The Cat In Captain Marvel Isn't Really A Cat. So What TF Is A Flerken?

Photo: courtesy of Marvel Pictures.
Warning: Captain Marvel spoilers are ahead. There are so many things to love about Captain Marvel, but all the internet has been talking about in the weeks leading up to the film’s release is Goose, Captain Marvel's adorable orange cat has been featured in all the marketing for Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, and for good reason. He’s super cute! He’s super loving! And he got hundreds of thousands of people to wait around for all the credits just to watch him cough up a hairball (with the Tesseract inside of it, but still)! That’s some serious star power. But now that you’ve seen the movie, you probably have some questions about Goose; namely, what the hell is a Flerken and why did a cuddly cat shoot tentacles out of his mouth and eat several Kree aliens?
For those who haven’t read the comics from which Captain Marvel’s story and characters are based, the idea of Talos, the leader of the Skrulls, acting terrified of a cat may have seemed ridiculous during the middle of the movie. But in the climax, when Goose shot large tentacles out of his mouth to swallow the Tesseract, it all started to make sense. This was no ordinary cat, and there’s actually a lot of source material in the comics explaining exactly what’s going on with this weird cat-octopus hybrid creature.
So No, Goose Is Not A Real Cat
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Goose is a Flerken, a fictional alien creature that resembles an ordinary house cat in appearance and behavior, with only a few minor (and yet totally major) differences. At first glance, you, like Nick Fury, would have no idea that the fluffy, purring pet isn’t just a regular cat. But upon closer inspection, when it starts laying eggs (up to 117 at one time!) and reveals the “myriad” of tentacles that can extend from their mouths, you start to get the idea that you don’t want to get on a Flerken’s bad side.
The Flerken Has Something Called "Pocket Realities"
And here’s where it gets weird — er, even weirder: a Flerken’s body also possesses “pocket realities,” which are bubbles of space and time that exist in other worlds. They can actually store entire universes in their mouths, and they can travel interdimensionally. It’s not easy (or clean), but it’s possible.
How Do You Stop A Flerken? They Seem... Impossible To Manage
Who knew Goose could do so much?! Well, apparently Talos and the Kree did. During Captain Marvel’s big space fight, when the Kree soldiers rounded up Fury, Maria Rambeau and Goose, their scans of Goose revealed that he was a Flerken and they instantly put a little muzzle on him. That’s the only weakness that Flerkens have: when muzzled, they’re immediately helpless. Thankfully Fury knew exactly what to do when they got free: take the muzzle off of Goose and let him do his tentacle-y thing!
Is Goose A Flerken From The Comics?
While Goose technically isn’t in the comics, his species comes directly from the Marvel source material and Goose is actually a stand-in for Captain Marvel’s cat/Flerken from the comics named Chewie. In fact, Rocket Raccoon once tried to kill Chewie because he thought he was a Flerken (and he proved to be right later when Chewie laid a bunch of eggs, but still: don’t touch Captain Marvel’s pet). So while Goose was a character specifically created for the Captain Marvel film (a little Top Gun reference, too), there’s still a lot more fun and exciting stories about Flerkens in the comics that fans can dive into, so get reading.

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