trailers

Highlights from Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer - Hey Nick Fury, there's Mysterio, and how many villains are in this?

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According to rumors, we were supposed to get a trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home in the first week of December, during CCXP in Brazil and shortly after the Avengers: Endgame trailer debuted. That obviously didn’t happen, either because Marvel preferred not to flood the zone with two big trailers in one weekend or because Marvel and Sony didn’t want to draw attention away from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by promoting their live-action friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

But it’s been approximately six weeks now, which is a good distance from those other blockbusters. And Spider-Verse reminded us how special a character Spider-Man is (in several dimensions), presumably increasing anticipation for Tom Holland’s next swing as Peter Parker.

The wait is over! With no advance hype or tease the night before (tactics used for the Captain Marvel previews), Sony and Marvel sprung the first trailer for Far From Home online Tuesday morning.

Good timing, amidst a kind of slow period in comic book and comic book movie culture. The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer gets the spotlight to itself and with little going on, we’ll all surely examine every second of this nearly three-minute preview.

As we like to do for big trailers (especially for superhero movies), here are some takeaways from this first look at the next Spider-Man big-screen adventure:

Aunt May is cool with Spider-Man

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Spider-Man: Homecoming ended with the surprising and hilarious moment of Peter Parker’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) discovering that her nephew was Spider-Man. May’s “What the f—-?” was quickly cut off by the credits, leaving us to wonder where this left the relationship between Peter and May and how this might affect future superheroing.

Based on the opening moments of this trailer, May is fine with Peter risking his life as a costumed superhero. Maybe that’s because she’s figured out how to use Spider-Man’s stardom to help the local community. He really is “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Also looking to be friendly is Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who’s taken a liking to Peter’s extremely attractive aunt. (He’s also apparently very aware of her wardrobe choices.) Happy and Aunt May aren’t a thing in the comic books (he ends up with Pepper Potts), but this is a good example of how the movies can create a fresh take on familiar characters and storylines. Will we get a Happy-Aunt May date?

Peter wants a break from Spider-Man

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To me, one of the strengths of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies was exploring the idea that Bruce Wayne eventually wanted to give up crime-fighting. Who would want to continue that sort of life forever? Obviously, Peter Parker’s situation is very different, but it’s not at all difficult to believe that a high school kid would want to get away from anything that feels like a burden.

So when Peter has an opportunity for a European vacation, albeit a school trip with his classmates and friends (more Ned, please!), he wants to leave Spider-Man behind. Make it a real vacation! Get to know Mary Jane better! He can’t be Spidey if the suit is back in Queens, right? Right?

Nick Fury is watching

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Silly Peter! Superheroes don’t get a vacation. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hasn’t gotten to know this kid who was invited by Tony Stark to join the Avengers and gifted some high-tech Spidey gear. (Fury shadowing Peter also introduces a dynamic that was a key part of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and animated series.)

If there’s a threat that Fury wants to take down in London, it’s curious as to why he didn’t utilize Captain America or Iron Man for the job. But this is probably a good time to mention that Far From Home takes place after Avengers: Endgame and we don’t know where that epic leaves those heroes.

For the purposes of this story, however, maybe Fury sees this as an opportunity to see what young Peter Parker is capable of while performing whatever task is needed. He’s the one who probably hooks Spidey up with his new suits (including the all-black stealth costume), as well.

Whoa, is that Sandman?

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Sandman is one of Spider-Man’s classic villains from the earliest Marvel Comics adventures. He did appear in Spider-Man 3 (played by Thomas Haden Church), but was pushed aside once Venom hijacked the story. It sure looks like Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are taking on a new version of Sandman in the trailer, but he’s almost certainly not a big part of the story.

However, it does appear that Sandman is one of three Spidey villains that show up in this film, along with Molten Man and the already rumored Hydro-Man. This is a clever way to work more of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery into these movies (unless you’re disappointed over Sandman not getting his own story), but the appearance of these characters leads to a question regarding the main villain of the piece.

