With the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) consistently expanding to warp in a slew of spinoffs, TV shows, and more into its canon, it might be hard to keep up with what’s going on in the MCU at all times. The universe is now in its fifth phase, slowly edging toward another galactic epic with the upcoming 2025 Avengers movie, and with The Marvels releasing this weekend we’ve rounded up everything you need to know from the MCU’s happenings to enjoy its latest installment.
Helmed by Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Teyonah Parris, the highly anticipated flick is set to follow Captain Marvel as she solves the curious case of an intergalactic wormhole gone rogue. Despite its brisk runtime, The Marvels will surely plant more seeds for the MCU’s future, but if you’ve found yourself stumped at who the hell some of the film’s characters are—we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 important facts and tidbits you need to know before watching The Marvels.
1. The Marvels is basically Freaky Friday for superheroes.
While The Marvels will surely have more plot twists and teases in store, the film essentially follows Captain Marvel as she investigates a wormhole linked to the Kree, an alien species she’s been up against since the original Captain Marvel film. During her investigation, she finds that her powers have been unexplainably entangled with two other superheros, Ms. Marvel (Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Parris), resulting in the three of them swapping places with each other whenever they use their powers (Freaky Friday core). The trio are forced to team up as they try to save the day and figure out what’s going on. —Yasmeen Hamadeh
2. The Marvels is set after Secret Invasion.
With so many projects floating around in the MCU ether, it’s a little tricky to ascertain when exactly The Marvels is taking place. The film is a follow-up to Secret Invasion, which likely takes place around the same time or slightly before Ms. Marvel. The end of Ms. Marvel also includes a scene that directly ties into The Marvels. With this in mind, The Marvels is the most recent event in the MCU timeline, putting it around the fall of 2025. —William Goodman
3. Familiar faces are returning for The Marvels.
While Brie Larson is evidently reprising her titular role, there are other familiar faces from the MCU joining The Marvels. Notably, Samuel L. Jackson is set to return as Nick Fury. Goose the loveable tabby cat/alien species will also be returning as the MCU’s favorite feline sidekick, along with kittens this time around. Iman Vellani and Teyonah Parris will also be returning as Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel) and Monica Rambeau respectively (more on them below). —Yasmeen Hamadeh
4. The Marvels introduces a slew of new characters. Here are descriptions of some of them.
The Marvels brings with it the addition of two new characters. Zawe Ashton will play the villain, Dar-Benn, a Kree warrior revolutionary who has an Accuser’s hammer (Ronan, the foe from Guardians of the Galaxy, had one of his own) and a bangle that looks very similar to Kamala’s.
Additionally, South Korean actor Park Seo-joon will join as Prince Yan, who has an interesting connection to Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel). American audiences are most likely familiar with the performer from his brief appearance in Parasite. —William Goodman
5. Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau are our two new Marvels.
The Marvels will pair Carol alongside a reluctant Monica and an overly eager Kamala Khan. As seen toward the end of WandaVision, Monica has light-based powers and will easily be able to hold her own as she’s pulled into this galactic threat. Kamala, on the other hand, is a spunky young hero from Jersey City with light powers of her own. The two are directly inspired by or closely related to Carol but have their own approaches to interacting with her. —William Goodman
6. WandaVision and Ms. Marvel are the two Disney+ shows that play most into The Marvels.
Monica played a key part in the events of WandaVision. A S.W.O.R.D. captain is tasked with exploring the anomaly created in New Jersey, where Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is holding the town captive. As the series continues, Monica receives her own powers. But, most importantly, we find out that Monica was one of the Snapped and that her mother, Maria, who was close with Carol, died during the time everyone was away. Monica is carrying some complicated feelings about Carol because of Maria’s death, compounded by the fact that Carol’s been largely AWOL from Earth—protecting the galaxy instead—since gaining her powers.
Kamala Khan, on the other hand, is a high school student from Jersey City who loves superheroes (specifically, Captain Marvel) before becoming a hero herself in Ms. Marvel. Critically, Kamala’s hard light powers are mutant-based (yes, as in the X-Men!) and activated by a magical bangle gifted to her by her grandmother. —William Goodman
7. The Marvels may have some Easter eggs for the MCU’s future.
While we’ll have to wait for the full film to figure out what’s really happening, some of the late-stage marketing around The Marvels is cheekily teasing a bigger connection to the future of the MCU than originally intended. A new trailer for the film that hit during Monday Night Football features a snippet of dialogue from Monica about how “a different reality is bleeding in…” Could this finally be our first look at an incursion event, something last teased in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? And with Kamala’s mutant gene, might there be some X-Men in the mix somehow? —William Goodman
8. The MCU officially has its youngest director ever with Nia DaCosta.
The Marvels is checking off a lot of firsts for the MCU, and none of them shine more clearly than through the film’s director, Nia DaCosta. The Harlem-raised artist is the MCU’s youngest director so far, and is also the first Black woman to ever helm a Marvel film. While The Marvels might be your introduction to DaCosta’s work, the budding director’s filmography has been making waves for some time, with her previous titles Little Woods (2018) and Candyman (2021) earning esteemed recognition from film festivals and the likes of Jordan Peele. DaCosta is a surefire force to be reckoned with, and The Marvels is just her beginning. —Yasmeen Hamadeh
9. The Marvels has the shortest runtime out of all MCU films.
While most MCU films typically bank up to a two-hour runtime, The Marvels is officially the shortest MCU film to date, clocking in at only an hour and 45 minutes. Previously, the record was held by both The Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World, which both ran at an hour and 52 minutes. The Marvels cut that runtime by seven minutes, making it the MCU’s shortest film so far. It seems like the film is going to be a brisk watch. —Yasmeen Hamadeh
10. The Marvels releases in theaters this weekend.
After several delays, The Marvels is officially set to premiere in theaters on Nov. 10, and will also be available to watch in IMAX. While no streaming release has yet been set for the film, we can expect it to hit Disney+ a few months after its theatrical release. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, for example, hit theaters on May 5, and then began streaming on Disney+ on Aug. 2, so we can expect a similar timeframe for The Marvels. —Yasmeen Hamadeh