Talos’ Marvel Comics Backstory Is So Much Darker Than ‘Captain Marvel’
Fans who have been eagerly awaiting Captain Marvel’s debut will finally get to see Brie Larson as Carol Danvers when the movie hits theaters on Mar. 8. But every hero needs a villain, and Captain Marvel will face a terrifying one. The baddie this time is Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), the leader of the Skrulls (shape-shifting aliens), who poses as a human member of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Earth, trying to capture Carol. He's new to the MCU, but Talos has been part of Marvel history for quite some time, appearing in other comics that aren’t Captain Marvel.
He made his debut in The Incredible Hulk #418, back in 1994. In that issue, he is one of the guests at Hulk’s friend Rick Jones’ wedding after Impossible Man invites himself and other villains as a prank. Rick tries to keep everything under control, but Talos loses his temper when he’s referred to as "Talos the Tamed" by a Kree. But before a fight breaks out between them, Silver Surfer intervenes.
But in the following issue, we learn more about Talos. Right after the wedding, Talos waits around the venue to attempt to battle Hulk, but in their conversation, he reveals that his goal is for Hulk to kill him. He believes that by fighting such a powerful foe, dying in battle would make him gain respect from Skrulls.
But Hulk tries to reason with him, asking why he would want that. “Know this then: that I was once Talos the Untamed! Inflicted with a misfortune that deprived me of shapeshifting ability!,” reveals Talos.
He then shares that during the Kree-Skrull War, he was captured by the Kree (the blue-skinned aliens who've shown up in the MCU before). He had the option of dying honorably by dying from ritual suicide, but he refused to, making him a disgrace to Skrulls, thus becoming Talos the Tamed. Instead of dying from suicide, he desired to die in battle. Hulk refuses to kill him, but things still work out for Talos. When he returns to the Krull ship, he's greeted with respect, with others remarking that it was a good fight.
Talos’ story is explored further in the Annihilation series, focused on Marvel villains, where he fights against Devos the Devastator from Fantastic Four. Devos defeats Talos, but they’re both captured by Glorian. Once they escape, they decided to join forces.
But, surprisingly, Talos never made an appearance in Captain Marvel comics. So for Captain Marvel, his story will differ a bit. Yes, he’s still a Skrull, but, unlike in the comics, he does have the ability to shapeshift, as confirmed by Entertainment Weekly. Huge Marvel comic fans might know that Talos actually disguised himself as a human in the Howard the Duck comics, when he was hired as a private eye in Howard the Duck Vol 5 #1. But his disguise was all thanks to makeup and a fake beard, which didn’t look too convincing.
Captain Marvel might not be following the comics precisely, but this allows Talos to have a bigger role than before, and become a far more fearful foe.