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Captain Marvel (film)

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Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnna Boden
Ryan Fleck
Produced byKevin Feige
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Music byPinar Toprak
CinematographyBen Davis
Edited by
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • February 27, 2019 (2019-02-27) (London)
  • March 8, 2019 (2019-03-08) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$152–175 million[2][3]
Box office$834.3 million[4]

Captain Marvel is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twenty-first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay. Brie Larson stars as Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Set in 1995, the story follows Danvers as she becomes Captain Marvel after Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds.

Development of the film began as early as May 2013, and was officially announced in October 2014, making it Marvel Studios' first female-led superhero film. Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve were hired as a writing team the following April after submitting separate takes on the character. The story borrows elements from Roy Thomas's 1971 "Kree–Skrull War" comic book storyline. Larson was announced as Danvers at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, with Boden and Fleck brought on board to direct in April 2017. Robertson-Dworet soon took over scripting duties, with the remainder of the cast added by the start of filming. Location shooting began in January 2018, with principal photography beginning that March in California before concluding in July 2018 in Louisiana. Jackson and Gregg—who, among others, reprise their roles from previous MCU films—were digitally de-aged in post-production to reflect the film's 1990s setting.

Captain Marvel had its world premiere in London on February 27, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 8, 2019, in IMAX and 3D. The film has grossed over $834 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2019. Critics described it as "entertaining, enjoyable and savvy" and praised the performances of Larson, Jackson, and Mendelsohn.[5]


In 1995, on the Kree Empire's capital planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers suffers from amnesia and recurring nightmares involving an older woman. Yon-Rogg, her mentor and commander, trains her to control her abilities while the Supreme Intelligence, the artificial intelligence that rules the Kree, urges her to keep her emotions in check.

During a mission to rescue an undercover operative infiltrating a group of Skrulls, alien shapeshifters with whom the Kree are at war, Vers is captured by Skrull commander Talos, taken aboard their Earth-bound vessel, and subjected to a memory probe. Vers escapes and crashlands in Los Angeles. Her presence attracts S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, whose investigation is interrupted by a Skrull attack. In the ensuing chase, Vers recovers a crystal containing her extracted memories while Fury kills a Skrull impersonating Coulson. Talos, disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Keller, orders Fury to work with Vers and keep tabs on her.

Using her extracted memories, Vers and Fury go to the Project Pegasus installation at a U.S. Air Force base, where they discover Vers was a pilot presumed to have died in 1989 while testing an experimental jet engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson, whom Vers recognizes as the woman from her nightmares. A S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Talos disguised as Keller tries to capture them, but they escape in a cargo jet with Lawson's stowaway cat Goose. They fly to Louisiana to meet former pilot Maria Rambeau, the last person to see Vers and Lawson alive.

Rambeau and her daughter Monica tell Vers, who was once close to them, that her real name is Carol Danvers. Talos arrives and reveals the Skrulls are refugees searching for a new home and Lawson was Mar-Vell, a renegade Kree scientist helping them. Talos plays a recovered recording from Lawson's jet, prompting Danvers to remember the crash: Lawson attempted to destroy the engine's energy-core to keep it from the Kree, but was killed by Yon-Rogg before she could. Destroying the engine herself, Danvers absorbed the energy from the ensuing explosion, giving her powers but losing her memory.

Danvers, Talos, Fury and Rambeau locate Lawson's cloaked laboratory orbiting Earth, where Lawson hid several Skrulls including Talos' family, and the Tesseract, the power source of the energy-core. Danvers is captured by Starforce and interfaces with the Supreme Intelligence. During their conversation, Danvers removes the Kree implant that was suppressing her powers, allowing her to reach her full potential. In the subsequent battle, Fury retrieves Goose, who is revealed to be an alien Flerken. Goose swallows the Tesseract before blinding Fury's left eye. Danvers destroys a Kree bomber, forcing Kree officer Ronan the Accuser and his squadron to retreat, before overpowering Yon-Rogg on Earth and sending him back to Hala with a warning to the Supreme Intelligence.

Danvers departs to help the Skrulls find a new homeworld, leaving Fury a modified pager to contact her in an emergency. Meanwhile, Fury drafts an initiative to locate heroes like Danvers, naming it after her Air Force call sign, "Avenger".

In a mid-credits scene, set in the present day, the pager, which Fury activated prior to his disintegration,[N 1] is being monitored by Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, and James Rhodes when Danvers appears and demands to know Fury's whereabouts.[N 2] In a post-credits scene set in 1995, Goose climbs onto Fury's desk and regurgitates the Tesseract.


