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At the beginning of Avengers: Endgame,

Tony Stark is floating somewhere in space with Nebula. Suddenly, Captain Marvel appears to rescue them.

But how did she know where to go? Space is huge, they were nowhere near anything of significance, and they were out of contact with everyone. How was she able to show up in the right place?

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    At the very least, we don't know the full extent of Danvers' powers nor the resources she may have acquired in the time since her movie. For example, maybe her affinity with the Space Stone allowed her to follow Thanos' move to Titan. – just_happen_to_know May 8 at 12:53
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    @Bobson The beeper was referenced in a mid- or post-credits scene in Infinity War -- so that wasn't needed in Endgame. – Zeiss Ikon May 8 at 12:56
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    Asked and answered over at Movies: Realistically, how does Captain Marvel know to rescue them? – Jenayah May 8 at 12:56
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    @ZeissIkon while true, do you actually mean Captain Marvel? – OrangeDog May 8 at 13:38
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    Stan Lee saw them pass through while he was reporting about the snap to the Watchers and told her where to go. shrugs Silly answer, I know. – hszmv May 9 at 14:49
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She was sent by the remaining Avengers team on Earth, which includes Rocket at this point.

In the Captain Marvel post credit scene, she turned up in response to the beeper summons from Nick Fury before he dusted at the end of Infinity War. She asks where Fury is, and is then presumably filled in on all that has happened.

As Rocket is on Earth, he would most likely know that Quill, Mantis and Drax had headed to Titan to try and save Gamora in response to Nebula's summons (in Infinity War). He would have been able to tell Carol where to start looking for them, which gives a smaller search area for her to find them in.

It's also very likely that Nebula and Tony were broadcasting some sort of distress signal that could be picked up as soon as Carol got close enough.

The Avengers also refer to carrying out deep-space scans from Earth in Endgame, so they must have some sort of technology to allow them to try and pick up these signals - perhaps Rocket helped them build something to help find Thanos.

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    Thanks for this comment. This whole time I just assumed she ran in to Tony on her way to Earth for the first time, and was kind of annoyed that her eventual arrival on earth in Endgame contradicted her "Where's Fury?" moment in the Captain Marvel post credits. I somehow had failed to put together that her finding Tony was after she had already established herself with the Avengers – Wmbuch May 8 at 16:43
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    Rocket wouldn't know that Quill and company had gone to Titan. At their last meeting Rocket went with Thor to Nidavellir and the others were headed for Knowhere. – user1 May 8 at 17:50
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    @user1 We don't know that. Rocket literally fixes ships by spraying them with a magic fixing gun and Nebula goes to use some sort of communicator in the pod when she gets kidnapped by Thanos. (And no one said Earth and Titan are in different galaxies). – Azor Ahai May 8 at 22:05
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    @Wmbuch It didn't. Carol Danvers just showed up like she owned the place, and nobody went "OMG a flying sparkly girl just landed our missing spaceship in our front lawn", they just interacted in a familiar manner. Suggesting they'd already been introduced, surely at the "Where's Fury" scene. I would imagine a fuller scene was intended, but cut for time. – Harper May 8 at 22:28
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    @user1 - Didn't we see Nebula communicate with the Guardians, telling them to meet her on Titan, in Infinity War? While there's no indication how far away they were, given that Thanos told his "children" to meet him on Titan, it's likely Nebula was in that vicinity when she sent the message. (She ran over Thanos on Titan with a small pod, which more likely than not was not an interstellar craft.) Given that, it does seem that long-distance communication is certainly an available tech. It is possible that the Guardians could have and did check in with Rocket about going to Titan. – Rob May 9 at 1:34
18

Since Carol Danvers apparently has the ability to detect Fury's beeper/beacon from across the galaxy (irrespective of light speed limitations, as shown in the mid- or post-credits scene in her own movie), I don't think it's all that far fetched that she can detect a distress beacon from Quill's ship after Stark and Nebula managed to get the power cells working well enough to get off Titan.

Both technologies are designed for FTL communication with similar information levels, and both are apparently within either Carol's powers to detect, or covered by Kree technology in her suit.

