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Why Captain Marvel's Haircut Means More To Fans Than You Think

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe's star-studded roster, Brie Larson's Captain Marvel distinguished herself as the film series' first standalone female protagonist. (Yes, technically Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow got to the party first, but "Captain Marvel" arrived two years before her solo feature.) Larson's first outing at Carol Danvers was in 2019's "Captain Marvel." The MCU movie was a smash success at the box office, passing the $1 billion worldwide (via Variety). Shortly after the debut of "Captain Marvel," Larson appeared in "Avengers: Endgame." Soon, she'll appear alongside Teyonah Parris, who reprises her Monica Rambeau role, and "Ms. Marvel" actor Imani Vellani in "The Marvels," set for release in 2022.

In "Avengers: Endgame" — the other record-setting MCU epic from 2019 (via CNBC) — Captain Marvel had a surprisingly tiny role. The three-hour finale to "The Infinity Saga" provided extensive narrative progress for more established Marvel characters, including Captain America and Iron Man. But, in doing so, newer characters didn't receive the same treatment. This was true for Captain Marvel, and some fans were disappointed to see such little time allocated for the then-newest hero in the MCU.

While she still plays an important role in the film's sprawling climax, it isn't Captain Marvel's contribution to the action that stuck with fans; instead, it was a detail about the character's appearance. Five years after Thanos' lethal snap, Captain Marvel swaps out her long blond bob for a shorter, almost pixie-style cut. Her new hairstyle may seem like a small change. But, for a portion of the MCU fandom, it's impactful.

Captain Marvel's hair in Avengers: Endgame resonates with two important MCU fanbases

At face value, Captain Marvel's short hair in "Avengers: Endgame" is a seemingly nondescript detail in a movie where superheroes are fighting extraterrestrials in upstate New York. But, as Den of Geek noted shortly after the release of "Endgame," the significance of Captain Marvel's haircut is more important than you think.

The character's hair pays homage to the writer Kelly Sue DeConnick's interpretation of Carol Danvers in Marvel Comics. From 2012 to 2016, DeConnick's inclusion of shorter hairstyles on the superhero helped rebrand the character (via PopSugar). Given how closely Captain Marvel's "Endgame" hair resembles DeConnick's version, it's more than a faithful component of adaptation because it impacts the fans' reading of the character; specifically, female-identifying and LGBTQ+ fans. Like the comics, Captain Marvel's "Endgame" haircut is free of patriarchal implication and queer coded in its presentation, helping serve as an entry point for these two fan groups in identifying with her. The haircut is one of a few elements in her MCU arc where fans have seen queer coding, per Gay Times, and have helped make the character accessible to the sections of the Marvel fandom, including the Carol Corps, aka the Captain Marvel fans (via Polygon).

Additionally, Brie Larson's support of the LGBTQ+ community adds another layer here and helps us view the actor as someone whose real-world views support Captain Marvel's triumph over sexism and defiance of the rigid gender binary. Overall, the MCU lacks well-rounded queer and female-identified representation in its films and shows, so it's reasonable to say that a single hairstyle in "Endgame" won't atone for this. However, female-identifying and LGBTQ+ fans can still take heart in Captain Marvel's unmistakably meaningful haircut.