Marvel Studios is pushing its cinematic universe in a bold new direction with genre-defying streaming series WandaVision, which also sets up some major new players for the blockbuster stories to come.
Case in point: Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), first introduced as a young girl in the '90s-set Captain Marvel, re-emerges in the comedy-thriller as an adult and a senior figure in security agency SWORD, who seems to have gained some strange new abilities in the latest episodes of the Disney Plus series.
Not only does she play a key role across the nine-episode show, but the character is confirmed to be making the jump to the big screen next year – and fans are certain that WandaVision is already laying the groundwork.
Photon in WandaVision explained
In the comic books, Monica herself has formidable super powers, boasting the ability to wield powerful energy blasts and travel at incredible speeds, among other things.
She developed these abilities after being exposed to extra-dimensional energy and chose to use her gifts for good, taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel (a different version to Carol and the comics' original Mar-Vell) and later going by the codename Photon.
And after WandaVision's seventh episode, it seems to have been confirmed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Monica is going down the same route. After previous episodes had hinted that Monica's cellular structure had been rewritten by her journey in and out of the WestView anomaly, episode seven pushed things even further, with another trip into the Hex changing Monica more noticeably.
After pushing through the barrier (with a little mental help from her mother and Brie Larson's Captain Marvel from her memories) Monica emerges with glowing eyes, and the apparent ability to see energy fields across the electromagnetic spectrum (which ties into Photon's comic-book abilities). Monica also now appears to be able to resist the form-changing magic of Westview, which could imply that like her comic-book counterpart she's now made of energy rather than matter.
Similarly, while facing off with Wanda later on Monica able to resist the latter's reality-warping powers, and while we don't see any other abilities (like flying, energy blasts and the like) it's a promising start for fans hoping to see her become Photon properly.
As for why she'd take on that particular identity, well, a scene in WandaVision set at the SWORD headquarters in episode four reminds us that Monica's mother, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), went by the codename Photon during her days as a fighter pilot.
Therefore, if Monica were to develop superhuman abilities, it would make sense that she would wish to adopt this title as a way of honouring her mother's memory.
Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel
Monica's newfound powers might explain why the character is confirmed to appear in the upcoming Captain Marvel 2. After all, it would make sense for Monica to ask for help mastering her new abilities from the cosmic superhero she has known and trusted since childhood.
However, it seems unlikely that she will be inheriting the mantle of Captain Marvel in the MCU anytime soon as Brie Larson has only just started her tenure in the role.
In the comic books, Monica took on the name at a time when it was vacant following the death of Kree warrior Mar-Vell, while Carol Danvers was then using the superhero alias Ms Marvel (which Kamala Khan would later adopt – yes, it's confusing).
Still, whether or not she actually becomes Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau is all but guaranteed to be a major figure in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so pay close attention and watch out for more easter eggs.
Want more WandaVision content? Check out our latest WandaVision review, our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness, the Darkhold and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask: When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?
WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.
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