Brie Larson (top) and Samuel L. Jackson (bottom) with Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, the U.S. Air Force's first female fighter pilot and consultant on Captain Marvel
  • Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Vers / Captain Marvel:
    An ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and member of an elite Kree military unit called Starforce whose DNA was altered during an accident, imbuing her with superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight.[8][9][10] Larson described Danvers as a "believer in truth and justice" and a "bridge between Earth and space",[11] who must balance her "unemotional" Kree side that is an "amazing fighter" with her "flawed" human half that is "the thing that she ends up leading by."[10] Larson also called Danvers aggressive, quick tempered, and invasive, attributes that help her in a fight but prove to be character flaws.[12] Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said Larson was cast because of her ability to balance the character's vast powers with her humanity.[13] Due to concern that Larson (who was 26 when she was cast) was too young to portray an accomplished airman, screenwriter Nicole Perlman consulted with the Air Force who said it was possible for someone "to go very far" between the ages of 28 and 34.[14] Larson trained for nine months for the role, learning judo, boxing, and wrestling.[10][15] She also visited Nellis Air Force Base and met with active duty airmen, including Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt and Thunderbirds pilot Major Stephen Del Bagno in preparation for the role.[16][17][18] Mckenna Grace portrays the 13-year-old Carol Danvers,[16][19][20] while London Fuller portrays her as a 6-year-old.[20]
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury:
    The future director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who at this time is a low level bureaucrat.[21] Fury appears without his signature eye patch as the film is set before he loses his eye.[22] Feige explained that Danvers is the first superhero that Fury has come across,[23] which sets him on a path to where the character is in the modern MCU films.[24] Jackson described Fury at this point in time as a desk jockey, who has not yet become cynical towards bureaucracy and who learns in the film that there are superpowered beings who could help S.H.I.E.L.D.'s cause.[25] Jackson added that trusting Danvers plays a key role in his development as they become "compatriots" over the course of the film.[26] Jackson was digitally de-aged by 25 years, the first time Marvel has done this for an entire film.[27]
  • Ben Mendelsohn as Talos / Keller:
    The shape-shifting leader of the Skrull invasion of Earth, who is working undercover within S.H.I.E.L.D. as Fury's boss, Keller.[28] Mendelsohn described Talos's human persona as "buttoned up" compared to his "more laid back" Skrull persona. Mendelsohn differentiated between the two by using an American accent inspired by former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the human disguise, and his native Australian accent for Talos; the latter was chosen, after a "lengthy discussion", due to what Mendelsohn called an "earthy correctness". The makeup and prosthetics necessary to portray Talos took "a couple of hours" to apply.[28] Executive producer Johnathan Schwartz added that "it's sort of fun to show off both the Skrull's powers and Ben's range as an actor because he's very different in all of those parts."[26] Emily Ozrey and Abigaille Ozrey portray Talos' surfer girl forms while Duane Henry does Talos' Kree soldier disguise.
  • Djimon Hounsou as Korath:
    A Kree mercenary and second-in-command of Starforce.[29][30] Hounsou explained that Korath was "at his infancy" in the film compared to his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), but was "still a humorless machine".[31]
  • Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser:
    A high-ranking Kree official.[29][32] Compared to his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan is not yet a "radical zealot", with his role in the Kree military intersecting with Starforce "in an interesting way".[26]
  • Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau:
    One of Danvers' oldest friends and a fellow Air Force pilot who goes by the call sign "Photon". She is a single mother to daughter Monica. Lynch described Rambeau as "resilient" and someone "that you don't feel like you need to help".[33] Larson called Rambeau "the representation of love" in the film and "an incredible badass". She described the friendship between Danvers and Rambeau as equal, with "a playful competitiveness [and a] mutual respect".[34] Like Larson, Lynch met with active duty airmen in preparation for the role. In particular, she met with pilots who are also mothers. Lynch was excited to portray a character the audience would be proud of and could relate to, especially mothers and members of the black community, helping to continue "a real through-line" for African-American characters in the MCU after Black Panther (2018).[33]
  • Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva:
    A Kree sniper and member of Starforce.[31][35] Chan explained that Minn-Erva was "the star of Starforce" before Danvers joined the team and is "slightly threatened by someone else who has come in and is also very talented."[31]
  • Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence and Mar-Vell / Dr. Wendy Lawson:[36]
    An artificial intelligence that is the collective embodiment of the greatest minds of the Kree people, and the ruler of the Kree Empire.[37][38] The Supreme Intelligence supposedly appears in different forms to a person and appears as Dr. Wendy Lawson to Vers. Jude Law stated each member of Starforce has a "particular relationship" with the Supreme Intelligence, and stated that his character has a "divine sense of purpose because of his relationship with this greater being".[26] Bening also portrays rebel Kree scientist Mar-Vell, who uses the name of Dr. Wendy Lawson to disguise herself on Earth. As Dr. Lawson, she was also Danvers' old boss.[36]
  • Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson:
    A rookie agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who works closely with Fury.[21] Gregg stated that Coulson would be younger in the film and "a bit of a new guy in S.H.I.E.L.D. ... It's the earliest we will have seen him [in the MCU], so when he says, 'Mr. Stark, this isn't my first rodeo' in Iron Man (2008), this is maybe the rodeo he's talking about."[39] He felt "there was something really special about going back to the early days when [Coulson] was just kind of coming up the ranks" and had to work to portray Coulson "a little less crusty and jaded" as he is in the present of the MCU.[21] Responding to the fact that Coulson has encountered the Kree on the MCU television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Schwartz stated that in Captain Marvel, Kree is not even "part of his vocabulary yet" and the film gets "to focus on him as he is so we don't need to worry about the stuff he's going to encounter later".[40] Like Jackson, Gregg was digitally de-aged by 25 years.[27]
  • Jude Law as Yon-Rogg:[20][41]
    The commander of Starforce and Danvers' mentor, who trains her to use her new powers.[12][42][43] Law said that his character is "driven by a belief in the divine leadership of the Kree people. So he's almost a devout warrior—unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational." Law also stated that his character has a special relationship with Danvers, whom he views as a mentee, which becomes a source of tension in the film with the other members of Starforce. Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Tony Stark in the MCU films and who co-starred with Law in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its sequel (2011), counseled him on working with Marvel before Law took the part.[35]

