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 single mother of Monica Rambeau. She became best friends with Carol Danvers, who was presumed dead for six years, after a plane accident. Maria was reunited with Danvers during 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. Maria fought against the Kree there and managed to outmaneuver and kill Minn-Erva during a chase in the Mojave Desert.
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 two years later, her cancer returned and she passed away.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 United States Air Force
- 1.2 Kree-Skrull War
- 1.3 Director of S.W.O.R.D.
- 1.4 Legacy
- 2 Personality
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Behind the Scenes
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
Befriending Carol Danvers
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.
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Reunion with Carol Danvers
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.
Arrival of the Skrulls
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.
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.
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.
Director of S.W.O.R.D.
After Captain Marvel left Earth to find Talos and his Skrull refugees a new home, Rambeau founded S.W.O.R.D. under the United States Government. During her tenure as director, she kept close contact with Nick Fury, 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.
Cancer Diagnosis and Death
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.
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.
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.
- Expert Pilot: Having been a part of the Air Force, Rambeau was an expert pilot, being good enough that Carol Danvers wanted her to come along to Mar-Vell's Laboratory. She was able to out-maneuver Minn-Erva, and impress Nick Fury with her skills.
- Quadjet: Once Norex modified a Quadjet that Carol Danvers and Nick Fury had stolen from Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility to be able to launch into orbit, Maria co-piloted it with Danvers to Mar-Vell's Laboratory. When escaping the laboratory, Danvers remained to distract the Starforce, leaving Maria to pilot the Quadjet alone and get their allies to safety on Earth. However, Minn-Erva followed them in a space pod to take them down, leading to an air battle in which Maria out-maneuvered Minn-Erva, shooting down her pod and taking the passengers safely to Rambeau Residence.
- Rambeau Residence: Maria's house in New Orleans that housed a small plane, where she raised Monica Rambeau.
- Edwards Air Force Base: Maria and Carol Danvers were test pilots stationed at this base.
- Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster
- Captain Marvel (flashbacks)
- Captain Marvel
- 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.
- DeWanda Wise was originally cast in the role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
- 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."
- 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.
- Keisha Tucker was a stunt double for Lashana Lynch in the role of Maria Rambeau.
- Captain Marvel
- WandaVision: 1.09: The Series Finale
- WandaVision: 1.04: We Interrupt This Program
- Captain Marvel: 15 Spoiler Facts From Directors Anna Boden And Ryan Fleck
- Lashana Lynch Replacing DeWanda Wise | Hollywood Reporter
- Meet Maria Rambeau: Captain Marvel's Lashana Lynch introduces her high-flying Air Force pilot
- WandaVision Writer Jac Schaeffer Explains That Major MCU Character's Death