Captain Marvel is set back in the 1990s, giving it the perfect opportunity to act as something of a prequel to the MCU as we know it. It’ll definitely capitalize on this in some major ways, too – chiefly, depicting how Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury went from lowly desk jockey to uber-cool head of S.H.I.E.L.D. The film will also find places for returning characters like Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou).
Not only that, but the latest tease from exec producer Jonathan Schwartz hints that a major organization from the Marvel universe may also come into play in the narrative as well. When speaking with Collider, Schwartz was asked if HYDRA – the sinister secret society that was the brains behind S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades – would appear in Captain Marvel, and while he maintained that fans shouldn’t expect a lot from them, he did say that they’re definitely hanging around somewhere.
“I wouldn’t go into this movie expecting a bit of Hydra plot, I think because the Skrulls kind of get to be their own thing. But if you remember your Marvel history, they’re definitely there.”
This makes sense given what we know about the storyline. As said above, both Fury and Coulson will feature prominently in the movie, so we should be getting a fair amount of S.H.I.E.L.D. screentime. Given the massive revelations of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, CM can have some fun by foreshadowing the later twist that HYDRA was operating through the spy organization all along.
Like Schwartz says, though, don’t expect a big focus on HYDRA, as Captain Marvel and her allies with have their hands full with a different kind of enemy hiding in plain sight – the alien, shapeshifting Skrulls. The trailers have already proven that the Skrulls can morph into even the most innocent-looking of people – see: that old lady on a train that Carol unceremoniously decks – so they should be enough of a problem without throwing HYDRA into the equation as well.