Additionally, Algenis Pérez Soto and Rune Temte portray Att-Lass and Bron-Char, respectively, both members of Starforce; Att-Lass is the marksman of the team, while Bron-Char is the "bigger, stronger guy who fights with his fists".[16][30] Maria's daughter, Monica Rambeau appears, played by Akira Akbar as an eleven-year-old, while Azari Akbar portrays her as a five-year-old.[20][44] Robert Kazinsky appears as a biker nicknamed "The Don".[20] Vik Sahay plays a Torfan.[20] Chuku Modu potrays Soh-Larr.[20] Colin Ford appears as Danvers' brother, Steve,[20] while Kenneth Mitchell plays their father.[20] Danvers' comic book cat Chewie (named for the Star Wars character Chewbacca) appears in the film, renamed Goose for the Top Gun (1986) character Nick "Goose" Bradshaw,[26][45] and is portrayed by four different cats, Reggie, Archie, Rizzo and Gonzo. Each cat was chosen based on their actions and personalities.[26]

Real life air force pilots Matthew "Spider" Kimmel and Stephen "Cajun" Del Bagno appear as themselves.[20] Del Bagno died months prior to the film's release,[46] and it is dedicated to his memory.[47] Captain Marvel comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has a cameo as a train station passerby,[26] and Stan Lee, co-creator of the first Captain Marvel, appears posthumously as himself as a train passenger memorizing the lines for his Mallrats cameo.[48] Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle appear as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Bruce Banner / Hulk, and James Rhodes / War Machine in the mid-credits scene, which ties directly to Avengers: Endgame.[7]



By May 2013, a script for a Ms. Marvel film—the moniker used by the character Carol Danvers before she took the mantle of Captain Marvel—had been written for Marvel Studios through its writing program.[49] Later that year, executive producer Louis D'Esposito said the studio was interested in a female-driven superhero film and had plenty of "strong female characters" from which to choose, suggesting Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Pepper Potts, or Peggy Carter as possible candidates.[50] Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, said that if Marvel was to make a female-led film, he would prefer it to be a new character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Captain Marvel, for whom an origin story could be told.[51] In August 2014, Feige stated that Black Panther and Captain Marvel were "both characters that we like, that development work has been done on and is continuing to be done on" and that the studio is often asked about it by the public, "more than Iron Man 4, more than [Avengers: Infinity War]...I think that's something that we have to pay attention to."[52]

We've been talking a lot about archetypes and what we want this movie to be about and just how to write a strong female superhero without making it Superman with boobs ... we'll catch ourselves and say, 'Wait a minute, what are we saying [here] about women in power?' Then we have to say, 'Why are we getting so hung up on that? We should just tell the best story and build the best character.' And then we have this constant back-and-forth about how to tell a story that is compelling, entertaining, moving, kick-ass, and fun, and also be aware of what those larger implications might be.

