Captain Marvel is playing in theaters as we speak, having had a monster release weekend a few days ago and getting ready to dominate the box office for at least one more week. The film brought us several answers to some of the questions we had after Infinity War, raising several others in the process. The most important topic concerns Captain Marvel’s whereabouts. What has she been up to for the last 25 years and why we haven’t seen her join the Avengers in any of the previous MCU films?

We do know that Marvel is exploring ideas for Captain Marvel sequels set both in the 1990s and in the present day. But there is a crucial detail many of us ignored so far, and it suggests that Carol Danvers actually did return to Earth after the events we just saw in Captain Marvel. Or, in the worst case, she’s been keeping close tabs on her home planet. Before we go any further, you should know that some spoilers will follow below, and you should probably bookmark this post to read later if you haven’t already seen Captain Marvel.

A few days before Captain Marvel hit theaters, Marvel fans were rewarded with the scenes they were dying to see, the post-credits clips that we all expected to tie Captain Marvel to other Avengers movies, including Infinity War and especially Endgame. We then learned exactly why Nick Fury waited so long to page Captain Marvel, since Marvel addressed those questions. Fury might have indeed called upon his friend in the past, but she didn’t answer any of those calls. That didn’t stop him for chasing that pager down almost 25 years after the events in Captain Marvel and sending out a distress signal in Infinity War before the snap turned him to dust.

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Just because Kevin Feige hinted that Fury might have tried to reach Captain Marvel in the past will not stop fans from concocting theories on Reddit, and Cap253 believes that Fury never pressed that button.

Captain Marvel instructed Fury that the modified pager is only to be used for emergencies, telling him that it has a range of a few galaxies. One reason why Fury may not have thought of Captain Marvel in New York or Sokovia is that she may have been out of reach, the theory says. It’s unclear, however, how Fury would have known that or whether the pager provides any info regarding Captain Marvel’s location.

But fans are forgetting about an unexpected gift from Disney last week, something that not even Marvel execs or Captain Marvel actors would address in comments about the newest movie. And that brings me to my own theory about Captain Marvel’s mysterious past.

Disney showed footage from the unreleased Avengers 4 movie during its recent shareholders meeting, and it quickly leaked online. We don’t have the actual clip, but at least one person gave us not one, but two detailed descriptions of what happens in the scene that was previewed.

We learned that almost every Avenger who is still alive after the snap will go after Thanos. Rocket spotted an energy signature on a planet far away that resembles the energy signature of the snap, and Nebula knows where the planet might be. Captain Marvel is eager to go after Thanos, and everyone else wants in — though Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Hawkeye are all conspicuously absent. And so they take off on the Benatar to chase the Titan.

While talking about this attack on Thanos, they also address the fact they could have used Captain Marvel before, and here’s where the gem that’s relevant to her past comes out:

Captain Marvel tells Rhodey and the gang that there are a lot of planets out there that need help and they don’t have Avengers like Earth does.

Think about that for a second. How would she have known about the Avengers? She’ll probably meet most of them in person for the first time in Endgame. But her reply to Rhodey seems to indicate that she’s learned of their existence long before the events that are about to unfold in Endgame. That means she either visited Earth in some capacity since Fury created his Avengers project, or someone else told her about these heroes who keep defending Earth. And if she visited Earth, then she must have done it at some point after the Avengers initiative took shape, which is when the planet learned about this influential group of people ready to defend Earth against intergalactic threats.

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What if she answered Fury’s call before, but she was too late? By the time she returned home, there was nobody to help because the Avengers had just handled business for her. That’s how she may have learned about them. And that’s how she may have concluded that the Earth has what it takes to defend itself.

The simpler explanation would be that someone else told her about the Avengers, but who would that person or persons be, considering that the Avengers have acted as defenders of Earth in the previous movies? They’re famous on Earth, and Thanos is aware of Iron Man. But not many others are as interested in Earth or the Avengers out there in space.

Also, it’s unlikely that Captain Marvel finds out about the Avengers for the first time during Endgame. If that were the case, she probably wouldn’t give Rhodey the same answer. You can’t say you haven’t been here to help Earth because Earth had the Avengers minutes after finding out these Avengers exist. It wouldn’t even be a good excuse anyway, because Thanos won the fight against these mighty heroes, which proves they needed her help. Carol’s response seems to indicate she was aware of the Avengers initiative and she had a lot of faith that Fury’s Avengers would be strong enough to face all sorts of enemies.  Knowing all that, she found it easier to march on to less fortunate planets.