Captain Marvel's pet cat/flerken is unrelentingly violent and lethal, even though he has human intelligence.
The new teaser trailer for the MCU’s upcoming 33rd film, The Marvels, was just released, giving us a glimpse at the power trio of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) in begrudging partnership. But while the trailer promises a rollicking space adventure in which life lessons about allowing yourself to rely on others are learned, it should also remind fans of something else: Captain Marvel’s pet cat is the single most bloodthirsty, unrepentantly violent character in the universe.
Said pet, which first appeared in 2019’s Captain Marvel, is named Goose and formerly belonged to Mar-Vell (Annette Bening), the Kree scientist stationed on Earth whose cosmic experiments resulted in Carol Danvers gaining superpowers. However, as the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn, who we’ll be seeing in Secret Invasion soon) points out, Goose is not actually a garden-variety cat, but an alien creature called a “flerken,” one of the most dangerous entities in existence. Captain Marvel treats this as a running joke until Goose opens his adorable little cat mouth and reveals H.P. Lovecraft-style tentacles to devour people whole.
The easy thing to assume here is that Captain Marvel’s pet flerken/cat Goose is just an animal and is simply reacting to defend itself, rather than being motivated by bloodthirstiness. However, the flerken are not a creation of Marvel studios; the alien species originated in Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1 in 2006, created by Brian Reed and Roberto De La Torre and later expanded on by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David López. It is made clear in the comics that while flerken are indistinguishable from terrestrial felines in their physiology, they in fact have the same level of intelligence and self-awareness as humans, making Goose completely aware of his actions.
So, when Goose opens his mouth and devours screaming victims whole, he’s very aware of what he’s doing. He could pick them up and throw them away or slam them against a wall or disarm them. He’s choosing to physically devour these people (who are typically screaming in terror and/or pain), but to be fair, he is a really cute cat, so we can overlook it.
One can also make the argument that he is trying to defend Captain Marvel (or Mar-Vell or Samuel L. Jackon’s Nick Fury), who he clearly considers himself bonded with. While that might be the case, does that mean that lethal, agonizing force is needed each time? That’s the kind of behavior we would expect from a tentacle beast from beyond in a Doctor Strange movie, but not in a creature that Captain Marvel keeps around because he purrs. Also, Goose partially blinds Nick Fury just for tickling him, so how loyal is he, really?
It is also worth noting that at one point in Captain Marvel, Goose swallows the Cosmic Cube whole and seems to have no problem walking around with one of the Infinity Stones (which powers the Cube) in his furry little tummy. According to Marvel Comics lore, a flerken accesses an other-dimensional space when it consumes something, but it is kind of terrifying that one of the most powerful objects in the MCU is basically a hairball to Goose.
There is a brief moment in The Marvels trailer in which we see a whole kindle of kittens (that’s what a group of them is called, look it up) running down a staircase, though the context is not clear why. It is fair to assume these kittens are related to Goose in some way and are likely his offspring, which are almost certainly as terrifyingly violent as he is. The next time we see Captain Marvel, hopefully, she has managed to make friends with the little ones.