Warning: This article includes some Captain Marvel spoilers.
Best friends who save the world together, stay together — no matter where they might be in the galaxy. Captain Marvel introduces us to the best female friendship we’ve ever seen in in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau. They’re hotshot female fighter pilots forging their way through the patriarchy that’s trying to keep them down and out of combat. Their relationship is central to the story, as Maria (and her daughter, Monica) works as a sort of anchor to keep Vers stable as she tries to remember her past life as Carol Danvers on Earth. But, while this relationship is amazing to see onscreen, it’s not one that’s found in the comics.
But! Don’t go thinking it’s because Carol and Maria don’t get along in any Marvel comics where they’re featured – they simply don’t overlap in the comics to begin with. That’s mostly due to the fact that originally, the comics feature Maria’s daughter, Monica, as Captain Marvel. Monica is the second Captain Marvel, after the first to take on the name, Mar-Vell. For comparison, Carol Danvers, the Captain Marvel we’re focusing on now, is actually the sixth to take on the moniker.
However, who was first or sixth to play Captain Marvel is neither here nor there right now. But, that’s just one of the many differences that we see from page to screen with the characters.
Carol & Maria Aren’t Friends In The Comics
Once again, this isn’t because they don’t like each other. Rather, it’s because there’s an age difference between them. Carol and Monica are actually closer in age, and semi-friendly in the comics — even though Carol did technically steal Monica’s name.
Which Means Carol & Maria Aren’t Fighter Pilots Together
That female-friendship and bonding that we see between the ladies while they’re training together on the air force base? It’s sadly something solely found in the Captain Marvel movie. In the comics, Maria works as a seamstress in New Orleans. Also gone in the comics for both Maria and Monica is the air force. Monica still works for the government, but with the harbor patrol.
But, Their Codenames Stay The Same
The biggest nod, and bridge, between the Maria we see on screen and the comics lies with her callsign in the air force. Though it’s never actually discussed, in Vers’ flashbacks to her time on Earth as Carol, we see Maria climb into her fighter plane. On the side is written “Maria ‘Photon’ Rambeau.” When Monica relinquishes the title of Captain Marvel in the comics, she becomes Photon. Is this maybe teasing that one of these two will use the name as an Avenger? More than likely when we head into Phase Four of the MCU, one of the two Rambeau women will become Photon.
What’s Next For Carol & Maria?
With Maria (and also Monica’s) background created for Captain Marvel, anything is possible for the two of them going forward. Nick Fury tells Maria that he’s always looking for capable pilots, and suggests that she join S.H.I.E.L.D., an offer she seems to consider. Monica also seems to be pretty keen on leaving the ground, after forming a friendship with Talos’ child, and watching Carol take off for the cosmos. Monica even mentions that she’d one day like to fly, too, suggesting that she might become a pilot herself — or even Captain Marvel.