UPDATE, 9/5/2018 – An exclusive first look from Entertainment Weekly (which we’ve also covered here) gives us Brie Larson in the actual movie costume! Although the colors are a bit darker and there’s much more detailing than in the comics, the overall ensemble stays pretty true to the Captain Marvel of recent years:
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) September 5, 2018
EW also revealed Captain Marvel wouldn’t be sticking to “the traditional origin-story template” in at least one major way: this movie starts with Carol Danvers already having superpowers. She’s left Earth to join Starforce (not Space Force, thankfully), an elite intergalactic military unit led by Jude Law’s as-yet-unnamed character, who many fans believe to be the alien warrior Mar-Vell. However, she eventually comes back to face her mysterious past and battle the shape-shifting baddies known as the Skrulls.
— Devan Coggan (@devancoggan) September 5, 2018
Speaking of the Skrulls, we now know Ben Mendelsohn’s previously nameless villain is Talos, who leads the invading Skrull forces when he’s not infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. in human form. Additionally, although many fans thought Lashana Lynch would be playing Monica Rambeau (who took up the Captain Marvel mantle before Carol), EW confirmed that she in fact plays Maria Rambeau, Carol’s Air Force buddy, ace pilot, and mother to Monica Rambeau. Bonus: Maria’s call sign is “Photon,” which is also one of Monica’s many superhero identities.
— Devan Coggan (@devancoggan) September 5, 2018
You can check out the photos here.
The movie focuses on (duh) Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Carol Danvers, who will be played by Brie Larson. She’s a former pilot whose DNA is altered by an encounter with an alien warrior, thus granting her a whole lot of superpowers such as flight, super strength, and channeling energy into weaponized blasts. Not unusual for a Marvel film…except this one is going retro. At San Diego Comic-Con 2017 it was revealed that Carol’s story takes place in the 1990s.
On the opposing team are the Skrulls, shape-shifting aliens with the ability to assume the forms of basically whoever they want, which is what makes them so difficult to fight. The Skrulls were first introduced to Marvel Comics in the Kree-Skrull War story arc, where their interplanetary conflict with the Kree aliens spilled over to Earth and messed things up extraterrestrial-style.
To handle a threat like that, you need Captain Marvel, who according to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is the MCU’s most powerful superhero. Back in October 2016, Feige told Vulture:
“With Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she’s introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we’ve ever had. It’s important, then, to counterbalance that with someone who feels real. She needs to have a humanity to tap into, and Brie can do that.”
It’s not yet clear how much of Carol’s military background will feature in the movie, but we’re going to see at least some of it. A tweet sent in March 2018 from the official Marvel Studios Twitter account featured a photo of Brie Larson in character as Carol Danvers wearing her pilot’s uniform during a visit to an Air Force base:
Production has begun on Marvel Studios’ #CaptainMarvel. @BrieLarson receives instructions from Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander, on a recent visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to research her character. pic.twitter.com/i5brzZH852
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) March 26, 2018
We also know from character info and other behind-the-scenes photos that we’ll get to see Carol’s relationships with other Air Force pilots, which suggests it’ll be more than just a short flashback.
Costuming can be a huge issue for female superheroes. For too long they’ve been stuffed into needlessly revealing uniforms dedicated to showing the maximum amount of skin, because I guess women can’t fight bad guys without 10 miles of visible cleavage and an atomic wedgie. Fortunately, Captain Marvel’s costume in this movie is more or less a live-action version of the 2012 Marvel Now! design by artist Jamie McKelvie. As McKelvie told Newsarama that same year, the idea was to “create something that came out of her character and background in the military.”
Every hero needs a villain, and in Captain Marvel that’s Ben Mendelsohn, who plays the Skrull leader Talos. The main Kree cast is filled out by Jude Law as the yet-unnamed commander of Starforce, Gemma Chan as Kree geneticist/spy Minn-Erva, and Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou reprising their roles as Ronan the Accuser and Korath from Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, respectively.