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    I'm puzzled why this got so many upvotes. @Dave has the right answer. – only_pro May 8 at 16:03
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    @only_pro That answer and this one are synergistic -- both could easily be correct. Further, about half of the votes here had accumulated before his answer was posted. – Zeiss Ikon May 8 at 16:08
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Captain Marvel was "summoned" to Earth by Nick Fury at the end of Avengers: Infinity War when he activates the pager that she gave to him. In the Captain Marvel post credits scene Carol arrives on Earth when the pager stops working and the Avengers still have their pre time jump looks. I believe this scene takes place before Carol rescues Tony and Nebula.

If that is indeed the case we can assume the Avengers gave a rough idea to Carol about where to find Tony. This is also plausible because we know the Avengers are tracking energy across the galaxy/universe as they find out where Thanos was hiding using the same technology in Avengers: Endgame.

Alternatively, Carol could have just run across them on her way back to Earth but this seems less likely as when she pops up to save them she seems to be doing it on a purpose, as if she was told to find them and didn't just stumble across them.

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    Except there is zero evidence that 1) the Avengers knew where Titan was and 2) that they had the ability to track energy across the universe before Carol showed up. – Paulie_D May 8 at 14:29
  • Were Tony and Nebula on Quill's ship? If so, maybe Rocket has a way to track it and knew exactly where they were – Arthur Shveida May 8 at 15:01
  • @ArthurShveida I'm not sure Rocket (or Thor now) would agree that it's Quill's ship, but yes they were on the Guardians ship. It's definitely possible that Rocket has the ability to locate it. – Anthony Grist May 8 at 15:33
  • I know this is MCU, but in the real universe stumbling across a spaceship you aren't looking for while traveling interstellar distances would be about as likely as buying a lottery ticket every week of your life and winning the jackpot every time. – Moyli May 8 at 16:27
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    @Moyli So still possible. Also as they use jump points they likely have "lanes" in space so the possible routes are cut down compared to completely open space. – TheLethalCarrot May 8 at 16:28
3

This is pure conjecture and not supported by any concrete evidence but my theory is that she followed a trail left by Maw's ship.

There's lots of people in the universe who would have known Thanos was from Titan but none of the Avengers or Rocket would have known for certain that that's where Maw was taking Strange. However, Bruce was present in New York when Strange, Tony and Spiderman fought Maw and he saw them enter the ship so he knew they were taken somewhere. Assuming those ships leave a detectable trail and Captain Marvel has the means to detect that trail (both plausible assumptions but I have no evidence to support either of them), she could have followed it and that would have eventually led her to Tony & company regardless of where they had gone.

And odds are, Tony and Nebula were headed back to Earth when they broke down so Carol would have run into them on her way to Titan, or at least come close enough to pick up their distress call.

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It's likely that the post-credits "Where's Fury?" scene is canon. I expect there was a much more elaborate "get to know you / debrief" scene that was intended to be part of Endgame, but it proved to be fairly dull and was cut for time.

Rocket absolutely knew "the morons" were going to Titan I, and would have mentioned this to Danvers. We know Danvers is pretty good at planetary surveying, so probably would've taken a pass around Titan. She would have found the fresh disturbance of a fight scene, and the landing feet impresson of the Benatar (and no ship) and possibly a puddle underneath it. Where did it go? Where would it have gone?

From that it's a matter of either following whatever trail a ship may leave (especially a damaged ship leaking stuff). Or simply guessing that they would make a beeline back to Earth, and following that path.

Or following a distress beacon - you have to figure if today's aircraft black boxes have a 30 day battery to power a sonar pinger, starship distress beacons have an independent power source too.

Also, Titan is hardly "not anything of significance", Thanos' homeworld matters. Tony was joking about the nearby 7-11's; I'm sure the franchise in that part of the galaxy is Circle-K.

2

From the commentary included with Avengers:Endgame

Captain Marvel was able to locate Tony and Nebula in space because the ship had a homing beacon. She learned all that after the credits scene in Captain Marvel. - BGR

Essentially, Rocket probably told her the ship had a homing beacon and gave her the frequency / info she needed to find it.

Image Source: Marvel Studios

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