Ever since Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) onto the screen in 2008, audiences have been treated to a procession of bombastic blockbusters featuring a raft of incredible superheroes, from Captain America and Ant-Man to Doctor Strange, and, of course, The Avengers.
Captain Marvel arrives on 8 March, the next film from the MCU, and the penultimate film before Avengers: Endgame brings the story to a climax. Promising more adrenaline-fuelled adventure, Captain Marvel is also the first film in the MCU with a single female lead: Brie Larson takes the role of former US fighter pilot Carol Danvers, who becomes one of the galaxy’s strongest heroes. “We’ve always had powerful female characters in our films,” says producer Kevin Feige, referencing Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. “But having a female superhero franchise title character is something we have been excited about for a long time, and we can’t wait to deliver it.”
Captain Marvel is set in the mid-90s and follows Danvers as her DNA is fused with an alien race called the Kree during an accident. As she learns to harness her new abilities, Danvers joins Starforce, an elite Kree military team, and becomes Captain Marvel. Despite her adventures, however, she remains relatably human. “This is not just about somebody who can fly around and shoot photon blasts out of her arms,” notes Feige. “It’s somebody who has multiple dimensions.”
That’s also an accurate description of actress Larson, who won an Academy Award in 2016 for her performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, and who has also impressed in Free Fire and Kong: Skull Island. For the actress, stepping into the role of Captain Marvel brings a chance to break essential new ground. “It’s an honour to be part of this legacy of characters and storytelling that is so incredibly meaningful to people,” she says. “These films are part of what’s shaping our culture, who we are, what morals we value. I don’t think that I fully understood the scope of what it meant in the cultural zeitgeist. I’ve slowly started to grasp the vastness of it all.”
Larson isn’t the only member of the Captain Marvel cast to be making their first foray into the MCU. Alongside familiar faces like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury (albeit with two eyes rather than one), and Djimon Hounsou, reprising his Guardians Of The Galaxy role of Korath, are newcomers including Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Talos, leader of the alien Skrulls; Gemma Chan, as expert sniper Minn-Erva; Annette Bening, and Jude Law, as a Kree Starforce Commander. “I’ve been a fan [of the MCU] for a long time,” says Law, “and to be able to be part of the things that I admire and love is a thrill.”
Indeed, with the MCU so adored by international audiences, talented film-makers were needed to guide Captain Marvel onto the screen. For this mammoth task, Marvel looked to writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who together helmed 2010 comedy It’s Kind Of A Funny Story and 2015 drama Mississippi Grind, and have also written the Captain Marvel screenplay, along with Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Jac Schaeffer. “One of the things that drew us to the character was the fact that she was a really powerful interesting, unique and independent female,” explains Boden, who, fittingly, is the first female director in the MCU. “We are so excited to be telling this story about somebody who’s not just powerful, but also really complicated and human.”
Anna Boden on Captain Marvel
One of the things that drew us to the character was the fact that she was a really powerful, interesting, unique, and independent female character. We are so excited to be telling this story about somebody who’s not just powerful, but also really complicated and human. We are going to meet a new, extremely important part of the MCU, a new character who is unlike any of the other characters, who is her own unique self, and who goes on a journey of self-discovery, along with the audiences who go to see her. It’s a mystery film, a film of self-discovery, and something that really surprises, and, at the end of the day, we hope it turns your expectations on their head.
Captain Marvel is out 8 March.