The Marvels is probably the most interconnected MCU project yet. It requires knowledge of not only the original Captain Marvel movie, but at least three Disney Plus series. On top of that, there’s some wider watching you can do to make sure you’re on the pulse of the Captain Marvel sequel.
To help with the homework – something which director Nia DaCosta addressed in an interview with GamesRadar+ – we’ve put together a quick and easy guide to cut through the noise of the 40-plus MCU projects. Here is our spoiler-free look at the essential Marvel movies and shows you really should watch before The Marvels.
What do I need to watch before The Marvels?
‘Well, duh,’ we can hear you cry. But some casual audience members may not that know The Marvels is, for all intents and purposes, Captain Marvel 2.
Captain Marvel, released in 2019 just before Avengers: Endgame, introduced Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her higher-further-faster origin story that saw her return to Earth after spending years with her memories wiped and powers suppressed as part of a Kree Starforce unit.
The movie not only establishes Danvers in the MCU, but also the Skrulls, a shapeshifting race of aliens who are without a home after the action of the Kree. The most prominent Skrull is their leader Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn.
Captain Marvel also features Carol’s former pilot friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and her daughter, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). The billion-dollar-grossing superhero movie, set in 1995, also begins the longstanding friendship between Captain Marvel and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a relationship that is set to be explored further in The Marvels – as well as the dynamic between Carol and Monica. More on that in the WandaVision section below.
The second of The Marvels’ triumvirate is Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani). She debuted in 2022’s Ms. Marvel, a six-episode Disney Plus series that charted how the fledgling hero transformed from adorkable teenager into a potentially world-saving force.
As for her powers, Ms. Marvel possesses the ability to create and manipulate matter using a purple energy that emits light. That’s a significant change from the comics, where she had an Inhuman gene and could stretch and contort her body.
In the Disney Plus show, she is ably supported by her family – who are set to re-appear in The Marvels after (quick spoiler alert) Carol Danvers switched places with Kamala in the Ms. Marvel post-credits scene. The Marvels will follow directly on from this moment, so it’s essential viewing.
While WandaVision, Marvel’s first Disney Plus series, may not seem to link into The Marvels on the face of it, one of its B-plots deals with the emergence of Monica Rambeau. The SWORD operative investigates the witchy goings-on at Westview, which brings her into contact with Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
WandaVision also reveals how Monica gets the flashy powers she’ll be showing off in The Marvels – as well as the fate of her mother. She’s later brought into the orbit of Carol once more during the finale’s post-credits scene.
What’s Nick Fury been up to all these years? Post-Endgame, it appears the former director of SHIELD has been setting up shop in space. Secret Invasion brings Fury back down to Earth (quite literally), as he has to deal with a lingering loose thread from his past in the shape of an emerging group of Skrull terrorists. With the fate of the planet at stake – and many leaders replaced by the shapeshifters – Fury must turn to old friends and new allies to stave off the existential threat.
In terms of The Marvels, Secret Invasion sets up Fury’s new place in the MCU as head of the intergalactic force S.A.B.E.R.
What else should you watch before The Marvels?
The Kree will once again be a factor in The Marvels, with Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) wielding the same style of hammer as Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, who appeared in Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy. In general, that cosmic caper is a great introduction to the sort of zany spacefaring antics that we should expect from the Captain Marvel sequel. It’s also a complementary piece to Captain Marvel for those who are unfamiliar with the Kree’s role in the MCU.
Nick Fury also ‘appeared’ in Spider-Man: Far From Home. It’s later revealed in the post-credits scene, however, that the Fury we saw throughout the film was actually Talos in disguise. Maybe just check out the full post-credits scene if you’re short on time.