Captain Marvel Is A Non-Chronological Superhero Origin Story

Captain Marvel producer Jonathan Schwartz says the movie is structured differently than other superhero origin stories. Beginning with the original Iron Man in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has typically introduced new superheroes by exploring their humble beginnings. Of course, the franchise started to buck tradition in Phase 3, when it introduced versions of T'Challa and Peter Parker who were already superheroes, ahead of their respective solo movies. That trend will continue with Captain Marvel, which adds a few twists to the tried and true superhero origin story formula.

Brie Larson stars in Captain Marvel as Carol Danvers, a character who starts out as a regular human Air Force pilot and goes on to become a member of the elite Kree military team Starforce. However, as the Captain Marvel trailers have illustrated, the movie begins with Carol having already transformed into a Kree super-warrior and follows her as she returns to earth to battle the Skrulls and, in the process, ends up learning more about her past on earth. According to the movie's creatives, they were very conscious about their efforts to mix up the superhero origin story formula this way.

Related: Captain Marvel Trailer #3 Breakdown: 14 New Story Reveals & Secrets You Missed

Screen Rant visited the Captain Marvel set last year and got to interview the cast and crew about their approach to the film in general. Schwartz, in particular, had the following to say about the movie and how it explores its namesake's origin story in a non-chronological fashion:

... A little bit about how this movie is different structurally from our other origin stories, which is something we were consciously trying to execute. The movie starts with the Captain Marvel character already in outer space, already having superpowers and already fighting on the side of the Kree in the Kree Skrull war. You get a glimpse of her squad there, star force, led by the Jude Law character. Very quickly along this journey they get dispatched on a mission to an alien planet to fight the Skrulls and over the course of that mission, Brie Larson’s character is captured by the Skrulls and then over the course of that adventure she finds herself on Earth, crashing through the roof of a Blockbuster video because it’s the Nineties. And that puts her in contact with the younger, two eyed version of Agent Fury and the two of them together have to stop the Skrull plot on Earth. And at the same time get to the root of Carol’s past. So that’s the bones of the movie.

Based on Schwarz's comments, Captain Marvel will join a growing collection of superhero movies that explore their protagonist's origins in an untraditional manner. For example, last year's Black Panther and Aquaman both reference and/or flashback to events from their leads' past, but primarily take place in the present, when the titular characters have grown up and (mostly) embraced their superhero identities. It only makes sense that more and more superhero adventures are mixing things up this way, in light of the sheer number of linear superhero origin stories that've hit the big screen in the past twenty years. Last month's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse even included a running joke about how everyone in the world already knows the Spider-Man origin story by heart.

This also explains why Marvel Studios is being so cagey about revealing who, exactly, Jude Law is playing in Captain Marvel. In fact, on the film's set, Law told us he couldn't really talk about his character's relationship with Carol or how they met "because of the order in which the story is told". The suggestion appears to be that as Carol learns more and more about her past, she comes to realize that Law's character has lied to her about where she comes from and/or how the pair crossed paths in the first place. We'll see if that's the case when Captain Marvel hits the scene two months from now.

MORE: Captain Marvel: Every Update You Need To Know

Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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