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SYFY WIRE Captain Marvel

Instead of an old woman Skrull, Captain Marvel originally punched a little kid

By Matthew Jackson
Captain Marvel train screengrab

Captain Marvel has finally arrived in theaters, which means fans everywhere will spend their weekend digging into every detail. It also means the filmmakers behind the latest Marvel Studios release can finally go a little more in-depth with how they made the film. 

Co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have already begun the dissection thanks to a new video from Vanity Fair in which they break down one of the film's most memorable scenes, and reveal that it almost played out a bit differently. The scene in question occurs relatively early in the story (and has featured prominently in trailers), and involves the title hero (Brie Larson) pursuing a shape-shifting Skrull onto an elevated train while Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pursues them both in a car. 

As Boden and Fleck explain, the scene was heavily inspired by the 1971 thriller The French Connection, which also features a car pursuing an elevated train. The directors were particularly inspired by the idea that Carol Danvers would step onto the train to look for her suspect, but also be well aware that because Skrulls can shape-shift, her target could be anyone. That meant they were free to simply pick from any number of options and launch a fight scene. As the film's first trailer heavily showcased, the eventual choice was a sweet-looking old woman (played by Marilyn Brett) who smiles at Carol before Carol draws back and punches her in the face. 

The moment was shocking to some viewers who didn't know what a Skrull was or what a Skrull can do when the trailer was first released, but in the final film it plays as a nice piece of a comedy before kicking off a fight between a superhero and someone who looks like a grandmother. According to Boden, though, the filmmakers also went with an even more mismatched choice.

"We knew that we wanted to have a fight between Captain Marvel and whoever this Skrull was hiding in the skin of on the train," she said. "Initially we had thought 'What if it's a little kid?' Like, wouldn't that be funny to see her fight a little kid? And then we thought 'No, but what if it's like the sweetest, nicest looking grandma? The most innocent person you could imagine, the kind of grandma sweater, and the dress, and the stockings, and giving her glasses is just an added plus because you're really never supposed to his somebody with glasses. Or so I'm told, which is why I wear glasses."

So, one of the most memorable moments in Captain Marvel was almost memorable in a very different way. Somewhere in another universe there's a cut of this movie where a little kid is spin-kicking Brie Larson in the face.

But that's not all the hypothetical punching we almost got. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, co-writer Nicole Perlman revealed that one of the earliest ambitions of the screenplay was to conoct some way for Carol to punch a dinosaur, as she did in early issues of writer Kelly Sue DeConnic's run on Captain Marvel, which heavily influenced the story. 

"I really wish we could have her punch a dinosaur like she does in one of Kelly [Sue DeConnick ]'s comics," Perlman said.. "But then we would have had to put a dinosaur in this film."

"But that was something regularly talked about!" co-writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet added. 

Basically, the overall impression here is that Carol Danvers will punch just about anything that gets in her own. Look out, Thanos.

Captain Marvel is in theaters now.