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Nia DaCosta's Hollywood star is quickly shooting into the atmosphere like an Air Force pilot gifted with super-human abilities. The Candyman writer-director is currently deep in production on the biggest project of her career so far: 2023's The Marvels.
And that title carries a big promise — the promise of a team-up between three *cough* MARVEL-ous heroes: Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani).
So far, audiences have only been introduced to two out of three, and when it comes to in-universe interactions, none of these characters have actually met onscreen. While speaking with Inverse's Roxane Gay, DaCosta was asked about how she plans to bring this trio together in the Captain Marvel sequel. Carol and Monica already have a close connection through the latter's mother, of course, but how exactly will Ms. Marvel factor into the story? Moreover, what hero name will Monica adopt after gaining powers from Wanda's Hex? The comics have several monikers for her: Photon, Pulsar, and yes, even Captain Marvel.
"It’s interesting, and something we thought about and worked through a lot, which was how do we get each of these really big, exciting heroes space in a two-hour film?" the director said. "Captain Marvel has a history from the first film, Kamala will have her Ms. Marvel show, and Monica Rambeau, we’ve only seen her a little bit in WandaVision. A lot of what we've been thinking about is what part of the journey do we need to see for each of them? How do we honor the part of the story they're at in terms of the canon, while also within our story making them equal?"
Then it was just a matter of digging back into the comics and seeing what could be added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe without breaking the canon that's already been established by Kevin Feige & co. Not such a tall order for DaCosta who was not only raised on a steady diet of Marvel books, but on the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four cartoons as well.
"My research was going into the history of Carol Danvers first and foremost, because it is a crazy wild ride, what they did to her in the comics in the ‘80s," she explained. "And then with Monica, she’s really fun, her origin story and her introduction in the comics. I tried to not get overwhelmed because, as with most comic book heroes, there are like seven different origin stories and there’s different power sets that kind of contradict and don’t really overlap well. It was really choosing what’s been established already in terms of the MCU and then what’s going to work, most compellingly, for our story. You read enough so you can stop reading, in a way."
With her 32nd birthday approaching next month, DaCosta is the youngest filmmaker to ever tackle a Marvel feature. While the director is definitely feeling a certain amount of pressure in that unofficial role, she doesn't let it get in the way of her work.
"To get through the day and to get through this movie, I am just like, 'I’m doing a cool job. It's really great that I like my job a lot,'" she said. "Every so often, I’ll have a 'Holy sh**, I’m making a Marvel movie' reminder to myself."
Originally scheduled to open in November of next year, The Marvels will now hit the big screen Feb. 17, 2023.
The sequel delay was part of a larger reshuffling by Disney announced earlier in the week. A number of Marvel films — and the fifth Indiana Jones movie — were all pushed further down the studio's theatrical release calendar.
Disney+ has yet to announce a premiere date for Ms. Marvel, though the series is expected to start dropping in 2022.