The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain Marvel film has been on the horizon since fall 2014, but we got our first real batch of information about it at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The popularity of Carol Danvers a.k.a Captain Marvel (formerly Ms. Marvel) has only recently risen to Marvel’s A-list with a lead appearance in the comic run Civil War II, but she has been a fan favourite for decades. Her cosmic abilities are arguably stronger and more powerful than any other hero we’ve seen to date in the MCU. Her space-based origins and U.S. military background divide her story evenly between Earth-based action and space adventures.
She has the potential to spearhead a new generation of Avengers or Guardians, as well as other incarnations of the “Marvel” name. And with Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson as the titular superhero, there are a lot of reasons for this film to shine. So, keeping in mind what we already know about Captain Marvel, here are six reasons to hope it will:
6. Marvel’s First Cinematic Female Superhero Lead
Now, just because Wonder Woman was as successful as it was does not mean that any female-led superhero film will be. There are significant differences between Diana Prince and Carol Danvers that make them attractive and interesting characters in their own right. That being said, the excitement around Wonder Woman (and around any Captain Marvel news that has come out) shows that audiences are more than ready for a female-lead MCU film. There have been some great female protagonists already: Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Hope van Dyne/the Wasp, and Peggy Carter. And while we wait patiently for any of the rest to get solo ventures, let’s hope Captain Marvel pools the best qualities of these women and learns from the MCU’s past mistakes.
5. An MCU Prequel (in the 1990s)
One element that will set Captain Marvel apart from the rest of the MCU films (it will be their twenty-first, after all) is that it will be a prequel! Set in the 1990s! Where we have yet to explore in any MCU film or television show! Diving into the history of the MCU has always interested me, and the 1990s is a great chunk of unexplored time for this film to delve into. This setting also means that whatever happens in the film can (and should) have repercussions that flesh out plot points in earlier MCU films.
We can run into younger versions of characters we’ve already seen or older versions of characters from earlier time periods, like Peggy Carter. Captain Marvel‘s 1990s setting should amount to more than a few early Internet references and fashion pieces. It can weave together backstories of other films while telling its own story about what Captain Marvel was up to and how she will eventually join up with other characters in the twenty-first century.
4. Talented Directors, Writers, and Actors
When producer and universe-builder Kevin Feige announced that Sundance darlings Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck will direct Captain Marvel, fans immediately took to their computers for a quick Google search. What they found impressed them, as directors partners have worked with a host of acclaimed actors and released films with high audience and critic approval. Like James Gunn or the Russo brothers, Booden and Fleck have yet to direct a large-budget, special effects feature, but their expertise in character work and emotional drama is a much needed backbone for any superhero story.
For casting, the only name released in addition to Brie Larson was Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Nick Fury. Much as he was for Iron Man in the early years of the MCU, Fury could serve as a mentor figure to bring Danvers into other films and franchises. The presence of a MCU veteran like Jackson is nothing but a good sign for fans.
3. Legacy Heroes (i.e. the Original Captain Marvel)
Captain Marvel is a legacy hero, in that there have been multiple people to assume the same name and title. The original Captain, a Kree warrior sent to Earth named Mar-Vell, unwittingly gave Carol Danvers his powers when the two were exposed to the same accidental explosion. Under her first name, Ms. Marvel, Danvers and Mar-Vell shared a number of stories, but she eventually took the name Captain Marvel for herself. It’s reasonable to assume that with actors’ contracts finishing up that we will see core Avengers become legacy characters, namely Captain America. It would make sense to introduce the concept of a legacy hero with Captain Marvel before passing the shield to someone like Falcon or Winter Soldier. Plus, it would allow the MCU to cast a charismatic supporting actor as Mar-Vell, perhaps Orlando Bloom?
2. The Next Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan
Another great aspect of Captain Marvel’s legacy is the ability to introduce Carol Danvers’ successor as Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan. First introduced in 2013, Khan is a shapeshifting, Pakistani-American, teenage girl living in New Jersey that gained her powers through the Inhumans, a race of Kree-human hybrids already present in two MCU television shows. She’s got a lot of the same appeal as Peter Parker, in that they are both much younger than their fellow Avengers and must balance superheroing with high school. When done best, Ms. Marvel can take larger-scale stories and ground them in adolescent realism. Her character adds always-needed diversity to the MCU and would give an aspiring young actress of color an important role in MCU films to come. I could see her as a supporting player in Captain Marvel 2, then featuring in a younger roster of Avengers in the early 2020s.
1. The Skrulls!
The most exciting piece of news out of San Diego Comic Con was the announcement that the villains of Captain Marvel will be the Skrulls. The Skrulls are an imperial race of shapeshifting aliens that can near-perfectly assume anyone’s body and mimic them undetected. They are one side of the Kree-Skrull war which could lead to Captain Marvel fighting in expansive space battles, but perhaps more interesting are their powers of deception and espionage. The still-untitled Avengers 4 could incorporate elements of the comics’ Skrull Invasion, where many of the characters we’ve come to love were secretly replaced with Skrull invaders. The mystery and paranoia of this concept are too good to ignore. And because this film takes place in the 1990s, there may have been Skrulls in the other films under the radar this whole time…
Captain Marvel is scheduled for release on March 8, 2019. That’s a long ways away, so expect plenty more news to come. Until then, sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!