In Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers' best friend is Maria Rambeau, a fellow fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Carol and Maria are very close in the new film and have their job in common, but Maria Rambeau's Marvel comics history is far different from what is shown on screen. In fact, it's Maria's daughter who has a whole lot more going on in the comics.
According to the Marvel Fandom Database, Maria was introduced in 1984 in Avengers #246. In the comics, she's a wife and mother from New Orleans who works as a seamstress. In Avengers #246, Maria's daughter, Monica, reveals to her parents that she is Captain Marvel. This is possible because there are multiple people who have had the Captain Marvel alter ego over the years. According to Inverse, "Carol is the sixth Captain Marvel in the comics but the first in the MCU continuity." Screen Rant notes that Monica was actually the second Captain Marvel, and she even led the Avengers.
But, in the film, Captain Marvel, obviously, is Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), and someone who Maria (Lashana Lynch) knows well. A young Monica (Akira Akbar) is also in Captain Marvel as Maria's 11-year-old daughter, because the film is set in the 1990s. This means that Carol and Monica come into contact. Lynch told Rotten Tomatoes during a visit to the film's set, "[Carol and Maria] are best friends in the beginning, absolute best friends. They were in and out of each other’s houses; Carol was very close with Monica. She almost, I would say, helped raise her. I’m a single mother, and she was just in her house a lot."
It's unclear what this will mean as far as Monica ever becoming Captain Marvel herself in one of the movies, but an older Monica could end up being a different superhero in the MCU, because she has also gone by "Spectrum" and "Photon." In the film, Maria's Air Force nickname is "Photon," which is stenciled onto the side of her plane, which could end up being Monica's inspiration for an alter ego.
While Maria does not have superpowers herself, Lynch believes her character is still a hero. "It's just she's strong, she's bold, she's a black single mother," the actor told Screen Rant. "She doesn't argue about it. She has raised an amazing child and now this child is probably going to turn out to be a superhero because she's been raised by one."
And Maria's role in the film is significant outside of being Monica's mother. According to Larson, Carol and Maria's friendship is the love story of the film.
"What they’ve gone through together, going through military training together, being the only women, and using each other to lean on each other, and using that support as a recognition of her experience, is really special," Larson said during a Captain Marvel press conference, as reported by CinemaBlend. "Of course I think they’d be friends outside of that. But that really tight knit bond is family. This is the love of the movie. This is the love found again. This is the person to go to the ends of the Earth to fight to defend."
When Captain Marvel hits theaters on Mar. 8, viewers will get to learn a lot more about Maria, which is exciting because it already sounds like her character is far more interesting than what readers got from the comics.