Marvel Comics has its share of tough female superheroes, and Carol Danvers – AKA Captain Marvel – is one of the most popular and powerful of them all. She’s the perfect choice to lead the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female superhero franchise.

“Having a female superhero franchise title character for the first time feels overdue, and it’s something that we have been excited about for a long time…” says producer Kevin Feige of the newest member of the MCU.

“The great thing with Captain Marvel is that she is human,” he continues. “There’s a real person in Carol Danvers who gets these incredible powers and has these amazing adventures in outer space. But, as with all the best Marvel characters, she needs to be very human. So, this is not just about somebody who is incredibly powerful and can fly around and shoot photon blasts out of her arms. It’s somebody who’s very human, who’s very vulnerable, and who has multiple dimensions.”

Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz adds, “Carol Danvers has always been a character fans have had a lot of love for, and she has a really unique and cool voice in the comics. What we wanted to do with Captain Marvel was to give Carol a chance to carve out her own space in the universe and not fit her into the existing continuity or have her show up suddenly on the scene, but really give her a lot of rich, deep connection to the core mythology of the MCU. It’s exciting that we get to introduce fans to this amazing character who has such a deep and abiding fan base in the Marvel Universe.”

As well as introducing Marvel’s new poster girl to the masses, Captain Marvel approaches the traditional origin story from a new angle. When we first meet Carol Danvers she is already in possession of her superpowers. A human fighter pilot who is now a key member of an intergalactic Kree military team fighting the formidable alien Skrulls, Danvers has a few big questions concerning her past when she winds up back on Earth in the 1990s.

“We’re tackling this origin story from a little bit of a different way, because Carol Danvers’ story sets up the entire MCU, as this film is a pre-Iron Man universe that we’re exploring,” explains co-director Ryan Fleck.

“It’s not meeting her as a human and following a linear trajectory to her becoming a superhero. Carol is trying to figure out how she got from being this human jet pilot to becoming a powerful alien warrior who can shoot photon blasts from her hands.”

Oscar-winner Brie Larson (Room) – who was the producers’ only choice to play the character – notes that the interesting thing about Carol Danvers is the dual nature of the character. “She’s Kree and she’s human. And the Kree are really incredible warriors, hyper-intellectuals and the best at what they do. Then there’s this other part of her that’s human, and that is the loving part of her, but it’s also the part that makes her kind of sassy and a little brash at times. It makes her really emotional. It makes her aggressive and competitive. It’s all of the good and all of the bad in that human side. It’s the flaw, and it’s the best thing about her.”

Brie Larson, surrounded by Marvel companions, at San Diego Comic-Con

In preparing for the role, Larson naturally went straight to the source material – the comic books. “I wanted to know everything,” she says. “So, I read everything I possibly could. I had an app on my iPad that’s basically every Marvel comic that’s ever been created. I just spent hours upon hours going through it and reading everything. There are different illustrators in the comic books, which all have their own take on her. There’s a lot of material for me to work with to create something that can still feel personal to me and can still feel like it’s mine. It is smartly crafted, and Carol is incredibly dynamic, which leaves a lot of room to play.

“It’s such an honour to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and be part of this legacy of characters and storytelling that is so incredibly meaningful to people,” she continues. “These films are part of what’s shaping our culture, who we are, what morals we value. I don’t think that I fully understood the scope of what it meant in the cultural zeitgeist until the announcement came out that I was going to be playing Captain Marvel. I’ve slowly started to grasp the vastness and gravity of it all.”

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