Hello, Mysterio!

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We knew that Jake Gyllenhaal signed on as a villain in the next Spider-Man movie and set photos confirmed that he was playing Mysterio (cheekily referenced by the actor himself on Instagram), another of Spider-Man’s celebrated adversaries. But in arguably the best reveal of the Far From Home trailer, we get our first look at Gyllenhaal as the master illusionist.

With a costume that resembles a warrior from Asgard (and powers like Doctor Strange’s), Mysterio is presumably trying to portray himself as a hero to the masses. (And Peter’s classmates are intrigued, except for bully Flash Thompson.) What’s his motivation? Well, if the script follows comic book storylines, Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck) is a special effects master and stuntman who struck out in Hollywood.

Does he create illusions of Sandman, Molten Man and Hydro-Man to make it appear as if he’s a hero saving the day? It sure looks that way. But maybe it’s more than that, and Beck registered on Fury’s radar somehow with a bigger crime in mind.

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Overall, this is a fun trailer that rewards fans who have been waiting for months to see new Spider-Man action. It’s not a teaser that reveals very little, taking time to explain the story points. Yet it also doesn’t reveal too much, leaving enough questions that will intrigue the audience and invite speculation for months to come.

Where’s Tony Stark? Will there be any repercussions from what happens in Avengers: Endgame? (Obviously, Peter, Fury and Hill all survived — or were brought back from — the events of Infinity War.) What is Mysterio’s deal? Will Peter and Mary Jane start going out? Or Happy and Aunt May? What other new toys will Spidey get to play with?

UPDATE: An international version of the trailer was also released, which includes entirely different footage in the opening 30 seconds. Looks Like Peter didn’t leave the Spidey suit back in Queens, after all. (Hat tip, Slashfilm)

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 5.

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.

6 takeaways from the new Creed II trailer

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With new looks at Mary Poppins, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Bumblebee, it’s been a good couple of weeks for movie trailers. Rumors say we may get X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Hellboy trailers in the next week or two, as well.

(Maybe I should restart the “This Week in Trailers” column I used to write for The Comeback).

Included in that assortment of previews is the latest trailer for Creed II, showing a pumped-up Michael B. Jordan ready to take on a piece of Rocky movie mythology.

My review of Creed from 2015

Do you feel like you’ve worked out enough today after watching that? Are you feeling kind of fat and lazy? (That might just be me.) Maybe you have an urge to watch Rocky IV again and relive Rocky vs. Ivan Drago?

The desert replaces Siberia

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Will we get a training montage? Judging from the trailer, it’ll be more than that. We see several clips of Adonis training in the desert for his titanic bout, replacing the urban setting of Philadelphia.

For one thing, it’s an interesting contrast to the harsh, snowy mountain terrain of Russia where Rocky trained for his fight with Drago. But maybe there are some story reasons for the setting as well. Is Adonis trying to get away from everyone (notably Bianca and their child) to hone his focus? Is he trying to set himself apart from Rocky and chart his own path? Does the desert just look cooler on screen?

Whatever happened to Ivan Drago?

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The offspring of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago facing each other in the ring is the central conflict of Creed II and the big draw for making this sequel. Revenge is such a compelling storyline. But fans of the Rocky series likely also want to know what happened to Drago after losing the Cold War battle in Russia.

It’s easy to imagine that it didn’t go well for the fighter. Perhaps he was exiled to obscure military duty. Maybe the government disowned him entirely, embarrassed by his defeat. What sort of life did he have without the purpose of being the Soviet Union’s greatest champion, without the benefit of those state-of-the-art training facilities (and, since we’re talking about Russia, other performance-enhancing resources)?

An intriguing subplot would be the paths Rocky and Drago have taken during the past 30+ years. At the very least, we’ll get a staredown in the ring between the two fighters-turned-trainers. But hopefully, the script includes something a bit more for some dramatic satisfaction.

