Captain Marvel has a long and complicated history at Marvel (and beyond). So who is the latest incarnation of the hero, and how will she finally be coming to the big screen?
Captain Marvel release date: About time
Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel is currently scheduled to break out into her own solo film on March 8, 2019 in both the UK and US.
And she'll hardly be entering a market saturated by female superhero films. Warner Bros and DC beat Marvel to the punch with Wonder Woman, but other than some un-notable exceptions like Elektra and Catwoman, Captain Marvel will be a rare entry in the sausage-fest of the modern superhero movie genre.
Captain Marvel cast: In search of an actress
Emily Blunt was a long-time fan favourite casting, as was Game of Thrones (and Captain America: The First Avenger, remember?) star Natalie Dormer.
Jude Law will join Larson as the male lead in the film. Law will apparently play Carol Danvers' (Larson) mentor D Walter Lawson - the civilian alter-ego of the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, the comics' original Captain Marvel.
Samuel L Jackson will also be returning as Nick Fury – with both of his eyes intact, as the film is set long before Avengers: Infinity War.
Lee Pace is returning as everyone's least favourite MCU villain, Ronan the Accuser, with Djimon Hounsou reprising his role as Ronan's lieutenant, Korath the Pursuer.
In more exciting news, Clark Gregg will make his cinematic return as fan favourite Agent Phil Coulson. As with Fury's eye, that's also possible because Captain Marvel is set in the past, so the fact that actor Clark Gregg has all but confirmed that Coulson died at the end of season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ("My understanding is that Phil Coulson is no longer alive") doesn't play here.
DeWanda Wise had signed on for the movie, but was forced to drop out over a scheduling conflict with her Netflix series She's Gotta Have It. British actress Lashana Lynch has stepped in to replace her. And the brilliant Annette Bening is also believed to be joining the cast in her first superhero role.
Female directors Elizabeth Wood (White Girl), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland, Mad Men), Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and Rebecca Thomas (The Little Mermaid) were all rumoured for the movie. Marvel finally announced It's Kind of a Funny Story and Mississippi Grind directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would helm the film. So that's half an MCU movie directed by a woman then...
Inside Out's Meg LeFauve and Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman wrote the first draft of the script, with the Tomb Raider reboot's Geneva Robertson-Dworet coming on board in August 2017 for a rewrite.
Captain Marvel plot: Who is Captain Marvel?
Captain Marvel will be the MCU's first flashback film, set before the rise of the Avengers.
Here's the official synopsis:
"The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
Fury (before the loss of his eye) will be on hand to help Carol get to grips with her powers - apparently she'll be more powerful than any MCU character we've seen so far - and the pair will be going up against Marvel's classic shapeshifting aliens, the Skrulls.
"We wanted to explore a period before Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury had any idea about any of the other heroes and crazy stuff going on in the world," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told EW.
"You know, we first met Nick when he told Tony, 'You're part of a big universe. You just don't know yet'. Well, we want to go back to a time when he didn't know it yet, and really showcase and announce that Carol Danvers was that first hero that Nick came across. That meant she could be the singular hero, but place it within timing of the MCU.
"It also got us talking about different genres, exploring this notion of sort of the '90s action film. We hadn't necessarily done anything like that before either, so there are definitely homages to our favourite '90s action films within Captain Marvel."
Official concept art of the villainous Skrulls for the CAPTAIN MARVEL movie!- MCU News & Tweets (@MCU_Tweets) July 23, 2017
(via @JimPhan91) pic.twitter.com/l6rdjOH6Ns
Producer Nate Moore has also promised that this will be a more subversive origin story, revealing that the team has stumbled upon a non-traditional structure to tell Carol Danvers' story. So don't expect the standard gain powers, harness powers, fight villain structure most origin stories follow.
"As we introduce new characters moving forward, we want to find ways to subvert that structure, so at least the experience of the film feels new to audiences," he explained.
Jude Law is on board, probably as the first Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell (Carol is the latest, and technically seventh hero to hold the title). He is expected to play the mentor to his successor. With Ronan and Korath back, we're expecting a big focus on the Kree, who have already played a major role in Agents of SHIELD.
Captain Marvel's history is very complicated, so here's a quick rundown:
Marvel's original Captain Marvel (not to be confused with DC's older Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam) was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1967. He was an officer in the alien Kree military pun-tastically called Mar-Vell. He was assigned to monitor Earth but eventually sided with humanity against his own race and proceeded to join the Avengers and fly around the universe with the power of his Nega-Bands™.
You'll never guess what happened in the 1982 graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel – but it is considered a landmark for its portrayal of his death not by supervillain but by cancer. Mar-Vell has (for the most part) remained dead ever since.
He was followed by African American harbour patrol lieutenant turned superpowered Avengers leader Monica Rambeau, then his artificially created children Genis-Vell and Phyla-Vell, both of whom had a hard time of it before ending up very dead.
And so we get to Carol Danvers, our newest Captain Marvel. The former US Air Force pilot had a long connection to Mar-Vell, and it was in his comic that she received superpowers when an accident fused his Kree DNA with her human genetic material. She adopted the codename Ms Marvel – which she would keep for many years between short-lived experiments with names like 'Binary' and 'Warbird' – and has been a long-time member of the Avengers.
This original will apparently tweaked – to stop it clashing with Green Lantern, of all things.
"I don't think I've ever had a project where I've been more mindful about the impact that it could have and the importance of it," writer Nicole Perlman told Any Time with Vin Forte. "She's such an incredibly kick-ass character and Kelly Sue DeConnick did a great run with her story arc recently.
"But here's the thing, if you were just going to do a straight adaptation of the comics, her origin story is very similar to Green Lantern. And obviously, that's not what we want to do. There's a lot of reinvention that needs to happen. And also, she's her own person and she's a great character. We have to be aware of what's happened in other Marvel film and makes sure that her particular storyline is unique and fun and also fits in within this world that's going on at the same time."
Carol has had her share of knocks too, including losing her powers, a fight with alcoholism, and the infamous storyline in which a man controlled Carol mind to impregnate her with... himself.
Still, as a character she survived and thrived. In 2012, Marvel decided that 'Ms Marvel' was a bit regressive as far as superhero names go (not to mention THAT costume), and gave her the classic title, although they proved to be a bit nervy about committing to a short hairstyle for Carol's new look.
With her Superman-style strength, flight and invulnerability, she was also a recent member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Under writer DeConnick, the new Captain Marvel built a committed internet following called the Carol Corps.
There's no doubt that the choice of Captain Marvel as Marvel's first solo superhero movie gives the studio a lot of scope for stories. Carol has a big playground, with space for an Avengers-centric tale, a space epic, a military thriller or some light-hearted Top Gun-style flying japes. They couldn't ask for a better opportunity to help us forget that Catwoman ever happened.
Captain Marvel will somehow tie into Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm, although don't ask us how just yet. Coincidentally, sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp will be the first MCU film to name a female character in its title, even if she doesn't get to fly solo.
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