The odd thing about introducing Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel is she’s essentially part of a dynasty. She isn’t the first person to use the title (she’s not even the first woman), and she spent over thirty years as Ms. Marvel before filling her mentor’s shoes. Fitting that history into a new universe might prove to be difficult, let alone explaining it one movie, and a streamlined origin just makes sense. But with Carol specifically, whose stories have actively dealt with her legacy, how do you balance new specifics with staying true to her character?
That’s the challenge set before Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel screenwriter Nicole Perlman, one she addresses on Any Time With Vin Forte:
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a project where I’ve been more mindful about the impact that it could have and the importance of it. She’s obviously such an incredibly kick-ass character and Kelly Sue DeConnick did a great run with her story arc recently. But here’s the thing, if you were just going to do a straight adaptation of the comics, her origin story is very similar to Green Lantern. And obviously, that’s not what we want to do. There’s a lot of reinvention that needs to happen. And also, she’s her own person and she’s a great character.”
Perlman, who’s writing the film with Inside Out’s Meg LeFauve, was once part of Marvel’s writers program (we’re talking pre-Avengers days, folks), so she knows her way around adapting these properties. There’s a lot of material to draw from, be it Brian Reed’s Ms. Marvel run or DeConnick’s more recent stuff, but as far as Carol’s origin goes, Perlman is spot on about the Green Lantern comparison. They were both Air Force pilots who got their powers from alien protectors (although I don’t think Hal and Abin-Sur were involved), but with the Kree having already been set up in Guardians, that element of her story will likely come into play.
Will the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel, have anything to do with her? If he exists in this universe, will he show up on Earth at all? It’s hard to say at this point since Perlman is tight-lipped, but as she notes, Captain Marvel’s potential impact is something to be considered. Not only is this the first Marvel film headlined by a woman, it’s the first written by women as well. Introducing Carol in the role of Captain (as opposed to Ms. Marvel) widens the spectrum of possibility for young girls who might be watching, and I wonder if there’s been talk about how having inherited the title from a man might impact her story. They could very well split the difference and have Mar-Vell simply be a mentor as opposed to the original – it’s where she could get the name, and paying homage is a big part of Carol’s M.O.
Either way, it’s good to know that this amount of thought is going in to the character. Captain Marvel flies onto screens March 8th 2019, but we’ll likely see her in action in Avengers: Infinity War. Let the countdowns begin.