Don’t sideline Tessa Thompson

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Tessa Thompson’s role as Bianca in Creed was arguably one of the breakout performances that’s helped her emerge as one of Hollywood’s top young actresses. She was far more than a love interest, portraying a fascinating character with her own career ambitions, dreams which were jeopardized by her increasing hearing loss.

Bianca’s relationship with Adonis has clearly progressed in Creed II, as she’s now the mother of their son. But let’s hope that her character isn’t relegated to being the woman at home worrying about what might happen to her partner. We know what Thompson is capable of after playing Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok and Detroit in Sorry To Bother You. Give her enough to be a dramatic equal to Michael B. Jordan.

Does Rocky still have cancer?

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One of the most compelling storylines of Creed was Rocky Balboa being diagnosed with cancer. The former champ who’s lost everyone he loved — most notably his wife, Adrian — is facing his own mortality.

The scene in which Rocky tells Adonis why he doesn’t want to fight and seek treatment was the shining moment of a performance that should’ve earned Sylvester Stallone an Academy Award. But he’s also inspired by Adonis’s ambition to fight Ricky Conlan and agrees to undergo chemotherapy while continuing to train the younger Creed.

Will Rocky’s cancer still be a part of the story here or will he have gone into remission? Screenwriter Cheo Hodari Coker (showrunner for Marvel’s Luke Cage) and director Steven Caple Jr. surely don’t want to focus too much on Rocky and take the focus away from the title character, but Rocky’s fate is a key story point.

Does Rocky have the movie’s best line?

“He broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed.” Yikes.

The sad third act — or maybe the epilogue — to the Rocky Balboa story is the toll that boxing (and the celebrity that came with it) took on his body and his life. Rocky’s line about Drago underlines that. It’s a warning and cautionary tale to his protege. Who has more to lose here?

“It ain’t worth it,” says Rocky. Will that theme be explored and expanded to Adonis Creed in this movie?

Plenty of workout porn

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Of course, we’ll get a training montage! It’s what helps the Rocky movies live on long past their theatrical and home video releases. We have to see these boxers do crazy things to their bodies, like sprint up snowy mountaintops or lift horse wagons full of rocks — as part of their training regimens.

Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) is no exception, not just whipping battle ropes, but whipping his entire body with them. Who knows what the benefits are — it’s probably great for the shoulders and core — but it sure looks cool. Will Men’s Health or Muscle & Fitness get a cover story on the Creed II workouts?

Creed II enters the ring (or hits theaters) on Nov. 21.

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6 takeaways from the first Captain Marvel trailer: It’s the 90s, she’s from space, and everybody’s younger

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All we needed was a little patience. When Brie Larson and Entertainment Weekly promised to “break the internet" with a big announcement and followed that up with a reveal of an EW cover with 10 photos from the upcoming Captain Marvel film, some fans were a little bit disappointed that we weren’t getting a trailer.

(Put Chris Cox in that group, as we discussed in Episode 4 of the Amusement Park Podcast.)

We just needed to wait about two weeks.

Taking the same path that Marvel typically follows with their movie releases, the studio built anticipation with the EW story before setting its other machinery in motion. With Disney owning ABC, the Captain Marvel trailer was sure to debut on either Good Morning America or Jimmy Kimmel Live.

GMA got the nod, as announced Monday evening.

And ABC’s morning show had an event set up for the trailer’s debut, having Ginger Zee with Brie Larson at Washington D.C.’s National Air and Space Museum, along with a few dozen STEM students. (Hopefully, my little niece was watching. She’s already a great dancer, but get into science, kid!)

Now that we’ve finally gotten a look at Captain Marvel in action, here are some takeaways from the two-minute introduction to Marvel’s first headlining female superhero.

