WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “THE MARVELS”
“The Marvels” has arrived and yes, it brings a certain team fans have been clamoring for into the MCU. But with them comes the return of Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau, suited up once more as an alternate-reality superhero. But if you’re here, you might be wondering exactly which superhero.
Well, before we get into that, let’s first explain a bit. In the final minutes of “The Marvels,” Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) rips through time and space as she tries to steal Earth’s sun. Fortunately, The Marvels are able to stop her from siphoning the star, but they’re still left with a gaping hole, causing another reality to bleed into theirs.
But, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) has a plan. If Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) can blast her with the same amount of energy that they hit Dar-Benn with, Monica can use her own powers to absorb it and use it to weave the incursion back together.
What she doesn’t tell Carol and Kamala is that doing so will require Monica to remain on the other side of the rip, stranding her in a different reality. When she awakes in that reality, Monica finds herself in a hospital bed, being watched over by none other than her very alive mother, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) — or at least, who she thinks is her mother.
As Monica starts freaking out, this Maria Rambeau is visibly confused by being called “mom” and tells her comrade that the patient seems a bit confused. That comrade, it turns out, is Kelsey Grammer’s Beast from Fox’s “X-Men” films.
Suddenly, Maria stands up, and we see that not only does she have a gold streak on her head, but a new, unfamiliar uniform as well. It’s red, white and gold, with two white stars on the chest. Which brings us back to the question: who exactly is Lashana Lynch playing in this reality?
Well, we’re pretty sure she’s still Maria Rambeau. But, as a superhero, she’s known as Binary. If you listen closely, you can hear Beast refer to her explicitly by that name. And this is a very specific way to tie the X-Men into the MCU.
Because, really, Binary is just another alias for Captain Marvel. She was first introduced in Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum’s “Uncanny X-Men #164” back in 1982. The comic teamed up Carol Danvers with the X-Men, and during their adventure, she gets experimented on by aliens known as The Brood. Those experiments turn her into Binary, who can harness the powers of the fabric of the universe.
The character also had a brief run in Kelly Thompson’s “Captain Marvel” run earlier this year.
So, Lashana Lynch is that other universe’s Captain Marvel. MCU fans will of course remember that this happened in yet another alternate universe in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” It’s not altogether surprising, as Carol Danvers tells Maria during a flashback in “The Marvels” that “It should’ve been you that day.”
Now, what exactly this means for Lynch’s future in the MCU is unclear. This is after all very specifically a different reality than the mainline MCU. It’s possible that this is a one-off appearance. But, we don’t think so. The current MCU storyline is (as of now, anyway) called the “multiverse saga” after all. We’re probably gonna see these X-Men again, and maybe their Captain Marvel too.
But wait… Kamala Khan is a mutant too — in the MCU. But she’s also the descendant of literal genies (the Djinn) who came to earth in the 1930s… from another dimension. Are they from that X-Men universe?
Stay confusing, Marvel!
“The Marvels” is now in theaters everywhere.
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