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"About to show these boys how we do it. You ready?"
"Higher, further, faster, baby."
"That's right."
―Maria Rambeau and Carol Danvers[src]

Director Maria "Photon" Rambeau was a former United States Air Force pilot and the founder of S.W.O.R.D., as well as the mother of Monica Rambeau. She became best friends with Carol Danvers, who was presumed dead after a plane accident. Maria was reunited with Danvers six years later, in the midst of the Kree-Skrull War, and helped her remember her early life. She aided her, Nick Fury, and Talos in finding Mar-Vell's Laboratory and a group of Skrull refugees. Fighting against the Kree, Maria outmaneuvered Minn-Erva during a chase in the Mojave Desert, killing her.

As Fury went on to become Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Rambeau founded and became Director of S.W.O.R.D. In 2018, Rambeau was diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing treatment, her daughter succumbed to the Snap. Rambeau soon underwent remission, but in 2020, her cancer returned and she passed away.

Biography

United States Air Force

Befriending Carol Danvers

Rambeau and Carol Danvers walk together

By the 1980s, Maria Rambeau enlisted for service in the United States Air Force as a pilot with the callsign "Photon". While stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, she befriended Carol Danvers, and the two became the best of friends as they helped each other throughout their training. She eventually had a child named Monica, but was left to raise her as a single mother; Maria named Carol to be Monica's godmother, who then helped raise her throughout her adolescence. Rambeau graduated the Air Force's training program with flying colors, and subsequently went to celebrate at Pancho's Bar.[1]

Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.

This section requires expansion
"We had to get up so early. The Air Force still wasn't letting women fly combat, so testing Lawson's planes was our only shot at doing something that mattered."
―Maria Rambeau to Carol Danvers[src]

To be added

Kree-Skrull War

Reunion with Carol Danvers

Rambeau discussing Carol Danvers' history

"What's hard is losing my best friend in a mission so secret they act like it never even happened. Hard is knowing you were out there somewhere too damn stubborn to die. And now you come up in here after six years, with your supercharged fire hands."
―Maria Rambeau to Carol Danvers[src]

While Maria was working on a plane in her residence, she and Monica were both surprised to see her best friend Carol Danvers alive and well, as they had been told that her plane had crashed and she had been presumed dead. In a long talk with Danvers and her new friend Nick Fury, they explained to Maria everything that had happened to Danvers in the past six years since her crash, asking for her help as she was one of the last persons to see Danvers alive. Initially Maria had difficulty believing them, but Danvers demonstrated her powers by heating a kettle with her hands. Maria then helped Danvers remember some of her past.[1]

Arrival of the Skrulls

Rambeau plays the recording of the crash

"You didn't find her lab on Earth, 'cause it's not on Earth."
"That was the location on the date of the crash six years ago. If we track its course, we'll find it in orbit right now."
"It's just basic physics."
―Maria Rambeau and Carol Danvers[src]

Maria, Danvers and Fury were interrupted by Talos, who had successfully tracked them to Maria's residence. Worried, Maria looked out the backdoor to see where Monica was, but to her surprise, she saw herself out in the yard playing with Monica. Talos convinced them that he was there not to fight but to talk. After a tense moment they decided to give him a chance. Maria sent Monica outside and played the black box recording of Danvers' plane crash.

Danvers recovered her memory of the crash and how she got her cosmic powers, lost and confused more then ever about her identity now that she realized that she had been lied to by the Kree for years. Maria saw the situation and comforted her, calming her down by reminding her who she was, how she always supported Maria and how she was already the strongest person she knew even before she had any superpowers. Danvers then decided to make things right with the Skrulls by helping them find Wendy Lawson's old lab, asking for Maria's help as a good co-pilot.[1]

Battle at Mar-Vell's Laboratory

Rambeau co-piloting a Quadjet in space

"Get the Skrulls in the Quadjet and go. Take the... Flerken with you."
"What about you?"
"I'll buy you some time!"
Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau[src]

Carol Danvers, Talos, Nick Fury, Rambeau, and Goose arrived at the laboratory in a modified Quadjet, where they found more Skrulls as well as the Tesseract. However, they were soon ambushed and captured by Starforce, but Danvers eventually broke out and set them free. Rambeau stuck with Fury, and Danvers caught up with them and decided to buy them time to escape from the laboratory. Maria piloted the Quadjet to get Fury and the Skrull refugees to safety on Earth. Minn-Erva followed them in a dropship, leading to an air combat over the Mojave Desert. Maria used her piloting skills to out-maneuver Minn-Erva and shoot her dropship out of the sky, killing her. Yon-Rogg then arrived at the battle in his dropship and shot their Quadjet, slightly damaging it, but Danvers used her newly discovered flying capabilities to intercept him, saving her allies including Maria.[1]

Celebrating Victory

"That's some nifty flying you did out there. S.H.I.E.L.D. could always use a good pilot like you."
"I'll consider it. As long as you don't call my flying nifty again."
Nick Fury and Maria Rambeau[src]

Returning to the Rambeau Residence to celebrate their victory over the Kree, Maria enjoyed dinner with her friends. Nick Fury invited Rambeau to join S.H.I.E.L.D., and Rambeau replied that she would consider the offer. Danvers then decided she would go help the Skrulls find a new home far away from the Kree, and she said goodbye to everybody on Earth, bidding Maria and Monica a farewell.[1]

Director of S.W.O.R.D.