Remember, it’s the 1990s

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The trailer makes it clear right away that the story takes place in the 1990s with Carol Danvers (Larson) crashing through the roof of a Blockbuster Video. Nice nod to the past.

Would it have been too on point to see surveillance video of Danvers crashing through the ceiling, as we’ve seen recently with burglars in convenience stores? Probably.

Shortly thereafter, we get a Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) voiceover explaining that this visitor is a renegade soldier. Is Danvers fleeing the Kree Starforce to which she belongs? That sets up a flurry of story possibilities while possibly establishing the driving plot of the movie.

Captain Marvel goes “Pew Pew!” with her hands!

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Fans of Marvel Comics know what abilities Captain Marvel has. (Super-strength and speed, flight, invulnerability, photon blasts, etc.) But regular moviegoers who don’t know that stuff get a glimpse of the character’s powers with the Captain shooting energy blasts from her hands at an off-screen adversary.

At the very end of the trailer, we see Captain Marvel loading up with plenty of power, presumably ready to be unleashed on a bad guy.

Flashbacks are a big part of the story

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We’ve been told Captain Marvel won’t be an origin story. At least not in a traditional, linear sense, as the trailer demonstrates. “It’s hard to explain,” says Danvers to (a much younger) Nick Fury.

Danvers will experience plenty of flashbacks as her memories come back upon her return to Earth, which will provide us background information on the character, such as her childhood and military experience. Surely, that’s how we’ll find out how Danvers gets her superhuman abilities (which, if the movie follows the comic books, will come from alien DNA).

Oh, that’s why she has no memories

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Were Carol Danvers’ memories erased — or repressed — as part of her programming upon joining the Kree? Maybe discovering that her brain was being tampered with is what compels her to flee from the Kree and return to Earth.

Having her memories hidden would give her something in common with the Winter Soldier. If those memories haven’t been restored in current time, maybe she’ll eventually have to go to Wakanda and have Shuri fix that, just like Bucky did.

Captain Marvel just hit an old lady!

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One of the biggest surprises or most shocking moments of the trailer comes when Danvers (who doesn’t yet appear to be Captain Marvel, judging by the teal color of her uniform) punches an old woman on the subway. That’s not very superheroic!

But the villains of the story are the Skrulls (of which we get a very brief glimpse in this trailer), and comic book fans know that their primary ability is to change their shape and disguise themselves as another life form. So that old lady is probably a Skrull. Let’s hope she is, anyway. Otherwise, Danvers has some explaining to do. Not even Drax would do that. man.

Agent Coulson has hair!

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Again, this story takes place at least 20 years ago, presuming that the current Marvel Cinematic Universe is happening in modern times. That gives Marvel an opportunity to present much younger versions of familiar characters.

We see Nick Fury (with two good eyes) earlier in the trailer, and also get a glimpse of young Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). And since he’s younger, he also has a full head of hair. (Gregg must’ve loved that special effects benefit.)

As mentioned on the podcast, someday we’ll have to rank all of the de-aged Marvel characters we’ve seen on screen, such as Michael Douglas’s Henry Pym, Kurt Russell’s Ego, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne, and Fury and Coulson (or “Son of Coul,” as Thor once called him).

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This first trailer is very much a teaser, not revealing very much. That’s to be expected. Captain Marvel has to be introduced to a wider audience. Plenty of devoted comic book fans might not be entirely familiar with her (I know I’m not) because for most of her Marvel Comics existence, she’s been a C-List character.

(Even Iron Man and Thor were B-List, ranking below the A-List properties Marvel Studios didn’t have, such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men.)

Subsequent trailers and promotional appearances will fill in more blanks and explain more of the story in the months to come. (Hopefully, without too many spoilers.) Marvel doesn’t typically spoil too much, though may feel the need to if the potential audience still isn’t sure what they’re getting. But that wasn’t necessary with Guardians of the Galaxy and it surely won’t be needed here.

Captain Marvel flies into theaters on March 8, 2019.