Out of all the excitement at New York Comic Con this past week, there was a bit of Captain Marvel news. It seems that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said two things:
1) "Captain Marvel" will be an origin story (as revealed in an interview with Cinema Blend)
2) Captain Marvel will be the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
You can read all the various announcements and clickbait from the links below. Here is what is important about this news:
When the first modern superhero movie, "Superman: The Movie," came out in 1978, it began with the origin of Superman. When "Batman" came out in 1989, it included the heroe's origin. Almost every successive Batman movie included something about his origin. The Captain America, Punisher, and Fantastic Four movies of the late 1980's through the 1990's all included their origins. Each of the Spider-Man franchises on TV and theaters since the 1970's began with origin stories. Even independent and lesser-known heroes characters like Darkman and The Mask told origin stories.
Frankly, it gets a little boring. For a long time my favorite superhero movie was "Batman Returns" because it was the only one that did not replay the freakin' origin of Batman!
Now, however, that the Superhero movies of the New Millennium have proven the profitability of the genre, and one after another character is given their own movie series, creators are free to move beyond the origin stories and get right down to the adventure. This has made the movies much less repetitive and more watchable.
So now that it has been announced, in a throwaway sentence fragment as part of a larger conversation, that "...Captain
Marvel is certainly an origin story from the start," We will all collectively hope that the movie will be more than a re-hash of the familiar superhero tropes, different only in the names and places.
One indication that this might be the case is that screenwriter Nicole Perlman has revealed that they would not be sticking with the origin of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel that is in the comics.
I am wary of what this may mean. The reasoning behind whatever changes they make has been announced to be because it is felt that the origin of this Captain Marvel is too similar to Green Lantern (here is how Time reported it). To wit: and alien comes to Earth and gives a human his powers when he dies. That is an over-simplification of what happened in the case of Marvel Comics' Captain MArvel, and it seems pretty disingenuous. Mar-Vell (Marvel's first Captain Marvel) operated on Earth for years before Danvers got her powers, he did not die until years later, and Danvers was not involved in the story of his death at all (I will have to ask Jim Starlin about why that is, but I suspect it was simply because he simply did not think of it). More recently, Mar-Vell was brought back to life in the "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline, and died saving the universe, after which Danvers was inspired to take on his name and legacy.
But regardless of whether you think the Mar-Vell-Danvers origin story is too much like the Abin Sur-Hal Jordan origin story, the fact is that Mar-Vell is the original Marvel Comics Captain Marvel. He was a good character, subject to many conflicts and challenges, and hit a new level or awesomeness when he became the "protector of the Universe" with the Cosmic Awareness granted him by Eon. He was also the first hero to face Thanos and defeat him when he was on the threshold of victory, conquering the universe and giving it to his love, Death. It would be a shame if, in their interest to create a new origin story, that they leave him out of it.
So much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both seen and announces as to be seen, is built upon element that first appeared as part of Mar-Vell's stories or were significantly involved with Mar-Vell. This includes Ronan the Accuser and the entire Kree race, Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Eon, evena tiny Easter egg reference to "Richard Jones." I, for one, will be very disappointed if Mar-Vell does not show up in there somewhere.
As far as the "most powerful character" thing goes, remember that in Marvel Comics' "House of M" storyline, Carol Danvers was "Captain Marvel, the world's greatest hero" (this was still some years before the became Captain Marvel for the present). Recently ishe has displayed great strength, speed, and invulnerability, in addition ot her power-absorption and projection. IT is not too far a stretch to have her trading blows with Thor and the Hulk as they have been presented so far. It will give the MCU a woman of equivalent power levels as the big boys, and that is always good for broadening the market base.
We still have over two years to go before his movie comes out, and a director has not yet been chosen. But at least it's nice to see that Ms. Larsen is getting into the role...
(from her Twitter post with the text "LARSON INDUSTRIES R&D DEPT.")
Brie Larsen tweeted this picture, announcing to the world that she is Captain Marvel.
At the beginning of June, Variety reported (and other websites like Entertainment Weekly picked up on it) that Oscar-winning actress Brie Larsen was "in talks" about playing Carol Danvers, AKA Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel.
Yesterday, at San Diego Comic Con, the official announcement was made. Here is a smattering of websites on which it was reported, as of right now (look at the time stamp on this post).
One fascinating, but not unexpected, thing about this list is the high-profile, female-targeted websites (Glamour, Vanity Fair, etc). This will be the first major company, female-led superhero movie ever. Other female superheroes like Wonder Woman have been on TV, female characters from smaller companies like Barb Wire have had their movies, and Halle Berry's Catwoman was technically a "villain," had a movie, but in this new wave of high-profile, mega-blockbuster, critically acclaimed superhero movies, no females have been the headliner. This is the first.
