One of the most jaw-dropping reveals in any MCU post-credits scene happened at the end of The Marvels. We learned that Monica Rambeau, after fixing a tear in the fabric of spacetime, gets trapped in a parallel universe. She awakens to find what she thinks is her deceased mother, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), at her bedside in a medical facility. But it’s not just any medical facility. It’s what appears to be the lower levels of the Xavier’s School mansion from the Fox X-Men films. Her attending doctor is none other than Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast, once again played by Kelsey Grammer.
But then, Maria Rambeau reveals that in this universe, she gained the power of Captain Marvel, but goes by the codename Binary. She also revealed that she had no child named Monica in this universe. And she wears a totally different costume than Carol Danvers does. Or even that the other Maria Rambeau from Earth-838 (seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) wore. That one also looked like a modified Kree uniform. But the Binary codename and costume have direct ties to Carol Danvers in the comics, and also, to X-Men lore. In explaining that, we first have to explain a dark chapter in the history of Carol Danvers.
TW: Discussion of kidnapping, gaslighting, and sexual assault.
Marvel Comics’ Mishandling of Carol Danvers, the First Ms. Marvel
In Marvel Comics, Carol Danvers was one of the first female heroes to receive her own ongoing series. A spin-off of the male Captain Marvel character, back then she went by Ms. Marvel. Her ongoing Ms. Marvel series ran for 23 issues, from 1977 to 1979. Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont wrote most of those stories. When Marvel canceled her series, Carol found a new home in the pages of Avengers. But that wasn’t meant to last, as Avengers writer Jim Shooter, also Marvel EIC at the time, wasn’t a big fan of the character. What he did to her next was pretty darn awful.
In Avengers #197, Carol discovers she’s pregnant, with no father. This immaculate conception is at hyperspeed, and she gives birth mere days after she finds out. Once the baby is born, it grows at an accelerated rate to adulthood, and reveals that he is Marcus, son of Immortus (a.k.a. Kang). Trapped in his own Limbo dimension, he could only emerge in our world if he was physically born into it. So he kidnapped Carol, impregnated her, mind-wiped her and sent her back to Earth so she could give birth to his new body. If this sounds like kidnapping and sexual assault, that’s because it is.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, his mind-control powers forced her to fall in love with him, or at least make her think that she loved him. After realizing he couldn’t stay on Earth-616, he whisked her away, back to his home dimension…with the full blessing of the Avengers, who didn’t even try to stop him. They just seemed happy Carol had a new man in her life, as if that’s all that mattered. With that, they wrote Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel out of the Marvel Universe for two full years.
Carol Danvers Finds a Home with the X-Men
This did not sit well with her former series writer, Chris Claremont, who happened to be writing the biggest superteam in comics, the X-Men. So in 1981, in Avengers Annual #10, he addressed the situation. He revealed that Carol had returned home. This was after Marcus, who ages rapidly, died in his own dimension. But as soon as she returned to Earth, she was attacked by the power-absorbing mutant Rogue, under orders from her mother, Mystique. She held on to Carol too long, siphoning her super strength and flight powers permanently, leaving Carol in a coma.
When Carol regains consciousness, most of her memories are gone. She goes to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where she hopes the telepathic Charles Xavier will help her restore her memories. While he restores the basic facts about her life, the emotional connection to those memories goes away. When the Avengers come to visit the returned Carol at the X-Mansion, she is rightfully enraged with her teammates, who allowed Marcus to manipulate and kidnap her. She vows to remain with the X-Men over the Avengers, despite now being powerless.
Carol Danvers Goes from Ms. Marvel to Binary
For a brief time, a now powerless Carol Danvers was an unofficial member of the X-Men, using her military training and top-secret clearance to help them on missions. She forms a bond with Wolverine, who also had his memories tampered with. On an outer space adventure with the X-Men, the alien race called the Brood kidnapped and experimented on her, discovering that although she was technically human, she had latent mutant genes. Those genes probably allowed her to survive the accident that made her Ms. Marvel in the first place. These latent mutant genes would unlock her true potential, when exposed to the power of a “white hole” in space.
Carol Danvers Becomes Binary, an Unofficial X-Man
As a result of those experiments, Carol got her powers back, and then some. She transformed into a cosmic being, calling herself Binary. More powerful than ever before thanks to Brood experiments, and wearing a new red and white costume. She remained an associate of the X-Men, in a way filling in for the now-deceased Phoenix. But when Professor X took in Rogue as a new X-Man, Carol couldn’t abide to live in the same house with the woman who stole her life and memories, and departed for the stars. Years later, her godlike powers decreased, and she became Ms. Marvel again, and eventually, Captain Marvel.
MCU Binary is Maria Rambeau, a Member of the X-Men
So what does this mean for the MCU Binary? Well, it likely means that in the X-Men universe, Carol Danvers didn’t pilot the experimental jet that fateful day. So her best friend and fellow pilot Maria Rambeau received superpowers from the Tesseract instead. Did she become Captain Marvel in this X-Men universe, only to later lose her powers and become Binary? Something very similar to what happened to Carol in the comics could have happened to Maria in the X-Men universe. We just don’t know yet.
Maria might have become Captain Marvel, lost her powers (possibly even to Rogue), and then regained them tenfold and become Binary. And much like the Carol Danvers Binary in the comics, she might have become something of an unofficial X-Man. This explains why she was at the X-Mansion in the post-credits for The Marvels. In the post-credits scene, we notice she is wearing both Quantum Bands. Is that what unleashed her Binary potential in the X-Men universe? It’s quite possible. Hopefully, Marvel Studios will reveal what happens next very soon.