Lashana Lynch plays Carol’s Air Force buddy Maria Rambeau, who comics fans may know as Monica Rambeau’s mother. Monica, who served as Captain Marvel before Carol donned the red, blue, and gold, led the Avengers to multiple victories when they had to fight the X-Men because it was Comics Event O’Clock again. Her badassery and straight-talking confidence won readers’ hearts, as did her sweet Afro and quite frankly staggering array of powers, which ranged from good old superspeed to being able to take the form of any type of electromagnetic energy to “hyper-cosmic awareness.”
Anyone: Hi, ho–
Me: Monica Rambeau carried the title of Captain Marvel prior to Carol Danvers. Yes, A BLACK WOMAN, once LEAD the Avengers. She was also PIVOTAL during their battle with the X-Men and kicked MAGNETO’S ass. She had an afro AND box braids & EVERYONE had to deal!
— Justin Fraction (@JustinCentric) January 5, 2018
We’ll also be seeing Agent Phil Coulson, as confirmed by a behind-the-scenes photo from Clark Gregg’s official Instagram, The Mary Sue reports. The photo features Gregg posing next to an “N. Fury” name tag on set, with the caption: “New job, old friends. #captainmarvel”
Given that Captain Marvel is set in the 90s—which technically makes it a period piece, although acknowledging that makes me feel ancient, so let’s not go there—this will be a younger Coulson, possibly working under an also-younger Fury during the latter’s earlier days with S.H.I.E.L.D.
It’s not clear how much screen time Coulson and Fury will be getting, or how instrumental their roles will be to Captain Marvel’s story, but this could be an opportunity for the MCU to shed some light on what working for S.H.I.E.L.D. really means. Seeing younger versions of these two characters in action and being able to compare them to their present-day selves might give us some insight into how their careers with the agency have changed them, and/or how S.H.I.E.L.D. became the organization it is today.
Other cast members announced are Algenis Pérez Soto, who starred in Boden and Fleck’s 2008 sports drama Sugar; Rune Temte, whose prior movies include Eddie the Eagle (also a sports movie, come to think of it); and Mckenna Grace, who you may have seen as a young Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. Soto, Temte, and Grace’s Captain Marvel roles haven’t been disclosed yet, but it’s possible Grace could be playing a younger Carol Danvers in flashbacks or childhood sequences. However, this is just speculation.
THE WRITER AND DIRECTORS
Deadline reported that Geneva Robertson-Dworet is writing the Captain Marvel script. She takes over from Meg Lefauve, writer for the movie Inside Out, and Nicole Perlman, co-writer of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Robertson-Dworet is no stranger to action-oriented stories about kickass women—she’s also the main scriptwriter for the upcoming Tomb Raider movie starring Alicia Vikander and for the big screen adaptation of Gotham City Sirens, which is planned as a Suicide Squad movie spinoff featuring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
Despite the handover, Perlman confirmed on Twitter that the movie’s core ideas, which were conceptualized before Robertson-Dworet came on board, would more or less remain intact.
Yes, of course. All the ideas the SDCC Marvel panel shared this year were pre-Geneva’s involvement. Others will stay too. Can’t say more.
— Nicole Perlman (@Uncannygirl) August 16, 2017
In April 2017, a Variety report named the team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck as the directors for Captain Marvel. Boden and Fleck beat out several impressive solo female candidates such as Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend For the End of the World), and Lesli Linka Glatter (various episodes of Homeland, The Leftovers, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and nearly every other prestige TV show you can think of). Unlike new scriptwriter Robertson-Dworet, Boden and Fleck are fairly new to the world of superheroics. Their previous work mostly covers darker character-driven movies, including Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind, as well as episodes of Showtime’s Billions and The Affair. As our own Alicia Lutes points out, though, the left-field approach has been working pretty well for Marvel Studios these days. Taika Waititi was perhaps most famous for directing the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows before he signed on to direct Thor: Ragnarok, for example. Boden and Fleck are the latest example of Marvel’s increased willingness to take risks with their directors.
We’ll continue to update this post as more details emerge, so keep checking in for Captain Marvel news! The film is scheduled to hit theaters in March of 2019.