Back in September, Brie Larson set out to break the internet with news of the Captain Marvel film. While some of us foolishly thought that meant the trailer would be appearing (I’m looking at myself, in particular), the first images of Captain Marvel didn’t disappoint.
The images, originally published in Entertainment Weekly, were accompanied by more information about what we can expect to see in the film — including a second trailer which dropped late last night(!) — causing many a FANGRRL to squeal.
Unlike the typical origin story of the MCU films, when we first meet Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, she will already have her powers. And she’ll already have joined the elite Kree military team, Starforce, seemingly in a battle against the Skrulls.
We have every right to be giddy about the arrival of the strongest hero in the MCU (and her future inclusion in Avengers 4), but we can’t forget all the women, both fictional and real, who are a part of bringing Captain Marvel’s story to the big screen.
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)
At San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, Marvel announced that Brie Larson would be playing Captain Marvel. While some questioned her suitability for the role, Kelly Sue Deconnick, who wrote the groundbreaking Captain Marvel comic, told Vanity Fair she was “psyched” about the casting. (And, hopefully, the recently released photos will put any other doubts to rest.)
Larson has more than proven her chops in numerous films and has won an Academy Award (and more!) for her performance in Room. In preparation for the role of Carol Danvers, the actor has taken her training very seriously, not just physically and emotionally, but by training with Air Force pilots in an F16 and engrossing herself in the comics.
“You have this Kree part of her that’s unemotional, that is an amazing fighter and competitive,” Larson told Entertainment Weekly. “Then there’s this human part of her that is flawed but is also the thing that she ends up leading by. It’s the thing that gets her in trouble, but it’s also the thing that makes her great. And those two sides warring against each other is what makes her her.”
In the comic books, Carol Danvers gets her powers, including the ability to fly and manipulate energy, when the Psyche-Magnitron, a Kree wishing machine, explodes. During the explosion, Danvers’s DNA is combined with that of Mar-Vell, a Kree hero who was also present. Danvers, now a part-Kree, part-human superhero, eventually takes on Mar-Vell’s mantle and becomes Captain Marvel, a leader, powerhouse, and fighter.
Carol sees herself as a Kree as much as a human, so the fact that she leaves Earth to defend the Kree Empire in the film should come as no surprise. Captain Marvel is an utter badass who has saved the world innumerably and does so with a unique flair.
Oh captain, my captain!
Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch)
Lashana Lynch has made a name for herself as Rosaline Capulet in the Shonda Rhimes period drama, Still Star-Crossed. The actor will also be playing Agent 355 in the upcoming FX show, Y: The Last Man. After Entertainment Weekly released photos from Captain Marvel, many on Twitter celebrated the representation of women, particularly a black woman, as Air Force pilots. When The Women’s Military Memorial tweeted out their gratitude for Lynch, she replied, “I’m so grateful we get to represent you and you’re a part of the change with us.”
Lynch will be playing Maria Rambeau, a kickass Air Force pilot with the call sign “Photon,” single mother of a young daughter, and one of Carol’s oldest friends. Many outlets have reported that Maria Rambeau is also the superhero Photon, but that’s not actually true, at least in the comic books. Monica Rambeau, Maria’s daughter, is a superhero with the ability to absorb, generate, and manipulate energy. Monica goes by Photon, among many other monikers, including Captain Marvel. Maria’s choice of call sign is certainly a nod to her daughter who will one day be a friend and teammate of Captain Marvel and the Avengers.
Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)
Gemma Chan, who will be playing Minn-Erva, aka Doctor Minerva, is known for her performance as Astrid in the summer blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians, and as the Synth, Mia, in the science fiction show, Humans. While Chan has described being excited about Captain Marvel, she’s been tight-lipped, citing a desire not to anger Marvel Studios.
Minn-Erva will be a Kree geneticist and Starforce teammate in the film. In the comics, Minn-Erva comes to possess powers very similar to Carol’s, also conferred by the Psyche-Magnitron, and frequently tries to release mutagenic viruses and the like on the unsuspecting people of Earth. Given that Captain Marvel is set prior to the current MCU timeline, we will likely see the two future enemies as friends first, but hopefully, Marvel won’t kill Minn-Erva off just yet, instead, providing Captain Marvel with the challenge of a female villain who knows her weaknesses.
Annette Bening’s role in Captain Marvel is still not clear—Marvel is doing a great job keeping things hush-hush. That said, you can be sure she’s going to be killer, given Bening has won multiple awards for performances in American Beauty and The Kids Are Alright, among other projects.
Some have speculated that Bening will play Marie Danvers, Captain Marvel’s mom, who doesn’t appear very often in the comics. For the film, Danvers’s mother has been rumored to be a scientist, which would be another interesting addition to the story.
Until that’s proven true, I’m holding out hope that Bening will be playing Tracy Burke, one of Captain Marvel’s dearest friends. Throughout the Captain Marvel comic books, Tracy, a magazine editor and out lesbian, provides a counterbalance to the superhero antics and over the top drama that fills Captain Marvel’s life. Their friendship is truly beautiful and provides Carol with a friend and parental figure who accepts, loves, and supports her, but not without getting her digs in.
Marvel executives tapped screenwriter Geneva Robertson-Dworet, who wrote the Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander, to write Captain Marvel. While writing, Robertson-Dworet dedicated herself to bringing not only Captain Marvel’s power but also her humor to the big screen.
“Carol Danvers is one of the funniest comic book characters. She’s so sassy, she’s such a smartass, she won’t take shit from anyone, and the comic books do an amazing job at capturing that voice, and it was important that the entire Captain Marvel creative team [kept to that],” said Robertson-Dworet, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Robertson-Dworet credited Anna Borden, co-director of the film, with helping bring a complex narrative of a female hero to the screen while trying to portray the vast diversity of what women can be.
Anna Boden co-directs Captain Marvel with her creative partner, Ryan Fleck. Boden and Fleck have directed character-driven films such as Sugar, Mississippi Grind, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. And, while Fleck was the director of Half Nelson, their collaboration on the film, which Boden both wrote and produced, further strengthened their creative partnership and equitable billing as co-directors.
When discussing why Boden and Fleck were selected to direct Captain Marvel, Kevin Feige, head dude of all things MCU, told Fandango, "Anna and Ryan just had an amazing way of talking about Carol Danvers and talking about her journey." Feige was hopeful that the pair would bring something novel to the film, noting, "We want filmmakers that can help us focus on and elevate the character journey so it doesn't get lost amongst the spectacle. And there's going to be a lot of spectacle in the Captain Marvel film."
Kelly Sue Deconnick
You can’t really tell the story of Captain Marvel, particularly the feminist, feisty Captain Marvel, without mentioning Kelly Sue Deconnick. The comic book writer helped usher in a new suit, a new name, and a new outlook for our hero—all without erasing the 44-year history of Carol Danvers.
Deconnick’s Captain Marvel stole the hearts of many, but she also received criticism from those who claimed her version of Danvers was the result of Deconnick’s angry feminism. In response, Deconnick went on to create Bitch Planet, a comic book so frighteningly relevant and revelatory that it’ll make your feminist heart sing…and cry.