Captain Marvel originally included a shout-out to Jim Carrey's 1994 comic book adaptation The Mask, according to the film's directors. The twenty-first movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall, Captain Marvel marks the first solo female superhero adventure for the franchise, as well as the big screen debut for the Carol Danvers character. Oscar-winner Brie Larson plays Carol in the MCU and was praised for her performance ahead of the movie's release, as was the project at large. Clearly, audiences were excited to see the film too, as evidenced by Captain Marvel's massive worldwide box office opening (the sixth highest ever).
In addition to introducing Carol to the MCU, Captain Marvel takes audiences back to the mid-1990s for an adventure full of nods to that decade's pop culture. Indeed, when Carol crash-lands on earth near the beginning of the film, she lands smack dab in the middle of a Blockbuster Video store and is confused by the sight of a promotional cut-out for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1994 movie True Lies (prompting her to blow Arnie's cardboard head off). As it turns out, however, she almost encountered a very different film standee.
In an interview with Empire, Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck revealed that Carol encountered a cardboard cut-out of Carrey from The Mask in the film's earlier screenplay drafts. As Boden explained, they "really wanted" to use The Mask in that scene because of the character's green face, which Carol would mistake for a Skrull. Unfortunately, despite the filmmakers' best efforts, they couldn't make it happen and eventually went with the True Lies cut-out, in its place.
The Mask, as it were, is technically a superhero movie itself and was adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. It certainly would've been appropriate for Carol to encounter a cardboard cut-out for the Carrey vehicle in a Blockbuster store, considering how popular the film was when it hit theaters in '94 (it grossed over $351 million at the global box office). And, of course, like Boden pointed out, a disoriented Carol might've naturally mistaken Carrey's grinning green face for that of a Skrull, shortly after her crash-landing. Still, the True Lies cardboard standee is a fitting replacement, considering that Arnold's action movies were all the rage in the '90s too.
Indeed, Boden noted that Captain Marvel was heavily influenced by “all those Schwarzenegger films from the ‘90s” during the Empire interview, especially movies like Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Total Recall. The Mask, on the other hand, was very much a comedy and seemingly had little to no influence on the movie's actual tone, much less its filmmaking style or themes. That is to say: as funny as The Mask reference would've been, in some ways it's more appropriate that Captain Marvel ultimately tipped its hat to a Schwarzenegger vehicle, instead.
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