Superheroes rarely if ever truly die in the comics. Even the highly publicized Death of Superman from the early 1990s wasn’t enough to keep the Man of Steel down forever. However, there’s another form of “death” besides the norm — losing your powers.
A superhero losing their powers is often the ultimate crisis because the hero is vulnerable and is not accustomed to operating that way. The crisis would be especially acute for Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, because she’s touted as the MCU’s most powerful hero.
How did Captain Marvel get her powers?
Since the movie Captain Marvel was more than a year ago, a refresher is in order. Since the discussion of her losing her powers came up in an MCU Reddit thread, it’s best to stick to the film version of her origin.
When we first meet Captain Marvel, that’s not her name. She’s called Vers and she suffers from recurring nightmares while she’s also working for the Kree, an alien race.
A mission she’s on goes sideways, and she ends up crash-landing on Earth in the 90s. We know it’s the 90s because she crashes through the roof of a Blockbuster Video.
Once there, she hooks up with Nick Fury of SHIELD and begins to piece together a past she can’t completely remember. To make a long story short, Vers was short for Carol Danvers, who was an air force pilot presumed dead after a crash.
She had been testing an experimental engine powered by the Tesseract, the same object that caused a lot of trouble in the original Avengers. Danvers destroyed the engine to prevent it from falling into enemy hands and absorbed the energy of the Tesseract. A superhero was born, if not fully formed.
What if Captain Marvel lost her powers?
On the Reddit forum, fans were theorizing what would happen to specific MCU characters in the future. The topic-starter guessed that Black Panther would die, that Doctor Strange would retire, and that Captain Marvel would lose her powers.
Such an arc would bring Carol Danvers full circle, with her presumably becoming an ordinary human again. But how would her fate play out?
One fan guessed, “Some threat has successfully crippled the Sun. Causing immense tragedy on earth. CM sacrifices herself to restart the Sun and save the earth. Another fan theorized, “I wouldn’t say Carol loses her powers I’d say it will be more of a passing of the mantle kind of thing as in she passes it on to Maria (Rambeau, her best friend.)”
That last theory has some weight to it because Maria’s daughter Monica Rambeau figures into the WandaVision series somehow. More to the point, one of the WandaVision writers has been assigned to write the Captain Marvel sequel, which is due to hit theaters in 2022.
Sometimes being too powerful is a problem
Losing powers is a plot point that has popped up in the story of pretty much every superhero with powers. It’s a natural source of conflict: Take away the thing that makes you work and watch the dominoes fall.
When a hero’s powers are all-encompassing, like Superman’s or Captain Marvel’s, sometimes holding the powers back or delaying the hero’s appearance is a way for writers to avoid leaning on a particular hero so they can solve any problem.
This was why Captain Marvel turned out not to be the key to defeating Thanos, as many fans presumed she would be. That’s why her late-breaking re-entrance in Endgame, when she slices through Thanos’ ship, was so dramatic.
Some fans were still disappointed that Captain Marvel didn’t play a large role in Endgame, but how she appears next will be intriguing. Marvel Studios has already declared her sequel will not take place in the 90s, but Marvel is starting to lean toward more “cosmic” stories with The Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder all on the way.