This has been such a big deal that the clickbait mill has been working overtime on the casiting. Names like Emily Blunt, Katherine Winnick, Katie Sackoff, Natalie Dormer, Rebecca Ferguson, Ronda Rousey, etc, have appeared in headlines designed to make it sound like it was "news" that someone thought they would be right for the role. Some, like Rousey, were vocal in campaigning for the role, but some of these women even embarrassingly had to admit that not only were they unfamiliar with the character, but had never been contacted by anyone about it!
Many of the articles have given capsulized descriptions of the character, but suppose the needs and resources of the medium have led them to leave out a few details. I think it is notable to mention that thought this Captain Marvel will be the first female lead of a Marvel movie, Carol Danvers is not the first female Captain Marvel.
The first female superhero named Captain Marvel was Marvel Comics' Monica Rambeau in 1982. She was also the first black Captain Marvel and one of the few black female superheroes. DC came next with Jerry Ordway's version of Mary Batson, who, in the "Power of Shazam" series in the 1990's, transformed into a female Captain Marvel. She was not known as "Mary Marvel" until after the series ended. At the beginning of the 2000's, Marvel came back with Phyla-Vell, the cloned sister from a newly-created replacement universe (don't ask) of the then-current Marvel Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell. She was Captain Marvel for a while.
Danvers herself has been Captain Marvel before, in the "House of M" storyline in which the Scarlet Witch had changed reality. That experience kicked of her new Ms. Marvel series, which built up her character until she took on the Mantle of Captain Marvel after the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline.
I am going to be open-mindedly optimistic about this casting decision. Marvel has not gone too terribly wrong yet in their Avengers-related movies (I am not thinking of any of the recent "Fantastic Four" movies), so there is no reason to expect them to have done so now.
On a related note, I would say that with every new news report and mention of Marvel's Captain Marvel movie, my confidence that DC's "Shazam" movie will include a character named "Captain Marvel" gets lower and lower. So far not a single use of the classic name has passed my eyes in anything from DC about the movie that has been announced to be released in 2019. This further makes me think that the hero of that movie will be based on the "New 52" superhero named Shazam. I can't help but think that such a movie would have an uphill battle with regards to being something that would be...well...good. I have nightmarish visions of overblown, confusing mash-ups of concepts, characters, and storylines from DC Comics mixed with things that would be completely made up for the movie.
I really hope that is not the case.
Videos regarding the Brie Larsen announcement:
These videos are all of the "announcement," which was actually a surprise addition to the Marvel movie panel at San Diego Comic Con. Pretty much all these videos seem to be from the video camera-phones of people in the audience.
...and a bit of pre-announcement clickbait video...
If you want to see more reports and reactions to the news that Brie Larsen was "in talks" back in June, go here, or just search for "Brie Larsen Captain Marvel"
When I worked in the insurance industry, I looked up everything I could on the Interwebs about the Affordable Care Act (at the time I even wrote a parable about insurance that a comic book fan would understand. It's called "The Comic Book Reader's Protection Act"). Through this research I found out a lot about the ACA, aka "Obamacare." But I found out even more about people's opinions about the ACA, and I figured out a lot about how the Internet works.
Step 1: Find a news item about something.
Step 2: Make up an exciting, incindiary headline, in the form of a question if possible.
Step 3: Use enough keywords, search engine optimization, and clickbait techniques to get people to go to the page.
Such has been the techniques used to flood Google Alert settings of "Captain Marvel" with reports of everyone from Natalie Dormer to Emily Blunt to Natasha Richardson to Katheryn Winnick to Charlize Theron to Rhonda Rousy as being someone who may play Carol Danvers in the movie scheduled for release in 2018, regardless of the fact that THE SCRIPT ISN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET! (But then again, Dwayne Johnson has officially announced that he is going to play Black Adam in the2019 movie, so what do I know?)
Well, finally, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and producer Jeremy Lachtman have come out and explained why there have been no official announcements about who will play, or is even being considered to play, the lead role in Marvel's first female-led superhero movie ("Elektra" doesn't count because it was not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and she was really more of an anti-hero, anyway).
Based on both confirmed and unconfirmed reports and creative speculation, the idea is now kicking around the Interwebs that Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel will be appearing in one of the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity Wars" movies before her own eponymous film.
To sum up, it has been confirmed by the people who made such decisions that 1) Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel was, at one point, going to appear in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but then was written out, and 2) that she is not going to appear in the next "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie. with rumors and reports running rampant that several major characters are going to be killed in the Infinity Wars, this would make room for a character like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel to fill in the void.
