Captain Marvel is on her way to a massive comeback within the Marvel Cinematic Universe in The Marvels, which will debut in theaters next July. Although this will be her second Phase 4 appearance after 2021's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it will be her first leading role since she teamed up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes since Avengers: Endgame.
The heroine played a huge role in Endgame's final battle as she laid the smackdown on Thanos and tried to get the Infinity Gauntlet, which has already been revisited in Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel on Disney+. While there was no holding back on her powers as she took down Thanos' ship in one fell swoop, she came up with a noticeable change in appearance that was seen even before she came back to Earth.
When she attended the virtual meeting with Black Widow, War Machine, Okoye, Nebula, and Rocket, Carol Danvers was sporting a new shorter haircut - one she also had when she came back for the final battle.
Now, while the reasoning behind that change in hairstyle is still unconfirmed, a new fan theory might offer a plausible reason for the choice - even though it's a heartwrenching idea.
Sad Fan Theory Explains Captain Marvel's Short Hair
Reddit user u/CosmicBlooded shared a theory about why Carol Danvers cut her hair short in Avengers: Endgame.
In 2018 in the MCU, Carol Danvers still had the long hair that she sported in Captain Marvel when she came to Earth to answer the call from Nick Fury's pager.
Following the five-year gap after Thanos' Snap in Avengers: Infinity War, Carol returned in Avengers: Endgame with a short pixie cut, changing her look drastically from the beginning of the film.
She had this hairstyle during her meeting with the remaining Avengers and when she came in to take down Thanos' ship during the film's epic climactic battle.
However, Carol later returned to her usual longer hairstyle as of the mid-credits scene from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where she met with Shang-Chi, Katy, Wong, and Bruce Banner.
So why did Carol decide to go with this look for that short period of time? The answer may tie back to her best friend, Lashanna Lynch's Maria Rambeau.
Their friendship was a driving theme throughout Captain Marvel after Maria was introduced, and her legacy in the MCU sheds some important details about why Carol made the choice she did with her haircut.
2021's WandaVision revealed that Maria had passed away in 2020, which was two years after Thanos snapped away half of all life in the universe and three years before the Hulk brought everybody back. This information came as soon as Monica Rambeau returned from The Blip to the hospital that was looking after her mother before Maria died of cancer.
This theory notes how Carol likely knew about Maria's cancer diagnosis in 2018 after coming back to Earth when Monica had already disappeared. Then, the cancer came back more vigorously over the next two years and killed Maria, possibly leading Carol to want to honor her fallen friend.
It's possible that Carol wanted to cut her hair shorter in solidarity with her friend as Maria battled cancer and went through chemotherapy. Then, following Maria's death, Carol either could have kept that hairstyle to honor Maria's memory, or she may have ended up liking how her hair looked and felt when it was short and decided to keep it going for herself.
Carol Honors Maria With Short Cut in Endgame
When Carol Danvers returned to Earth in Captain Marvel, her friendship with Maria Rambeau was a big part of what helped her remember the life she had as an Air Force pilot. It's not exactly clear how far their friendship goes back, even though it would have been long before 1989 with how close Carol was to Monica already, and it's clear that these bonds still meant the world to her.
That friendship was seemingly so important to Carol that she changed a look that she'd kept for most of her life to stand with Maria in her most desperate hour, fighting what would be an unwinnable fight. Additionally, having likely only found out about her cancer when she returned to Earth had to be a difficult thing to deal with, that would be even more reason for Carol to do something like that to honor her friend.
Looking at Carol's time in Endgame could also explain why she was so irritated with Rocket Raccoon during their meeting when he snidely asked if she was gonna get another haircut in her absence. Even with tensions already running high, Rocket's sarcasm cut deep for Carol, and having to reminisce on why she got her hair cut in the first place surely could have opened a hurtful wound.
Moving forward, the big question will be how Maria's death impacts Carol in future projects, especially with there being unquestionable tension built up already between Carol and Monica. WandaVision teased how tense that new relationship will be when they meet up once more, and it will certainly be a driving emotional force throughout Carol's solo sequels.
The Marvels will debut in theaters on July 28, 2023. Captain Marvel and all nine episodes of WandaVision are available to stream on Disney+.