The Marvel Cinematic Universe turns 10 years old next year, following the release of the original Iron Man back in 2008. It’s only fitting then that Marvel Studios is “commemorating” the occasion with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, a game-changing installment in the MCU that (in combination with the untitled fourth Avengers movie arriving in 2019) will usher in not only Phase 4 of the MCU, but a new era for Marvel’s shared universe in general. That new era will see a number of different superheroes move to the forefront of the MCU, taking the place of current mainstays like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.
Two of the next generation MCU characters, in the forms of T’Challa aka. Black Panther and Peter Parker aka. Spider-Man, debuted in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Similarly, last year’s Doctor Strange introduced Stephen Strange to the MCU, positioning the character as an important player for years to come. Another important player in Carol Danvers aka. Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson), is joining the MCU in-between the release of Infinity War and Avengers 4 – and as the first female Marvel superhero to headline her own solo MCU movie, there’s naturally all the more pressure riding on Ms. Danvers’ shoulders.
Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman is writing Captain Marvel with Megan LeFauve (Inside Out) and spoke about the difficulties presented by the project, during a recent appearance on TBGG Podcast [via MCU Exchange]. She specifically addressed the issue of how the writing process on Captain Marvel has been affected by the fact that it’s the first MCU movie with a title that only includes a female superhero’s name:
I think theres a tendency to have that back and forth conversation of “Should it affect the story at all?” or “Should it affect the writing?” I think that making sure that Captain Marvel is not somebody who is a hero in SPITE of her femininity is important. She’s a very strong character and her being a woman is part of that strength. I will say that there are certain tropes you can get away without having to examine too much if you’re not writing the first female Marvel Studios lead; that could be read into a lot or that could diminish hero own proactivity, strength, and independence. There are things you wouldn’t think twice about Iron Man but you would think twice about for Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel is in the same boat as this year’s DC Extended Universe female superhero solo film Wonder Woman, with respect to Perlman’s comments about the former and the challenges that it presents from a writing perspective. Similar to what Perlman had to say about Carol Danvers’ solo film, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot have been keen to emphasize that their goal with their DCEU film is to not sacrifice Diana Prince’s femininity, in the process of making her a compelling big screen superhero. As such, Perlman’s similar approach should come as welcome news.
There is one major challenge that Captain Marvel faces and Wonder Woman does not; that concerning how it fits into a larger cinematic universe. Wheres Wonder Woman takes place decades before the events of the rest of the DCEU and can thus largely unfold as a standalone superhero origin story, Perlman admitted on TBGG Podcast that Captain Marvel has needed to continuously evolve in order to fit in with Marvel’s in-progress plans for the MCU, post-Infinity War. Perlman also touched on how this makes the process of writing Captain Marvel different than her experience on Guardians of the Galaxy:
It’s a different kind of pressure in a sense. Meg [LeFauve] and I were hired a long time ago but we didn’t have our marching orders until recently. Marvel is a little bit of a house of cards in a sense that everything influences everything around it even if its very modular. Figuring out where the story fits in the MCU influences things as well. She’s an incredible character, but I will also say that since Marvel has done so many movies already, you really have to go out of your way to make sure her story is fresh and doesn’t borrow too heavily from the other films. She’s an incredibly strong and wonderful hero, but all the Marvel characters are. So you just need to figure out how to bring her to life in a way thats unique to her story but in a way that honors the canon and also gearing out the roles that she needs to play with everything that’s going on in the MCU. It’s a little bit of a twister game whereas “Guardians” is very free– where it’s like the sky is the limit. With Captain Marvel, it’s been trying to really figure out who Carol Danvers is and how to just tell a story that fulfills all the structural needs of who she is but also really channels the spirit of who this incredibly powerful and inspiring person is.
By most accounts, Marvel is taking its time on developing Captain Marvel and that extends to not only the writing process, but the search to find a female director who is a good match for the project. The film was once scheduled to hit theaters in 2018, but was subsequently pushed back to 2019 when Marvel finalized its Phase 3 MCU film release slate. Perlman assured TBGG Podcast that she wasn’t “offended” by the delay, saying “I understand that so much of this is about marketing, schedules, things that have very little to do with the story or characters.” If there’s a plus side to the delay though, it’s that now Perlman and LeFauve have additional time to work out how Carol Danvers’ story fits in the greater scheme of all things MCU-related.