*SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WAR FOLLOW*
Avengers: Infinity War's come and gone, and while Thanos seemingly got his happy ending after wiping out half the universe, having bested one Captain already, he'd be wise to prepare for the arrival of another.
Audiences will have to wait a whole other year before Brie Larson's Captain Marvel makes her cinematic debut, but if the point somehow hasn't already been made abundantly clear by then that she is, in every sense of the phrase, a truly epic character, her arrival in Avengers 4 will surely do the job. She's one of Marvel's most beloved and most powerful characters, and though that hasn't always manifested on the page quite the way readers would've hoped, it's fair to say that Carol Danvers' most recent years have been the character's best.
Since her introduction in 1968, Carol Danvers has undergone a whole host of different changes. First she was Ms. Marvel, then she was Binary, and after that came Warbird before writers finally settled on Captain Marvel in 2012. Said year also ushered in a new era for the character, as Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jamie McKelvie revitalised Danvers with a new look and direction, placing her at the forefront of the Marvel Universe and - though they didn't perhaps know it at the time - Marvel Studios' plans for the MCU.
It's a debut decades in the making, and one the Mad Titan won't be looking forward to in the slightest...
When it comes to the MCU there isn't exactly a shortage of leaders. Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, T'Challa, Star Lord and Nick Fury are all characters who spring to mind as filling that niche, but while their boots have been firmly stuck to the ground in their own respective corners of the galaxy, Carol's been there, done that, and genuinely bought the T-shirt when it comes to all of them.
No other character in the franchise has straddled both the cosmic and earthly dimensions of the MCU, and while it's true that Danvers has been AWOL for some time now (for what reason we do not know), it's likely that her return to Earth will come on the back of years' worth of experience in the cosmic corners of the galaxy.
That in itself gives the character a special authority in the fight against Thanos, but it's her military past that raises another interesting dynamic.
Carol Danvers, like Steve Rogers and James Rhodes, is a soldier. Her experience as a USAF fighter pilot has informed her decisions her entire life, and when you factor that into her experiences as one of the most powerful heroes in the galaxy, it's easy to see why she'd become the unifying figure in Avengers 4, as the hero who rallies the cosmos against the devastating effects of Thanos' snap.