Highlights from the new Captain Marvel trailer: Noble warrior heroes, blue blood and alien kitties

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Kicking off a big week for Marvel, the second trailer for Captain Marvel debuted during halftime of Monday Night Football. (The long-awaited first look at “Avengers” 4 is expected to debut Wednesday morning during Good Morning America.) ESPN was likely grateful for some corporate synergy to draw viewers to the broadcast who probably weren’t interested in watching the Eagles play the Redskins.

It’s often interesting to compare the first and second trailers for a blockbuster movie marketing campaign, and see what the intention is toward the audience. As we saw back in September, the first Captain Marvel trailer was more of an introduction to Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her abilities, emphasizing showy points like the story taking place in the 1990s and younger versions of characters like Nick Fury and Phil Coulson.

With the intro now out of the way, this latest trailer focuses more on the story. The Skrulls and Kree are alien races at war, and the conflict has made its way to Earth.

With rumors of trailers for Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home (along with Shazam! or Godzilla vs. Kong from the non-Marvel realm), there’s the possibility that Captain Marvel’s new preview gets quickly overshadowed. But probably not, with the goodies that this trailer includes and the likelihood that it will be attached to some blockbusters during the holidays like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. (Probably Aquaman, too.)

For now, however, Captain Marvel has the spotlight to herself. Here are some takeaways from our latest look at Marvel’s newest star:

That’s why Captain Marvel hit that old lady

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For many viewers, one of the shocking moments from the first Captain Marvel trailer was seeing our hero belt a kindly old woman on a train. Who would punch an old woman? What kind of hero does that? But most Marvel Comics fans guessed that the civilian was a Skrull in disguise. And what better way to demonstrate their shape-shifting abilities than to take the form of a seemingly harmless elderly woman?

This time, we see the follow-up. That old lady isn’t harmless, providing the entertaining visual (with guttural growl) of her springing out of her seat to drop-kick Captain Marvel in the chest and cartwheel down the corridor. For the sake of public perception, let’s hope that the Skrull reverts to its true form after Danvers knocks her out. Otherwise, the Kree might have a public relations issue with the other passengers on that train. (Not that she’d care…)

Hey, it’s Annette Bening!

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One of the fun things about Marvel movies is to see actors not typically associated with blockbuster films (Glenn Close, Robert Redford, etc.) get to play a role. Annette Bening joins that group, though we don’t know exactly what part she’s playing in Captain Marvel.

While it might be fun to see her fulfill an older mentor type of role, like Liam Neeson did in Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode I, the assumption is that Jude Law’s character will provide guidance for Carol Danvers. Based on what we hear from Bening in this trailer (“we made you one of us”), she has more to do with programming Danvers into a soldier for the Kree, changing her physiology (which includes blue blood), and so forth.

There’s a Skrull!

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We got a brief glimpse of Marvel’s legendary shape-shifting alien invaders in the first Captain Marvel trailer, but get a much closer look here. Additionally, we get some dialogue from Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, who will hopefully be a villain on par with Orson Krennic from Rogue One. (Mendelsohn also played something of a bad guy for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in 2015’s Mississippi Grind.)

The Skrulls have been long overdue to appear in a Marvel movie. At one point, it was believed that the rights to the Skrulls belonged to Fox as part of the Fantastic Four’s package of characters and that’s why they didn’t appear in The Avengers. But the rights are obviously shared between studios, like Quicksilver was between the Avengers and X-Men films. (Such rights issues will be a moot point with the Disney-Fox merger.)

With their ability to take the form of any person, it’s expected that the Skrulls could become a major player in the studio’s next phase of films. Could some of our favorite heroes end up being an alien menace in disguise in future Marvel films? That could be fun and upsetting.

She has the power!

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Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those familiar with the character from the comic books nod knowingly and approvingly. But that might be a tougher sell to fans who think Carol Danvers couldn’t possibly be more powerful than Iron Man or the Hulk. Or what about Thanos?

Obviously, we’ve yet to see on screen just how powerful Captain Marvel can be. This movie and Avengers 4 will surely take significant steps to establish how powerful she is. (Will she be the key to defeating Thanos, for instance?)

But the trailer provides a hint of that in its climactic moment with Danvers saying that she’s going to end the war between the Skrulls and Kree. We then see her surge with power, fly above the Earth and destroy spaceships with energy fired from her hands. (Oh, and she’s doing so wearing that cool battle helmet — designed by Jamie McKelvie for the comics — which forms her hair into a mohawk. We haven’t seen Thor or Iron Man do that. Stand back.

That’s no kitty, nick fury

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Based on this trailer, one of the highlights of the movie promises to be the banter between Carol Danvers and a younger, pre-eye patch Nick Fury. This is literally a side of Fury we haven’t seen before. He has both of his eyes, a full head of hair, and isn’t the sardonic badass we’ve come to know in the Marvel films.

Fury also apparently has a soft spot for cats. But the little kitty with which the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so smitten — who also lurks in the shadows of the first Captain Marvel poster — isn’t a terrestrial feline. No, sir. That’s an alien lifeform.

The cat is a relatively recent addition to the Captain Marvel mythology, which has been built up over the past 10 to 15 years as her role has become more important in the Marvel Comics universe. Named Goose, surely as a nod to Danvers’ pilot days (the cat is called Chewie in the comics), the pet is actually a Flerkin. Flerkins resemble cats, much like Rocket Raccoon looks like a terrestrial raccoon.

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Rocket and Goose (Chewie) have actually butted heads in the comics, so maybe that gives us something to look forward to in Avengers 4. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea for Fury to be sweet to that little beast. Otherwise, he might reveal those fanged tendrils that reside deep in his mouth.

There’s an air of mystery to Captain Marvel

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Fortunately, this second trailer doesn’t reveal everything. There’s even a hint at a mystery that Danvers (and Fury) are likely trying to solve throughout the story.

“Something in my past is the key to all of this,” Danvers says to Fury. What exactly brought Danvers back to Earth? Was it simply her role in the Kree-Skrull War? Or is there more to it? Why was Danvers taken by the Kree in the first place? Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming an unwitting participant in an intergalactic battle? Was there something different about her from the very beginning?

We’ll get to see Captain Marvel in theaters on March 8, 2019.