Toward the end of the new Captain Marvel trailer that dropped on Tuesday, Nick Fury (played by a de-aged Samuel L. Jackson) declares, “We have no idea what threats are out there.” When the young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent says this, two very important images flash across the screen: the first offers a fleeting glimpse of the Skrull leader Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn, and the second features Brie Larson‘s titular hero punching a nice, smiling old lady right in the face. I mean, she slugs her so hard, you can almost see what looks like computer-animated spit (or alien blood) fly out of her mouth and nose right after the punch occurs.
It’s a somewhat unsettling moment, but the punch in question is probably far more than yet another allusion to the ’90s in the trailer for what Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and company are billing as a period piece. First, let’s consider the film’s official logline:
Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
Second, look at the “two alien races” in question are Mendelsohn’s Skrull and the Kree, the latter of which played a prominent role in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Kree Empire served as a somewhat antagonistic force to the Xandarians, though Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) were the obvious villains. Seeing as how Captain Marvel takes place decades before the events depicted in Guardians, Pace and Hounsou are back, albeit with far less antagonism, as it belongs here to the Skrull.
“Okay,” you’re probably thinking. “What does this second point have to do with anything?” Well, the Skrull are well known in Marvel Comics as an alien race of shapeshifters. They have repeatedly tried to invade earth in secret, even going so far as to replace members of the Avengers with their own. Since Captain Marvel predates Phase One, however, Talos and his allies will instead be attempting to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and other prominent organizations throughout the globe. And according to the trailer, both the Skrulls and Danvers crashland on earth, so the old lady on the bus was probably one of their soldiers trying to hide from the hero.
That, or she really likes Will Smith movies.