Personally, as I posted in my first article in MoviePilot, I think that it would be very nice if somehow Captain Mar-Vell, Marvel's first Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior/cosmic space hippie, were to be involved with Carol's storyline and origin. It was his heroic example of courage, decency, and self-sacrifice that inspired Carol to be the superhero she is; his mission to Earth, battle with Colonel Yon-Rogg, and DNA that gave her the powers to become Ms. Marvel; and his battle with Thanos that put the villain on the map. To have Carol, Thanos, Ronan, the Kree, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, and the Cosmic Cube all in the same Cinematic Universe and not have the one character that tied them all together in the comics appear in the movies just seems like a waste of a great character.
Sometimes a superhero gets to be a
real-life good guy – or girl.
At least three Captain Marvels have had stories in which they face,
and battle, bigotry, prejudice, and disctimination. In "Mr. Tawny Gets a
New Home" from 1947, the original Captain Marvel helps Mr. Tawny
against a neighborhood group that doesn't want tigers moving into the
neighborhood. Marvel Comics' Captain Mar-Vell, as a "white" Kree, not of pure "blue"
Kree blood, found himself to be a pawn of the political maneuverings of
Zarek, a high government official who hated the "inferior" white Kree.
Monica Rambeau faced the "glass ceiling" as a woman at her job in the New Orleans
Harbor Patrol, and later appeared in a one-shot issue about racial
bigotry on a college campus.
Now the new Ms. Marvel it taking on anti-Islamic sentiment on the streets of San Francisco.
Not too long ago the mantle of Ms.
Marvel was dropped by Carol Danvers, the character who had carried it
from its inception as that of the “First Feminist Superhero” in
the 1970's. Now it has been taken up by Kamala Khan, a teenage
Muslim Afghan-American girl in New Jersey. She has the power to make
herself or parts of her body change shape or grow bigger or smaller
according to her imagination and willpower.
In both cases these heroes have stood
for a minority that had recently become talked-about in the news and
were finding their voice. The feminist movement had grown in the
1960's and hit the mainstream in the 1970's with Ms. Magazine and the
drive for the Equal Rights Amendment. Since the attack on the World
Trade Center on 9/11/2001, Muslims in America have become more
visible, even if a lot of that visibility comes from people noticing
them for the first time and associating them with the terrorists who
committed the attack.
One particular example of this
attention has over the past few years, been coming from a group
calling itself “The American Freedom Defense Initiative.” This is
a group founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer in 2010 and also
goes by the name “Stop Islamization of America,” which pretty
much tells you everything you need to know about its political
leanings. (the Wikipedia listing is at
and if you want to see what they write about themselves, go to
One of the things for which it has
become known is buying ads on buses. In the particular instance of
interest to the Captain Marvel diaspora, is this one (shown in versions seen on Washington DC and San Francisco buses, respectively):
It purports to show one Grand Mufti Haj
Amin al-Husseini, “Leader of the Muslim world,” in conference
with Adolph Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany
I looked up this Grand Mufti on
Wikipedia and a few other sites. He is a very interesting character
with an adventurous history of wars, revolts, riots, nationalism,
conflict and cooperation with various sides of colonial issues,
arrests, etc, etc. His title of “Grand Mufti” was apparently
gained through some nifty maneuvering and assistance by British
authorities, and though it did give him great influence over many
Muslims and Islamic organizations and leaders, he was not exactly
“leader of the Muslim world,” as the poster says. Nonetheless, he
did have meeting with Hitler and did actively work to forward the
cause of Axis victory. He did state that he wanted to rid the Muslim
world of Jews, although whether or not he supported their
extermination seems to depend on which website you read.
The point here, however, is that this
poster attempts to equate Islam with hatred of Jews, and that we
therefore should hate Islam. There are some people in this world who
object to characterizing Muslims this way.
It just so happens that the new Ms.
Marvel is Muslim, an Pakistani-American teenage girl in Jersey City,
New Jersey named Kamala Khan. She has proven to be a very popular
character not only among Muslims and girls, but comic readers in
general, even expanding her popularity beyond the general comic book
In a brilliant piece of unsanctioned
guerrilla usage of a culture-specific superhero icon, someone in San Francisco used
images of Ms. Marvel and text expressing indignation against hatred,
bigotry, and Islamophobia to deface the bus ads there, covering them up
almost entirely. The only words left clearly visible were “STOP THE
HATE...to Islamic countries.”
Ms. Marvel writer and Kamala Khan writer C. Willow Wilson tweeted about this, supporting the First
Amendment rights of free speech of both the advertisers and the
artists, and supporting the message her character was being used to
You can see accounts or this at the
I feel dirty for even doing this, but...there is a new "hot rumor" making the rounds of the clickbait. sites. It is that Rebecca Ferguson is "at the top of Marvel's list" to play Captain Marvel in the 018 movie they have scheduled.
