The Marvels’ mid-credits scene folds X-Men into an unprepared MCU

The release of a new Marvel movie means at least one more mid- or post-credits scene setting up the franchise’s future, and The Marvels is no different. And just like the rest of the films leading up to the announced Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and the multiversal Secret Wars, there’s a lot going on in the scene.

At the end of The Marvels, Monica Rambeau made the ultimate sacrifice, sealing a rift in the walls between universes but leaving herself stranded on the other side. And in a scene midway through the credits, we check back in with Captain Rambeau, in a hospital bed in a mysterious location. In the chair next to Monica is a woman who looks like her mother, Maria, but swears she’s never met Monica in her life. And across the room is a blue, hairy man in a lab coat referring to a guy named Charles, telling Monica that she was picked up after she crossed through a tear in spacetime.

Monica appears to have arrived in a universe where the X-Men exist — Doctor Hirsute Fursuit over there is Hank McCoy, aka the Beast, voiced by Kelsey Grammer, who played the character in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, and the Charles he is referring to is, presumably, Charles Xavier, Professor X.

A final shot in the scene reveals the costume that this mysterious version of Maria Rambeau is wearing: the red-and-white duds and twin-star emblem of the Marvel Comics superhero Binary.

Is Maria Rambeau Binary in Marvel Comics?

Carol in an early appearance as Binary.

Nope! Maria Rambeau does exist in Marvel Comics — but she’s not close with Carol Danvers and has made very few appearances. Making her Binary is really a combination comics and movie reference.

Binary is an old alternate codename of Carol Danvers’ from the early 1980s, a reference to her ability to absorb and produce literally astronomical amounts of energy. What does Maria Rambeau have to do with Captain Marvel?

Well, Maria Rambeau is played by Lashana Lynch. And in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we visited a parallel world where Lynch played a parallel version of Captain Marvel. Taken together, it seems to imply that in the MCU, it was a very close thing that Carol Danvers got superpowers and Maria Rambeau didn’t — it seems like it’s pretty easy to find universes in which Maria became Captain Marvel instead.

In the universe that Monica finds herself in at the end of The Marvels, Maria appears to have gone through a Carol Danvers-like transition to Binary, mirroring Carol’s Marvel Comics history.

So is this the same parallel earth that Doctor Strange visited in Multiverse of Madness?

It doesn’t seem like it. In that universe, Maria Rambeau and Charles Xavier were both killed by the Scarlet Witch. So unless there’s also time travel going on here, with Monica arriving before the events of Multiverse of Madness, it’s probably just a different parallel world. Occam’s razor applies even in the most sci-fi of situations.

What does this mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future?

I wish I could tell you that there’s an X-Men or Binary movie on the way that promises to pick up where this scene leaves off… but as of The Marvels’ release, there isn’t! Marvel Studios has only just begun its search for a writer for its X-Men movie, and is reportedly not in a rush, given that no such movie has been formally announced or given a release date.

What we do know about what Marvel is gearing up for is some kind of big multiversal smash with Kang (maybe?) in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. So it’s likely that’s where all this is leading: Set up Monica and her energy powers so she’s ready when she’s needed for a bigger multiverse adventure.

Even though this is the second connection that the Captain Marvel umbrella has made to the X-Men in the MCU — after Kamala Khan became the MCU’s first confirmed mutant — don’t expect this all to connect up to an X-Men movie right away. We’ve gotta get through the Kang Wars first.

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