The disappointing box office performance of The Marvels may jeopardize Captain Marvel’s future in the MCU. The Marvels broke a major MCU trend by not adopting the title of its predecessor, which may help distance the film from the Captain Marvel franchise and potentially pave the way for a proper Captain Marvel 2. A potential Captain Marvel sequel could adapt Marvel Comics’ speculated Civil War II storyline, explore the formation of the MCU’s Young Avengers, or could feature the X-Men alongside Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers.

Marvel Studios broke a major MCU trend with the 2023 release of The Marvels, which may benefit Captain Marvel’s future in the ever-growing franchise. Brie Larson debuted as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, in 2019’s self-titled 1995-set Captain Marvel, and made further appearances in Avengers: Endgame, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Ms. Marvel on Disney+ before returning in The Marvels. Despite a positive audience response to The Marvels, the Phase 5 project performed abysmally at the box office, marking a box office bomb for Marvel Studios, and throwing Brie Larson’s future as Captain Marvel into jeopardy, but this may not be the end of the road.

While Captain Marvel acted as an introduction and origin story for Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, 2023’s The Marvels explored the formation of a new superhero team in the MCU by bringing together Danvers, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan. The Marvels also helped to explain some of the questions concerning Danvers’ thirty-year absence from the MCU between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, revealing that she had destroyed the Kree’s Supreme Intelligence, earning the wrath of Zawe Ashton’s Dar-Benn, and had explored several other worlds, including Aladna. Despite these revelations, and its importance in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, The Marvels still leaves Captain Marvel’s MCU future uncertain.​​​​​​​


Every MCU Movie The Marvels Sets Up

The Marvels’ story positions it as an integral step in the MCU’s Phase 5 and 6 journey by setting up a handful of future films in the franchise.

The Marvels’ Failure Makes Captain Marvel’s MCU Future Tricky

Far from Captain Marvel’s whopping $1.1 billion total at the box office, The Marvels has only managed to rake in $197.9 million, as of December 8 (via BoxOfficeMojo). This is contradictory to the mostly-positive audience reception that The Marvels has received (the project has an 82% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes), and marks a disappointing addition to the MCU’s Phase 5, topping off a tumultuous year for Marvel Studios. While a sequel to Captain Marvel was inevitable after the film’s success, the future of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers following The Marvels is much less certain, as Marvel Studios may avoid investing in a franchise that won’t bring in a profit.

Labeled as the “lowest-grossing MCU movie in history” in a report by Variety, The Marvels’ disappointing box office performance means that Marvel Studios may choose to avoid making any further Captain Marvel sequels. Most major MCU heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor, have been gifted with trilogies, with the latter even starring in a fourth solo project in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder, but it seems as though a potential Captain Marvel 3 may not be on the cards for Marvel Studios. Even so, one ground-breaking change in The Marvels means that Marvel Studios can still save the Captain Marvel​​​​​​​ franchise.

The Marvels Broke A Major MCU Title Trend That Helps Captain Marvel

The Marvels is the first MCU sequel project to not adopt the title of its predecessor, which may help to distance the film from the overarching Captain Marvel franchise. 2008’s Iron Man was followed by Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, Chris Evans’ Captain America franchise changed subtitles while retaining the Captain America title, and the same has been seen with the Thor, Spider-Man, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange franchises, too. The Marvels seemingly didn’t adopt the title of Captain Marvel 2 to stress the fact that this was a team-up movie, featuring three starring superheroes rather than just Carol Danvers, and this may have secretly become Danvers’ saving grace.

The Marvels refers to the film’s titular team, comprised of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, who debuted in 2019’s Captain Marvel, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, who was first seen as child in Captain Marvel, and later as an adult in WandaVision, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, who was introduced in Phase 4’s Ms. Marvel on Disney+.

The fact that the Captain Marvel sequel didn’t feature the titular hero’s actual name means that Marvel Studios could develop a proper Captain Marvel 2 for the MCU’s future. This could perhaps capitalize on the success of the original 2019 film, and potentially distance itself from the disappointing performance of The Marvels. Brie Larson’s future in the MCU hasn’t yet been confirmed by Marvel Studios, though Larson herself has teased her return during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, and with Kamala Khan off to start her own team, and Monica Rambeau trapped in another reality, a future Captain Marvel sequel could once again focus solely on Carol Danvers.

How The MCU Could Still Do A Proper Captain Marvel 2

Carol Danvers debuted in Marvel Comics back in 1968, so there are decades of Captain Marvel stories that haven’t been explored in the MCU, which means Marvel Studios has many options when considering a dedicated Captain Marvel sequel. Among these, 2016’s Civil War II has been speculated to be adapted for the MCU. This narrative originally featured Carol Danvers and Tony Stark’s Iron Man butting heads after the emergence of a precognitive Inhuman, though this would likely be changed for live-action. The sheer star-power of a potential Civil War II adaptation in the MCU would practically guarantee success, as it would adopt similar tones to 2016’s Captain America: Civil War​​​​​​​.

Following on from The Marvels, a new Captain Marvel sequel could even explore the formation of the MCU’s Young Avengers, with Carol Danvers perhaps acting as a mentor to the new superhero team. Kamala Khan, inspired by her experiences with Danvers and Rambeau, approached Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop in the final moments of The Marvels, providing the MCU’s most overt Young Avengers tease, but there has been no sign of a Young Avengers project actually being developed. Captain Marvel would be an incredibly powerful mentor to the budding team, and the positive reception to Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan means she will likely have larger roles in the MCU’s theatrical releases.

Marvel Studios has introduced many Young Avengers members in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, including Kate Bishop, Kamala Khan, Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Skaar, Cassie Lang, Kid Loki, America Chavez and Eli Bradley, among several others.

The Marvels’ post-credits scene also perhaps hints at a subsequent Captain Marvel sequel featuring the X-Men, whether they be from Fox’s X-Men Universe or the MCU proper. Monica Rambeau came into contact with Lashana Lynch’s Binary and Kelsey Grammer’s Beast in The Marvels after trapping herself in an alternate reality, so this could lead directly into a multiversal adventure in 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars. Danvers had many adventures with the X-Men in Marvel Comics, so it would make sense for a proper Captain Marvel 2 to feature the MCU’s mutant team. This, again, would pretty much guarantee box office revenue following The Marvels, as the X-Men’s MCU debut is highly-anticipated.

Key Release Dates

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Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

 The Marvels secretly helped Carol Danver’s future.  Read More