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Time travel has long been speculated to play a part in Avengers: Endgame, and there's been some pretty convincing evidence that's shown it most likely will. Samuel L. Jackson is the latest to give more evidence to that theory, but it's what he added alongside it that has us worried. According to Jackson, Captain Marvel can time travel, which has us asking a lot of questions and wondering what exactly this means for the MCU.
First off, time travel is not an ability that Captain Marvel has in the comics. She may be an alien, but she's no Time Lord nor does she have a TARDIS to pilot her through time and space. It's possible Captain Marvel will address this previously unknown ability, and hopefully shed some light on what Samuel L. Jackson meant. Perhaps there's some sort of alien technology she can utilize or a top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. device she snagged in the '90s.
The 'how' is really only part of the reason I'm worried, however, as Captain Marvel's ability to time travel allows for the most annoying plothole in storytelling history to rear its head. Of course, we're talking about the time travel theory in which the audience is forced to ask why the character time-travelled to a specific time, and not well before that date to ensure events that transpired never came to pass.
That may be unavoidable at this point, as it looks all but assured Avengers: Endgame will travel to the past, but having it be Carol specifically makes it somewhat troublesome. Is the MCU's newest hero about to become the equivalent of Harry Potter's "time-turner" where Marvel will just have to act like every situation that's come to pass couldn't have been fixed if Captain Marvel would just travel back in time to fix it?
That may not sound like a huge deal to everyone, but to the fanbase who spotted the Spider-Man: Homecoming timeline error, it would be a thing. Granted, if Captain Marvel explicitly laid out the parameters in which time travel is possible, it may not even be that big of a deal. Perhaps there's a "you only get one" deal, and Nick Fury just enabled it with the message he sent with the pager.
Now, there is another way to interpret Samuel L. Jackson's recent quote, and taking things this way would remove some of the worry previously stated about Captain Marvel's ability to time travel. Jackson said Carol is one of the few people in the Marvel universe who can time travel. This means that Captain Marvel may not actually have the ability to time travel, but rather some specific attributes someone needs to be able to accomplish that feat.
The key word is "few," meaning there are more people other than Captain Marvel who are capable of time travel. If time travel is a factor in Avengers: Endgame, Carol might be one of a few individuals who can physically handle the process, which might be what Samuel L. Jackson was saying. If Danvers is the bar, she might not have a lot of heroes to accompany her in trips to the past or future.
Which really, doesn't do a lot to help the Avengers. Carol Danvers is strong, but unless she's taking an MCU superfan with her on her journey, she presumably knows next to nothing about what's been happening in the past decade. How will she know what to do, who's important and what events shouldn't be changed?
Also, how does someone like Captain Marvel manage to travel into the past and not be noticed? Tony Stark was able to find out Spider-Man's identity despite him being a complete stranger, but completely missed the Human-Kree hybrid slinking around in the midst of their most tiresome battles? It's a little hard to believe, especially in the case of someone as powerful as Danvers.
This is why I'm hoping that if Carol Danvers is time-traveling in Avengers: Endgame, she won't travel to events that she wasn't previously at. It's easier to believe the original Avengers lineup could foreseeably hang out unnoticed at past events, but not entirely new characters who weren't even a part of the MCU at the time. Putting her in means potentially changing the MCU timeline permanently and changing everything as we know it.
Admittedly, if that's the entire point and the Marvel timeline will change in order to usher in Phase 4, then Carol Danvers appearing in previously shown Marvel moments is a big deal. It's only a real problem if Marvel's trying to stick to the 'do no harm' method of time travel, and given they're trying to prevent a present in which half the population was erased, they're probably not traveling to achieve the same effect.
Here's a crazy thought: what if time travel is the reason why Captain Marvel hasn't been around the MCU? For example, what if something transpires at the end of Captain Marvel that results in the hero becoming lost in time for the past two decades? With no idea of where to go, she's adrift in space until Nick Fury's insanely powerful pager reaches her through time and space.
It's possible, but it could just be Carol was off-world and unconcerned with what's been happening on Earth in her absence. She could also be hiding out on Earth incognito and has quietly been working behind the scenes. After all, everyone assumes that pager has some high-tech special attributes when it's far more logical to believe it's just a normal pager!
Really, the big worry I have with the revelation that Captain Marvel can time travel is that it's an unexpected reveal. After months of speculating on the Quantum Realm and B.A.R.F., to hear time travel will be involved with a character who will only officially be introduced just a little under two months before Avengers: Endgame is disconcerting. Of course, Marvel has managed to make many complicated arcs and stories work thus far, so there's no reason to doubt the studio now.
The details of Carol Danvers' previously unknown time travel abilities may emerge in Captain Marvel, which premieres March 8, or they could possibly wait until Avengers: Endgame on April 26. For more Avengers: Endgame speculation, check out the latest rumor involving Loki and how it could fundamentally change the MCU going forward.