What do you call a Marvel Studios movie based on Marvel Comics set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel? The Marvels, clearly. There’s no other choice.

With the MCU returning to theaters for the first time since May’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it’s time for a refresh. Here’s what you should expect from The Marvels, without any spoilers in the way.

Does The Marvels have a post-credits scene?

The Marvels has one mid-credits scene, between the flashy animated credits and the plain white-on-black scroll credits. There is no post-credits scene, just a small jokey sound effect right at the end.

What’s The Marvels about?

The Marvels is about a trio of superpowered characters — Monica Rambeau, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) — who discover that their energy-based powers are entwined and they’re spontaneously trading places whenever they use those powers. That’s complicated, since one of them works in Earth orbit, one lives way out in distant space, and one is a New Jersey high school student. There’s a villain who’s busting down the walls between universes, or something similar; Nick Fury is there, and so is Goose the cat — I mean, the Flerken — from Captain Marvel.

What MCU movies and shows does The Marvels spin out of?

The Marvels is most directly a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, which introduced Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers to the MCU as a woman who was brainwashed into joining an alien war after getting godlike abilities from an Infinity Stone.

The other two heroes at the helm of The Marvels also got their introductions in previous Marvel projects. In WandaVision, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau (known as Spectrum in the comics) walked away from an encounter with the Scarlet Witch with the ability to see and control all forms of electromagnetic energy. And Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan got her own self-named TV series, Ms. Marvel, where she went from superhero mega-fan to superhero after an old family heirloom unlocked her latent mutant energy powers.

When does The Marvels take place?

While Captain Marvel turned back the clock to show Carol Danvers’ origin story in the 1990s, The Marvels is set in the present of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means it’s 30 years after Captain Marvel, and much less time after WandaVision and Ms. Marvel. It takes place after Secret Invasion, according to that show’s director.

Is The Marvels based on any particular comics?

Not outright. It seems to be a collection of elements of various comics, from deep-cut ideas like the Nega-Bands — which allow the two people wearing them to swap places — to alien settings seen in modern Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel books, some of Marvel Comics’ biggest sleeper hits of the 2010s.

Do you need to watch all that MCU stuff to watch The Marvels?

It certainly makes the brief emotional arcs better — you won’t have much attachment to these characters and the tensions between them if you haven’t watched their origin stories. But The Marvels is enough of an action movie that the background isn’t crucial. In terms of actual facts you need to know, the characters throw out some exposition to catch the audience up on who has what powers and why.

If you’re going to watch one thing as homework to understand The Marvels better, though, watch Ms. Marvel, a charming standout Disney Plus series at a fleet six episodes. If you want the whole list of what to watch to catch up, we have a post for that!

 Credits scenes, comics lore, and how to catch up  Read More