It’s time to talk about the tesseract in the room, because Captain Marvel has one. If you thought we were done with the Infinity Stones because we saw them all collected together on the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War, you’d be wrong. The big “thing” that Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers/Vers is trying to get all throughout the movie is, quite surprisingly, the tesseract — that glowing, sometimes floating, blue all-powerful cube that we’ve seen in a handful of Marvel movies before it. It’s an interesting twist that suddenly appears in the later half of the movie, and it’s an interesting twist mostly because it might leave you scratching your head, trying to figure out the tesseract continuity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which has been thrown for a loop. Thanks to the tesseract’s surprising cameo, everything’s now a little bit messy.
Captain Marvel is set in 1995, pushing us back roughly 20 years in the MCU. This is before Nick Fury ever showed up in Tony Stark’s mansion teasing something called the “Avengers Initiative.” The story is somewhat of a prequel for the MCU, and very much an origin story for Fury, as he and Captain Marvel team up to save the day and take down at first the Skrulls, and finally, the Kree. Unbeknownst to literally everyone on Earth, there’s a Kree among them (Annette Bening’s Mar-Vell) and she’s created something so powerful the Kree want it for themselves to wipe out the Skrulls, and the Skrulls want it to flee the Kree once and for all and escape their persecution. Confusing? Yes. And it gets even more confusing because this “thing” Mar-Vell has hidden away in a downed fighter pilot is the tesseract.
What Is The Tesseract Being Used For In Captain Marvel?
Mar-Vel was using the tesseract in a supersonic jet, that she then had Carol Danvers fly around on Earth... until it crashed (and then exploded, and while it was exploding it managed to give Carol powers, while also wiping out her memory). The Skrulls want it because they’re trying to escape the Kree so they can transport themselves across the galaxy to live in peace. The Kree want it because, for lack of a better phrase, they suck and are trying to kill all the Skrulls. The Kree are fighting the Skrulls just to fight the Skrulls. In short, one alien race will use the tesseract for good, the other for bad.
Refresh My Memory, Where Have We Seen The Tesseract Before?
This Infinity Stone first made an appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, and then again in The Avengers. First, Red Skull wanted it, and Cap stopped him. The tesseract plunged into the ice with Captain America towards the end of the movie, but eventually it was found and made its way to S.H.I.E.LD., to be studied by Thor’s Erik Selvig. Later in The Avengers, Loki stole the tesseract. The Avengers managed to stop Loki from using the tesseract at full force, and sent it back to Asgard (where it originated). The tesseract was then name dropped in Thor: The Dark World, and appeared in Thor: Ragnarok where Loki stole it once again from Odin’s vault. Thanos then took the tesseract in Infinity War and used it in his Infinity Gauntlet.
Is Captain Marvel’s Tesseract The Same Tesseract?
If it looks like a tesseract, and glows like a tesseract, and has power like a tesseract, it’s safe to say it’s a tesseract. As far as we know, there is only one tesseract in existence, and this is that tesseract. If there are two, doesn’t that kind of throw of Thanos’ grand plan to collect ‘em all? There’s never been mention of a second, which means the one Mar-Vel is using is the same one that’s been around the galaxy multiple times.
So How Did Mar-Vell Get The Tesseract?
Good question! That story is clearly going to be one saved for another day (or a sequel) as we have literally no idea how Mar-Vell got the tesseract. But, she’s got it, and she’s using it, and now the Kree and the Skrull want it.
But Really... How Did She Get It?
How Mar-Vell came to acquire the tesseract is anyone’s guess right now. At the end of First Avenger, we saw it plunge into the ocean with Captain America, where it was frozen — but it wasn’t frozen the same length of time as Cap. While looking for Steve Rogers, Howard Stark found the tesseract on the bottom of the ocean. He then did his own tesseract experiments on it before eventually turning it over to S.H.I.E.L.D. to study, and that’s how S.H.I.E.L.D. has it at the beginning of The Avengers.
Captain Marvel is now suggesting that sometime between Howard Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. — or the events of First Avenger and Avengers — Mar-Vell was in possession of the tesseract and was using it for her own purposes.
Does This Mean Mar-Vell Was Working With S.H.I.E.L.D.?
That’s unclear at this time. Nick Fury and Agent Coulson are just as surprised as everyone else in regards to Mar-Vell, the Kree, and the tesseract.
Where’s The Tesseract Now?
At the end of the movie, Nick Fury says that the tesseract is safe, and the final end credit scene of the movie shows Goose the Cat coughing up the tesseract like a hairball. So now our tesseract timeline is: first First Avenger, second Captain Marvel, third The Avengers. Who knows where the tesseract might pop up next!