This rumor comes to us courtesy Umberto Gonzalez on HeroicallyHollywood.com, a website of which I have never heard. He claims to have heard this from a reliab el source, but does not seem to have even bothered to try to contact the actress herself or the studio itself.
the story is dutifully reported by ScreenCrush, Moviepilot, and BleedingCool (which makes repeated references to getting "the salt shaker out"), and there will no doubt be more before the night is out.
It seems that these websites use this as an excuse to post pix of the actress, the character, and review the actress' career. None of them seem to have bothered to contact the actress or the studio either.
Am I being jaded and cynical by thinking that this rumor will wind up holding as much water as any and all of the previous ones, which to say, as much as basketball net?
And why do I feel dirty? Because just to keep up my Captain Marvel scholar cred and public profile, I have to waste time posting this with all the appropriate keywords ASAP.
Now this is interesting. In this interview, Dwayne Johnson reveals that
he has been involved with the character of Black Adam and preparing for the role for “eight
years.” That places the beginning of his relationship with the
character right about the time that there were rumors circulating
about him playing the hero of DC's movie about the character marketed
under the trademark “Shazam!”, the original Captain Marvel.
Remember, there were lots of rumors going around back in those heady days of the mid '00's, as the whole superhero-movie thing was starting to heat up. "Shazam!" was being talked about as early as 2003, and was still a going concern as the decade progressed. No fewer than three
scripts were written or being worked on by folks such as William
Goldman and John August and at least two different directors were
attached to the project, Peter Segal being the latest. Jake Gyllenhaal
was at one time rumored to be playing the hero, but that proved to be
a hoax. Brandon Molale promoted himself for the role very heavily at
the time, there was even a MySpace (remember MySpace?) page and a fan
club pushing for it.
Back in '07 MTV Movie Blogs ran a poll.
Rumors were flying that Dwayne Johnson, then more popularly known as
the pro wrestler “The Rock,” would be playing Captain Marvel.
Johnson even came forth and said that people were talking to him
about being in the upcoming “Shazam!” movie (this was before the
“New 52” reboot in which the hero trademarked under the label
“Shazam!” now actually goes by that name). A lot of people,
however thought that he would be even better as Black Adam, the evil
version of the World's Mightiest Mortal from the Middle East 5,000
years ago who had become the toughest bad guy in the DC universe).
Some said this for racial reasons (the Big Red Cheese has always been
depicted as Caucasian, and Johnson is a black-Samoan mix), and some
just would rather see him as the Bad Guy. Johnson has played a
villainous Middle-Eastern monarch before (as the Scorpion King in
“The Mummy Returns”), so why not?
Interestingly, Michael Uslan, the
producer of the Shazam! Project and longtime fan of the hero, told me
that he had not heard about this. So either Johnson was making it up
about talking to people about this, someone wasn't telling Uslan what
was going on, or Uslan had a reason to keep some things on the
In late 2014, however, Johnson started
dropping hints that he would be in a superhero movie. By this time
the “clickbait” phenomena was in full swing, and every
psuedo-news website and geek-fanboy blogger with pretensions to
journalistic credibility and the need for hit counts ran with the
story, despite the dearth of information about the project and
sometimes embarrassing lack of knowledge of the character (this
alleged “investigation” from Entertainment Weekly, for instance, gets remarkable
mileage out of speculation and groundless “insight.” And their
conclusion turned out to be incorrect.
Dwayne Johnson speaks authoritatively
about the character and about superhero mythology these days. He
refers to BA as an “anti-hero” who used to be a slave and at one
point says that superheroes are usually “born into” greatness.
This reveals a shallow surfaceness of his research. The bit about BA
having been a slave is very recent in the development of his
character, and there are plenty of famous superheroes who were not
“born in to greatness” (Superman and Wonder Woman were, for sure,
but Spider-Man, Captain America, and the original Captain Marvel
himself, for instance, were not). Kudos to Johnson, however, for at
least trying to give the impression of comic book super-characters as
being something worth taking seriously.
Johnson is also very conscientiously
maintaining the party line about the name of the hero. I have yet to
hear him utter the name “Captain Marvel” in his interviews since
he started with the hints and intimations in 2014. While he did say
“Captain Marvel” in interviews back in 2007, he is showing
himself a team player and professional spokesperson by staying up to
date with the marketing of the hero of the Shazam franchise.
Multi-talented entertainer, writer, filmmaker, artist, historian, grappler, swordfighter. I am writing a book about the many Captain Marvels, and compete in swordfighting and submission grappling. I make movies, act, sing, and do stage combat, and critique on all media.