For a movie that's attracted as much love (and as much controversy) as Captain Marvel, there's one thing I’m sure we can all agree on: We love Goose the Cat.
As much as Carol Danvers' high-flying, Skrull-fighting adventures are entertaining enough in their own right, most of us are just here for Goose. I mean, look at this little muffin.
While we're busy making memes or staring at those big, determined eyes while we should really be paying attention to how Carol's story fits into the MCU, it's important to remember that Goose is just the latest in a long line of sci-fi felines.
There's something inherently interesting about putting a cat in space: they're mercurial, aloof, fierce when they want to be — sometimes as alien as the creepy creatures we see in space movies. So much of our time is spent trying to understand what they want, or just to get them to love us. Is there a more perfect animal analogue to the coldness of space than the cold, unfeeling eyes of a cat who just wants to lick her peets in peace?
So, in honor of the Great God Goose in the highest, we're taking a look at some of the most iconic chonkers ever to grace the world of science fiction.
Goose (Captain Marvel)
(Warning: major spoilers ahead for Captain Marvel.)
Having inspired this list, we have to start off with Goose – renamed from their comics counterpart Chewie (presumably because Disney wants to keep their respective franchises well apart), Goose is the former pet of Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), an aerospace scientist working on experimental technology for Project Pegasus.
Of course, just like Dr. Lawson isn't who she seems to be, neither is Goose: Goose is a Flerken, a mysterious race of cat-like aliens who can open their mouth to extend a sea of nasty Lovecraftian tentacles. When Goose isn't swallowing Infinity Stones or flaying bad guys to death, she (he?) keeps Nick Fury entertained to no end — until, like all cats on a long enough timeline, she gets extra scratchy.
Jones the Cat (Alien/Aliens)
There is a fair share of alien or sentient cats on this list, but none of them are wiser than Jonesy, the adorable cat from the first two Alien films. In the first, she’s the Nostromo's housecat (ship-cat?), just bounding around the hellish haunted house of a cargo hauler while the xenomorph takes out her humans one by one. While she escapes with the help of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, she opts out of her master's next adventure in Aliens. "And you, you little s***head," Ripley says to Jones, "You're staying here."
Never has a cat been more relieved; instead of flying off to a planet filled with gooey, flesh-ripping aliens, she gets to stay home and have all the space kibble she wants.
The question remains, though: who took care of her while Ripley was away? Did they just end up adopting Jonesy when Ripley never came back? Forget Prometheus, these are the big questions we need answered, Ridley Scott!
Spot (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
With Goose, Jonesy and TNG's Spot all being orange tabbies, space exploration must run in the blood of this breed. Adopted by Data as part of his journey to becoming human, Spot proved to be one of his greatest pleasures – and challenges. Those who ding the crew of the Enterprise-D for being blandly bereft of interpersonal conflict have clearly never met Spot: he was fickle, temperamental, and prone to scratching (he even marked Riker once). Still, we must do as Data instructs his catsitters, and tell him he is a pretty cat, and a good cat, and feed him all the Supplement 25 he requires.
Cat (Red Dwarf)
On a long enough timeline, apparently, cats will evolve into humanoids – or so says the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, which featured Danny John-Jules' aptly-named Cat as the descendant of millions of years of cat evolution on the titular mining ship. The phrase 'cool as a cat' has never been more apropos, John-Jules' slick exterior and bold zoot-suit attire feeling like a natural extension of what a cat would do and sound like if it took human form. As evolved as Cat might be, though, he's still a cat at heart – "Today's been a good day. I've eaten five times, slept six times, and made a lot of things mine!"
Lying Cat (Saga)
The feline sidekick of The Will in Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples' revolutionary graphic novel series Saga does exactly what it says on the tin: she's an alien, Sphinx-like cat who can detect deliberate lies and point them out by simply saying the word "LYING." Not only is she a tall girl (she comes up to The Will's chest in height), her simple ability to cut through the crap has made her a nifty meme for the obfuscation of the Twitter age. She can sniff out dishonesty and rip apart armed guards when necessary? There's no better companion for the rough-and-tumble world of the Landfall Coalition.
Jake the Cat (The Cat from Outer Space)
Disney's got a bit of a history with interstellar kitties – take Jake the Cat from 1978's The Cat From Outer Space, which follows the titular space chonker Zunar-J-5/9Doric-4-7 (Jake to his friends) and his journey to get back to his crashed spaceship and return home. Imagine E.T. without the special effects budget and, like, none of the subtext about growing up in a divorced family, and you've got the gist. Luckily, Jake's more than your average cat: he's got a special glowing collar that makes him telekinetic and telepathic. Just don't give the collar to your average housecat: they'll be mind-controlling you for belly rubs within seconds.
A mutate lynx created by Ozymandias in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel, Bubastis is a huge, fierce red cat who sat at Adrian Veidt's side during the events of the comic. Sometimes that was nice – she got to watch TV with him a lot! – but Bubastis' loyalty cost her her life when she was used by Veidt to lure Dr. Manhattan into an "intrinsic field subtractor," vaporizing her and Manhattan in the process. RIP Bubastis, we hardly knew ye.
Sweetie (The Fifth Element)
We only see Korben Dallas' cat for a few seconds in Luc Besson's wild, Euro-tastic space opera The Fifth Element, but boy does she make an impression! At every conceivable second, she's all over Bruce Willis, rubbing on his boots and trying to snatch some Korean takeout from the floating food truck Korben eats from. Still, Korben has a lot to learn about being a space cat parent – at one point, he forgets to feed her all day! How dare you deprive this face of tuna:
Still, like with the other cats on this list, she showcases the fierce, the cute, the adorable ways in which a feline presence makes science fiction just a little bit more relatable. After all, what good is saving the universe if you don’t have a cat to come home to?