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Why Goose the Cat Is a Pivotal Character in Captain Marvel. No, Really

5 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Captain Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

During a visit to the set of Captain Marvel last June, I was particularly intrigued by Goose the cat. The pet was portrayed by four different felines — each of whom had their own particular trick or talent — and an uncanny animatronic cat. The internet was particularly pleased when Goose ended up with his own movie poster, confirming that yes, perhaps he would become the hero of the film.

And Goose does have an essential role in Captain Marvel, besides adorably stowing away on spaceships. It turns out that Goose is not a cat, but just an alien species that looks like a cat called a Flerken. He kills some bad guys, saves the Tesseract and — yes — scratches out Nick Fury’s eye. Here’s everything you need to know about Goose.

GooseMarvel Studios

Goose is actually an alien called a Flerken

Goose is actually a dangerous alien called a Flerken. The species look like the domesticated cats that live on Earth but have tentacles that come out of their mouths and can swallow up large objects and store them in bubbles in their bellies. They can also lay hundreds of eggs at a time to produce offspring.

In the comics, Carol Danvers adopts what she believes to be a normal cat whom she names Chewie (after Chewbacca). Later Rocket (from Guardians of the Galaxy) reveals to her that Chewie is actually a Flerken who can use the octopus-like arms in his mouth to strangle, kill and eat people. The creators of the Captain Marvel film renamed the cat Goose as a nod to Tom Cruise’s sidekick in Top Gun. Otherwise all his Flerken abilities remain the same.

Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN MARVEL..Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019null—null

Goose takes out Nick Fury’s eye, which Fury referenced in Winter Soldier

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), early S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and creator of the Avengers, has long sported an eyepatch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For years, fans speculated on how Fury lost his eye. The guessing game was stoked by Fury’s own mysterious references to the incident. In Captain America: Winter Soldier, Fury tells Captain America (Chris Evans), that the last time he trusted someone, he lost an eye.

That someone, it turns out, was a cat — or what Fury thought was a cat. In Captain Marvel, Nick Fury and Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson) travel to the old offices of Mar-Vell (Annette Bening). Mar-Vell, they find out, was a Kree agent who turned against her own when she learned that they were murdering innocent aliens called the Skrulls. Mar-Vell is killed by the Kree, but her pet, Goose, survives her.

Fury immediately bonds with Goose. He cuddles and plays with him. But a Skrull named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) tells Fury that Goose is not actually a cat but a dangerous alien called a Flerken. Fury dismisses Talos until they are caught in a fight with the Kree. At one point during that battle, huge octopus-looking legs emerge from Goose’s mouth, and he eats a bunch of Kree soldiers. Fury then wields him as a weapon.

Unfortunately for Fury, Goose does not like being treated like a cat. When Fury tries to cuddle him again at the end of the movie, Goose scratches his eye. Fury initially says that it’s just a scratch, but by the end of the film, he’s perusing glass eyes.

Josh Brolin as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity WarMarvel Studios

Goose may play a key role in Avengers: Endgame

Despite Fury’s claim in Winter Soldier that he trusts no one after losing an eye, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Flerken seem to remain buddies after the incident. At the end of the movie, Goose sits in a cat bed in the corner of Fury’s office at S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, earlier in the movie Goose swallowed up the Tesseract to hide the Infinity Stone inside from the Kree. During the second end-credits scene, Goose deposits it on Fury’s desk, essentially entrusting the powerful object to him.

This may seem like a silly scene, but in fact Goose’s ability to carry the Tesseract could prove crucial to Avengers: Endgame. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos gathers all the Infinity Stones, including the one in the Tesseract, to destroy half of all life in the universe. He succeeds, and the Avengers are left to figure out how to turn back time and undo the destruction.

Fans have theorized that in Avengers: Endgame, the heroes will travel through time and gather all the Infinity Stones before Thanos can. That means they may make a pit stop at Nick Fury’s office in the 1990s where the Tesseract is stored inside the belly of a kitty.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com