It turns out Captain Marvel was in "Avengers: Infinity War" - just not in the way some fans expected.
In a post-credit scene that saw Nick Fury and Maria Hill fall victim to Thanos' plan to wipe out half of existence, Fury quickly assesses that a universe-altering event is taking place. Before Fury is reduced to dust, he's able to send out a signal on a small device. As he fades to nothing, the device falls to the ground, revealing the symbol of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers.
The moment was the only glimmer of hope in a stunning conclusion that left many fans speechless.
It also set the tone for who could lead the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes left to fight Thanos in next year's sequel. (Could it be a joint effort between Captain America and Captain Marvel? That could work, especially if Steve Rogers and Iron Man still aren't getting along.)
Captain Marvel, one of Marvel Comics' top heroines and the first to get her own movie franchise, also happens to be one of the more powerful beings in the MCU.
If you're not up to date on her comic-book adventures, she's a deep-space hero with cosmic/alien powers - exactly the type of hero the Avengers need.
"Captain Marvel," starring Brie Larson in the titular role, will be in theaters in March, two months before Part 2 of "Infinity War" makes its debut. The movie, which takes place in the 1990s, is an origin tale and will show how Carol Danvers becomes the hero who eventually receives the ultimate emergency call from Fury.
Captain Marvel is one of the few heroes strong enough to be an individual threat to Thanos, but she'll likely have the aid of the few Avengers who remained at "Infinity War's" end. She's also a likely candidate to lead the next generation of Avengers if Marvel Studios decides to make more of the films with a new core cast.
Although the rumors of her appearance in "Infinity War" were wrong and all we saw was her superhero logo, the audience excitement around that small visual, plus her upcoming theatrical debut, confirm that Captain Marvel will play an important role in the next Avengers sequel. That's one heck of a debut for the MCU's first-ever female lead.