her rightful title of Captain Marvel upon the launch of a new series and debut of a much-improved new look designed by artist Jamie McKelvie. The new costume drew inspiration from the classic Captain Marvel look, but updated it with some military flair and straightforward functionality. Carol was also given a new shorter, cooler haircut that followed the focus on function and gave her a unique bit of identity among a sea of long-haired superheroines. A Kree war helmet was also added to the ensemble, forcing Carol's hair into a righteous mohawk.

Captain Marvel isn't messing around with any of Carol's past looks, and is thankfully sticking with the modern design and giving it in-universe roots as part of the Kree Starforce uniform. The costumers have given the suit a tactile, modern feel while still maintaining its sci-fi aesthetic, and look to have even found a way to make the war helmet work when it could have so easily been rendered overly large and clunky. Larson looks like she stepped directly off the page, and will only help cement this as the de facto look for the character going forward. It works with the movie's '90s setting, while looking like it will fit right at home in the modern timeline of the MCU as well. It's functional, modern, and most importantly, just looks pretty dang cool.