Founding S.W.O.R.D.

"I know S.W.O.R.D.'s your home. Your mom built this place from the ground up. You grew up here."
Tyler Hayward to Monica Rambeau[src]

After Captain Marvel left Earth to find Talos and his Skrull refugees a new home,[1] Rambeau founded S.W.O.R.D. under the United States Government. During her tenure as director, she kept close contact with Nick Fury,[2] who would go on to become Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. While S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to enforce global security and safety, Rambeau founded S.W.O.R.D. with the intention to focus on manned missions and extraterrestrial operations.[3]

Cancer Diagnosis and Death

"Maria died three years ago."
Harley to Monica Rambeau[src]

By 2018, Rambeau had been diagnosed with cancer, and was undergoing treatment at Parkside hospital, where Dr. Harley was administering her treatment. During one of her final treatments before remission, the Snap occurred; Rambeau survived, but her daughter Monica was killed while resting on her bedside. She came up with a new policy within S.W.O.R.D. to ground snapped agents in case they ever returned, a policy made in place out of the interest of Monica's well-being. Two years after the Snap in 2020, Rambeau's cancer made a recurrence, and she died shortly afterwards from complications associated with the illness.[3]

Legacy

"Maybe it's a good thing you weren't here when your mother died. Because clearly, you don't have the stomach for this job."
Tyler Hayward to Monica Rambeau[src]

In the wake of Rambeau's death, she was memorialized at S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters, with her callsign "Photon" distinguished on her memorial plaque from her time serving the United States Air Force. Tyler Hayward, Rambeau's subordinate, co-worker, and a high-ranking operative of S.W.O.R.D., replaced her as Director. In the beginning of his tenure, he redirected the organization's efforts to robotics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, primarily to facilitate Project Cataract.[3][2]

When the Blip occurred in 2023, Monica was resurrected at the Parkside hospital, devastated at the news of her mother's passing three years prior.[3]

Personality

"Young lady, I have a special skill that kinda allows me to get into places I'm not supposed to be."
"Call me 'young lady' again, I'm gonna put my foot in a place it's not supposed to be."
Talos and Maria Rambeau[src]

Maria was a brave and resilient woman, much like her best friend. She pursued her love of aviation when it was uncommon and unexpected for women, eventually becoming an expert pilot, while raising her daughter on her own. She adapted to new and unexpected situations very well, as she quickly got over her first extraterrestrial encounter with Skrulls, used her skills to co-pilot a Quadjet and travel to space, and later shot down an experienced space pilot such as Minn-Erva when thrown into combat. She also disliked derogatory compliments like 'Young Lady', as she was furious when Talos called her that.

Abilities

"You know, I could use a good co-pilot."
Carol Danvers to Maria Rambeau[src]

Equipment

Vehicles

Facilities

Relationships

Family

Allies

Enemies

Appearances

Trivia

  • In the comics, Maria Rambeau is the mother of Monica Rambeau who became a superheroine, codenamed Photon. The name "Photon" was also used as a superhero name by Monica.
    • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Maria shares similarities with the character Marina Renner, a single mother who is close friends with Carol Danvers.

Behind the Scenes

  • Earlier versions of Captain Marvel were structured in a more linear fashion and started with Carol Danvers' friendship with Maria Rambeau and her life on Earth.[4]
  • DeWanda Wise was originally cast in the role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[5]
  • Lashana Lynch described Rambeau as "resilient" and "strong" saying, "Maria's got a strength that's undeniable, in that you don't feel like you need to help her. She is thrown into many a situation in this movie that she's never been a part of, never seen, never experienced — and she just learns it, immediately."[6]
  • WandaVision showrunner Jac Schaeffer had Maria Rambeau killed offscreen in the episode "We Interrupt This Program" so they could set Monica Rambeau up with a storyline of her own in a rough and meaningful way, feeling that Maria was a deep part of Monica's own character.[7]
  • Lashana Lynch was personally informed by Kevin Feige through an email about Maria Rambeau's death in WandaVision long before the show premiered, as Feige didn't want Lynch to learn about her character's death through someone else without telling her.[8]
  • Keisha Tucker was a stunt double for Lashana Lynch in the role of Maria Rambeau.

References

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