If you’ve just seen Captain Marvel, you probably have questions. And it’s a safe bet that at least one of those questions is, “What is up with Goose the Cat?” Great question, but before we answer it, here’s your first and last spoiler warning.
Back when one of the first posters for the latest MCU flick was released, the Internet was understandably excited, but not for the reasons you might expect. Sure, seeing Marvel’s first female-led superhero appearing on her very own poster for her very own title role was something special, but to give it that extra trendy Internet-bait of a hook, the poster also included a cat. Granted, you had to kind of search for it in the shadowy margins of the aviation hangar pictured in the poster, but there’s most definitely the back half of a cat walking out of frame. That sent cat fans (i.e. Internet users) and Captain Marvel fans alike into a tailspin. Here’s why:
Captain Marvel’s feline friend on the poster was revealed to be named Goose, a likely nod to Top Gun thanks to this movie’s Air Force and 80s/90s nostalgia plays, but that name change understandably confused some fans of Marvel Comics. In the comic books, Captain Marvel did indeed have a pet cat, but it was named Chewie since it reminded her of famed Star Wars character, Chewbacca. The companion character was originally introduced in 2006’s “Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1” and named in “Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 #5” later that year. One would have to assume the name change came about because Disney didn’t want to cross the streams and introduce their very own Star Wars franchise as existing in the canon of their very own Marvel Universe; I mean, they wouldn’t even do it for Kingdom Hearts III. But what’s in a name; Goose, Chewie, it’s still a cat companion, right?
Well, not exactly. As revealed in the 2014 comic “Captain Marvel Vol. 8 #1” from writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, what looks and acts like a common ordinary housecat is actually a very dangerous alien creature known as a Flerken. These monstrosities, which can lay 117 eggs at a time and can sprout innumerable tentacles from their mouths (unless muzzled), also have the ability to hold pocket dimensions (or bubbles of alternate realities and time) within their bodies. This not only explains how Flerkens like Goose are able to gobble up so many people (and things like the Tesseract) but it also allows for interdimensional travel and transportation … at the cost of being swallowed and vomited up by a Flerken. (Don’t be surprised to see your favorite Avenger(s) gobbled up by Goose only to pop out somewhere else in a jiffy.)
In a super-fun twist throughout Captain Marvel, humans like Nick Fury and Carol Danvers are more than happy to let Goose have the run of the house/spaceship/office space, but it’s the Skrull leader Talos who first clues audiences in to the dangerous nature of the creature. In the comics, Rocket Raccoon once tried to kill Chewie, knowing its true nature and not wishing to be eaten by it. (Oh, and if you happen upon one of these space cats in the wild, be careful; otherwise you might end up like Nick Fury and lose an eye in the process. Yes, in case you missed it, Fury’s famous eye patch came about because of an infected Flerken scratch that claimed his left eye. Yikes.) The WTF reveal moment in the movie comes relatively late in the telling when Goose’s many-tentacled mouth snaps up the Tesseract and a number of Kree soldiers, which is probably the very moment that led you to Google, “WTF is Goose in Captain Marvel?” Now that we know what Goose is all about, let’s hope we see more of this curious critter in the future of the MCU!