The Marvels trailer puts the spotlight back on Carol Danvers

In an alternate timeline, this November’s Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels, would have probably just had a pretty big weekend at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC).

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) final film of 2023, this movie’s cast would have taken to the stage at SDCC’s legendary Hall H (a venue Marvel Studios has traditionally dominated), with the likes of Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, and Samuel L. Jackson, alongside director/co-writer Nia DaCosta, all eagerly sharing new details about their film, endearing the 6000-plus fans in attendance with their undeniable chemistry and camaraderie (a continuation of what was teased at Disney’s D23 Expo in September of 2022), and more than likely debuting the official full-length trailer for the film.

Marvel Studios would have also presumably unveiled exclusive footage and casting details for several other projects on their upcoming release slate, including Loki Season 2, the Echo series, and maybe even teases for next year’s Deadpool 3, Captain America: Brave New World, Agatha: Coven of Chaos – the list goes on.

Well, at least in that alternate timeline it does.

Alas, we live in the timeline where Marvel Studios, along with most of the other major Hollywood studios, did not make an appearance at this year’s SDCC. Their absence was largely due to Hollywood’s present shutdown, where both the actors (the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) (SAG-AFTRA)) and the screenwriters (the Writers Guild of America (WGA)) are on strike simultaneously for the first time in 63 years.

Both strikes have arisen from the respective guilds’ fight for fair wages, better working conditions, and protection against the advancing threat of artificial intelligence on their industry, among other objectives, after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to reach an agreement earlier this spring (for the WGA) and summer (for SAG-AFTRA).

So while Hollywood remains in limbo until a fair deal can be reached for each of these guilds, yet-to-be-released movies (and their fans) remain in limbo, too – which is why, rather than having a massive, star-studded Marvel Studios panel to delve into in this article, what I’ll be focusing on instead is the new piece of promotional material we did receive – the aforementioned full-length trailer for The Marvels.

Marvel dropped this trailer in the wee hours of the morning on July 21st, after their official YouTube channel shared a cryptic visual of a familiar pager device counting down to what would end up being the second official look at the team-up between Larson’s Carol Danvers/ Captain Marvel, Parris’s Monica Rambeau, and Vellani’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.

Fans already had their first taste of this trio’s dynamic a la the shorter teaser trailer that premiered on Good Morning America on April 11th, and, as is the case with the second trailer for nearly any blockbuster movie, there’s a considerable amount of overlap between the footage included in that trailer and this new one.

Familiar scenes are once again shown in Kamala’s family’s Jersey City living room and up on the S.A.B.E.R. space station with Nick Fury (fresh off a six-episode stint in the MCU’s Secret Invasion), and there are also multiple moments depicting the final confrontation between our heroic trio and the villainous Dar-Benn (more on her later), this time with additional evidence of the team working together and showing off some pretty exceptional power combos (inquiring minds want to know where Kamala picked up all her parkour moves in the time since we last saw her).

There’s also, of course, a generous offering of chaotic place-switching shenanigans (the main premise of the film being that all three heroes swap locations whenever they use their powers), just like in the first trailer. Plus, the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” is employed once again, this time as a rousing, semi-orchestral remix.

The two main differences, then, between this July trailer and the one from April, have to do with Carol Danvers herself. Carol had a somewhat diminutive presence in the first teaser, largely assumed to be due to Marvel wanting to instead use the time to familiarize audiences with Kamala and Monica, both of whom debuted in the Disney+ series (Ms. Marvel and WandaVision, respectively), not movies.

Right at the start of this nearly 2-and-a-half-minute trailer, we’re brought up to speed on Carol’s current status – she’s been alone in space (well, aside from the fan-favorite Flerken, Goose, making her triumphant return here!), presumably handling various intergalactic threats without the need for any assistance over the years. She’s still on good terms with Fury, at least, which is a nice callback to their bond in Captain Marvel.

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that Carol has a polaroid of Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau (rumored to appear in this movie via flashbacks, seeing as the character passed away before the events of WandaVision), and a news clipping about Maria’s daughter, Monica, on the wall of her ship. It’s expected that The Marvels will explore the reason behind Monica’s present-day resentment towards her surrogate aunt, as was teased in WandaVision, and this detail all but confirms that the Rambeaus have never been far from Carol’s mind.

We also see several impressive displays of Carol’s power set, including her signature move of busting through spaceships like they’re nothing, a closer look at her two updated costumes for this film, and even a split-second glimpse of a reluctant dance with Park Seo-joon’s Prince Yan, while dressed in what appears to be a ballgown version of her normal Captain Marvel suit (1:38 in the trailer if you’re curious). For those who were missing Carol in the first teaser, this follow-up was more than delivered.

In addition to setting the stage for Carol’s emotional journey in this movie, we finally gain a better understanding of how she’s connected to the main antagonist of The Marvels, Zawe Ashton’s Dar-Benn.

One of the main updates afforded to fans in this extended trailer is a better understanding of Ashton’s Kree Accuser. She regards Carol as “the Annihilator,” and through voiceover, we’re told that Carol “took everything from [Dar-Benn],” and now the villain is “returning the favor.”

She’s somehow in possession of a twin bangle to the one adorning Kamala’s left wrist and appears to be using it to cause quite a bit of planetary destruction (as evidenced by this trailer). It’s also implied that Dar-Benn herself is responsible for the predicament our three leads find themselves in at the start of this movie, but whether this is the extent of Dar-Benn’s revenge on Carol, or if there’s something more up her sleeve, remains to be seen. We’re left to speculate on how exactly Carol wronged Dar-Benn so significantly, but that’s what the next three or so months are for!

All in all, this new trailer, matching the tone of the April teaser, successfully brings the focus back onto Carol Danvers (it is technically still her sequel), clarifies the role of the movie’s villain, and promises a fun-spirited adventure where we’ll get to watch the notoriously independent hero have no choice but to navigate the concept of teamwork with her estranged niece and her biggest fan.

Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani star in Marvel Studios’ The Marvels, which hits theatres on November 10th, 2023.