In late 2014, Marvel Studios finally announced a feature film that would star a female character as its lead, and it's a project that's not going to rely on a familiar character such as Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow or Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. It is however, a character fans have been dying to see and what that Marvel executives have been namedropping for year: Carol Danvers.
Known for most of her Marvel Comics career as Ms. Marvel, Danvers is the current Captain Marvel in the books and will headline Marvel's film of the same name in 2018. It's very likely fans won't have to wait that long to meet the character however, depending on who you believe...
Since production began on Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron, insider information, apparent leaks and rumors/reports from journalists who claimed to have had access to an early version of the Avengers 2 script, all seemed to point towards the reality that the sequel would include more new characters than are being marketed. Whedon and the studio didn't shy from letting fans know early that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch would be joining the team this time around, but as time went by, it seemed increasingly clear there would be even more.
Paul Bettany, the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man and Avengers movies, was seen participating in costume tests to play The Vision before principal photography on Avengers 2 began - which Marvel didn't eventually officially announce until Comic-Con last summer - and around the same time insiders claimed Ms. Marvel might have a role in the film as well. Given that Guardians of the Galaxy was introducing the cosmic side of the MCU and a certain alien species (also featured in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) important to Ms. Marvel's origin story, it wasn't all too surprising. Marvel co-president Louis D'Esposito even suggested Ms. Marvel could get her own Marvel One-Shot short film to introduce the character not long prior to these events.
Outside of casting rumors, and the reports here and there of high profile actors (Emily Blunt, Ruth Wilson, Jessica Chastain etc.) chatting with Marvel for unspecified roles, there was never any news on the Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers front until Marvel announced Captain Marvel in the fall. A much more recent rumor claimed the character is indeed going to have a cameo in Age of Ultron and that she's already cast. That rumor tied into another previous report which indicated the team-up sequel could conclude with several new Avengers being introduced and recruited in cameo appearances, setting up for future movies. Again, nothing official, but the pieces fit.
Nerdest however, came in last week and attempted to debunk the claim that Danvers has been cast and now we're in another situation with two outlets reporting contradicting scoops, with neither able to confirm their sources. It's a case of rumor vs. rumor where someone or someone's source is making something up. Both possibilities can't be true.
So, let's focus our attention on what is true: Captain Marvel is coming, and regardless of when the character will first be cast and introduced onscreen, the movie needs a director. From the moment the Captain Marvel title card was officially unveiled, speculation pointed towards high profile female directors being looked at for the gig and it didn't take long before Angelina Jolie's name came up, especially after the buzz and critical acclaim for Unbroken.
The Wrap's Jeff Sneider claims in an episode of Meet The Movie Press that he heard something similar recently, that Jolie could direct, but says it's now down to two directors for the job. Sneider joked about being "95% sure" that it's a female director since he also said he's 95% sure that the next Spider-Man will not be a white actor (while Marvel tests white actors). He also says we'll find out the Black Panther and Captain Marvel directors potentially before the summer.
It's a similar situation in the DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. camp who hired a female director to helm Wonder Woman while developing multiple scripts, but for Marvel, there's another layer to the PR angle behind the director's gender since they previously had signed a female director - Patty Jenkins - originally set for Thor: The Dark World but fired her, much to the alleged dismay of star Natalie Portman.
To recap, there are conflicting reports on the casting of Carol Danvers and when she will show up in a Marvel movie, but if Sneider is on the money about a director being chosen soon, then the studio is also closing in on the casting as well - if they haven't already begun. In the comics, there's a lengthy journey between the introduction of Carol Danvers, working at a U.S. Air Force base, to her long career as Ms. Marvel, to taking over the Captain Marvel role in recent years. If the movies mimic that character development arc, it'll be important to get Danvers in the franchise as soon as possible and let her play Ms. Marvel first before passing that title to another character.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.
Header edited from art by Arkenstellar