In Captain Marvel, Skrulls have the ability to completely replicate an entire being's DNA structure. In the movie there were many times when a Skrull got injured or even killed.

Assuming that this replication is throughout the Skrulls' entire body, and not just an external "shell", they should be able to transform into someone if they were injured and that should re knit all torn body tissue etc. This didn't happen in the movie so I am assuming that they are unable to do it.

So to summarize, why can't Skrulls heal by transforming?

  • "Skrulls have the ability to completely replicate an entire being's DNA structure." Is this actually stated in the film? I got the impression they just made themselves look like what they wanted rather then changing DNA. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 9:49
  • 1
    @TheLethalCarrot yes it is mentioned that they copy the DNA Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 9:57

1 Answer 1


To effectively regenerate, someone needs both massive amounts of calories, stamina or more generally energy (to sustain the accelerated metabolic process) and a sufficient quantity of matter to replace damaged bodyparts. Most movies and works of fiction apply a suspension of disbelief, which is quite sufficient for the average viewer (in the sense that they do not wish to question the "whys" and "hows" unless they become glaringly absurd).

Now, we need to couple this with the shape-shifter baggage. This law dictates shape-shifters should not be able to assume massively larger or smaller forms. For example, a Skrull should not be able to morph into a lifelike cat, given the difference in size (then again, Talos implies he could do similar extravagant feats... but he's also supposed to be a particularly talented and experienced Skrull). In other words, this law dictates shape-shifters cannot summon matter from nowhere or make it disappear just to morph more accurately.

Combined, these two laws outline that unless Skrulls can produce biological matter out of nowhere, they cannot actually regenerate. That said, there is nothing to prove or disprove that they can or cannot close cuts, heal up bruises or maybe reattach lost limbs. This does not really involve creating matter and thus could be doable, depending on their morphing's actual mechanism.

I should also add that, as far as I remember, every serious non-lethal injury inflicted on a Skrull was done through photon blasts or laser rifles ; as least, those we saw (this is discarding Yon-Rogg throwing heaps of debris at Skrull attackers, for example). These weapons instantly cauterize wounds, which traditionally is an effective way of disabling regeneration or shape-shifting.

  • For the record, Secret Invasion (2023) shows that, not only are Skrulls unable to heal injuries, but being injured has a detrimental effect on their ability to shapeshift or maintain a non-Skrull form. So they probably couldn't shapeshift the injury away even if they wanted to.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 12:41

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