The calls for diversity in the realm of comic book movies have been met with large successes. This year saw the introduction of Chadwick Boseman’s (Gods of Egypt) Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and Gal Gadot’s (Keeping Up with the Joneses) Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Both characters are set to receive their own solo movies over the next year and a half, proving the thesis that comic book movies have room for all people among their ranks. While the movement may have been slow, it’s all culminated into a genre that’s all inclusive, with appeal to wider and wider audiences. This is especially true for females.
While the call is still out for Scarlett Johansson (Sing) to star in her own Black Widow movie, attention now is turned to another female hero in the Marvel ranks, Captain Marvel. Brie Larson (Room) is set to star in Captain Marvel following the character’s introduction in Avengers: Infinity War in 2018. Her casting was a stunning coup for Marvel. Announced shortly after the actress won an Academy Award, Larson adds to the phenomenal pool of star power and talent already in the Marvel roster. Beyond that, the importance of the character herself cannot be overstated, and the difficulties of getting it right are not lost on Kevin Feige.
Marvel’s creative head recently spoke on the importance of Captain Marvel and the pains they’re going through in order to make the movie right in an interview with Variety. In it, Feige spoke on why Larson was cast in the role as well as the search for the appropriate director for the film, who Feige says should be female.
“The comics have always been progressive. They’ve showcased all sorts of different cultures and ethnicities. And we want to stay true to that. When you look at Black Panther — when you look at Captain Marvel, which will be Brie Larson in the title role — it is a very important thing for us to have diversity both in front of the camera and behind the camera.
“Having a female director at the helm to tell the story of a woman who is also our most powerful hero by far is very important to us.”
Marvel’s commitment to diversity has been well documented over the years, and it’s good they’re sticking by that as they develop their cinematic properties. More than mere lip service, this is a philosophy they’ve put in action previously with Ryan Coogler (Creed) helming Black Panther and the recent announcement that the second season of Jessica Jones would feature all female directors. Additionally, Captain Marvel already has two female writers, with Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) penning the script.
Beyond those logistics, however, bringing Captain Marvel to life offers other difficulties, namely humanizing a character known for such immense power and strength. This played heavily into the casting of Larson, according to Feige.
“With Captain Marvel, who has powers that approach a level that we haven’t seen before in our films, you need to counter- balance that by finding somebody who is also very human and very relatable and can get into a groove with the audience, where they’re willing to see her fly through the sun and punch a moon away from a spacecraft. At the same time, we need her to land and have relatable flaws. Brie is a person you’re going to want to go on this journey with, just like Benedict or Robert or Chris Pratt.”
Larson has an inherent relatability about her that will make it easy for fans to accept her role in the larger MCU. Feige’s right in that we haven’t seen a character so powerful yet in the MCU, even with all the strength and superhuman abilities we’ve seen so far. Too often, movies will ignore the human sides of their characters in the hopes that the superheroism will be the selling point. But part of Captain Marvel’s appeal in the comics lies with her alter ego, Carol Danvers.
Larson does indeed bring a vulnerability to the role that matches Marvel’s overall commitment to showcasing all sides of the characters, not just their superhuman sides. Part of what makes Captain America so great is watching Steve Rogers; so too with Iron Man and Hulk. It’s good to see Marvel continuing that commitment as they look to bring their first female superhuman to the big screen, and Larson is a great pick to show the parallel paths of both Carol and Captain Marvel.
It’ll be some time before we finally see either character in action, however. It’s nearly a year and a half until her first appearance in Infinity War, and without a director there’s little we know about what’s in store for the character. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for more news, however, and will update you as it’s available.