—Initial screenwriter Nicole Perlman on creating Marvel Studios' first lead female superhero[53]

In October 2014, Feige announced that Captain Marvel would be released on July 6, 2018, as part of their Phase Three slate of films;[54] it would be the studio's first female-led film.[55] He said Captain Marvel would be based on the Carol Danvers version of the character, and that the film had been in development at the studio "almost as long" as other films like Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) or Doctor Strange (2016) with one of the main issues being "figuring out what we wanted to do with it. Her adventures are very earthbound, but her powers are based in the cosmic realm."[54] Feige said that a writer and director would be announced "quite soon", and female filmmakers were being considered, though he could not promise that Marvel would "hire from any one demographic".[56]

In February 2015, Marvel pushed the release date back to November 2, 2018.[57] In early April, Feige revealed that Captain Marvel had been included in an early draft of the Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) screenplay, but was removed as "it didn't feel like the time. We didn't want to introduce her fully formed flying in a costume before you knew who she was or how she came to be."[58] He also said that Marvel would announce writers for the film "in the next week or two",[59] and by mid-April, Guardians of the Galaxy co-screenwriter Nicole Perlman and Inside Out (2015) co-screenwriter Meg LeFauve were announced to be writing the screenplay.[60] The duo were put together as a writing team after impressing Feige with separate takes on the character,[61] and began work on the film within a month.[62] LeFauve found the character being a female superhero to be both "wonderful" and a challenge, particularly because of how powerful the character is which could lead to the "Superman curse" of being perceived to be invulnerable.[63]

By May, Marvel had discussions with Ava DuVernay about directing Captain Marvel or Black Panther (2018),[64] which Feige confirmed a month later, saying that he had met with DuVernay amongst a number of other directors and expected a decision to be made by mid- to late 2015.[65] That September, Feige said that the casting process would not begin until 2016, as "we're scripting the film, figuring out who we want Carol Danvers to be, and really what the structure of the movie will be and what her part will be in some of our other Phase 3 films." Producer Jeremy Latcham elaborated that "getting the character right first is going to lead the charge. We want to make sure we know who it is before we can start figuring out who should play it."[66] In October 2015, Marvel changed the release date once again, moving it back to March 8, 2019.[67]

Larson promoting Captain Marvel at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International

Feige stated in April 2016 that a director would be announced "in the next month or two" and that the first cast members would be announced in mid-2016. He also mentioned that the film would be about Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel.[68] The next month, indie filmmaker Emily Carmichael's name surfaced as a possible contender to direct the film,[69] and by June, Brie Larson emerged as the frontrunner to play Captain Marvel.[70] Larson was confirmed in the role at San Diego Comic-Con 2016,[9] for which she was set to earn $5 million.[71] Larson was initially hesitant to accept the role, but "couldn't deny the fact that this movie is everything I care about, everything that's progressive and important and meaningful, and a symbol I wished I would've had growing up."[72] She was able to bring "some of those [deep emotional] things" she had used in more "dramatic roles" for the part, which she felt helped set Captain Marvel apart from other superhero films.[10] Also at Comic-Con, Feige said the search for a director had been narrowed down to "a short list of 10", and was hoping to be able to announce the choice "by the end of the summer".[73]

Perlman revealed in August that the character's origin story had been changed for the film due to similarities with the DC Comics character Green Lantern,[74] with Feige feeling that the new version was "very cool and a unique way of telling" her story, centered on Danvers finding her limitations and vulnerabilities; he added that Danvers is "by far the most powerful character" in the MCU, and would be a "very important character in our universe".[75] Producer Nate Moore later said that the film would avoid the traditional structure of many MCU origin stories, "which is you meet the character, they have a problem, they get powers at the end of the first act, and the end of the second act they learn about the powers, the third act they probably fight a villain who has a function of the same powers";[76] instead, Danvers starts the film having already gained her powers.[12]

In October 2016, Feige admitted that the announcement for a director was taking longer than he previously expected, and explained that the studio was now waiting for "a little more of the story [to be] set" so they could talk to potential directors about it. Once again talking about hiring a female filmmaker to direct the film, Feige said that he did not think it would be a requirement "to make a great version of Captain Marvel, but it's something we think is important", even if that female filmmaker does not know a lot about the comics, as "they just have to fall in love with it once they are presented with it. It's amazing to see all of the filmmakers read through [the source material] and know, 'Oh, a female's writing it now'", speaking in particular to Kelly Sue DeConnick's run in the comics.[75] Feige expected a director to be announced by the end of 2016;[77] however, Perlman and LeFauve turned in a script treatment around December, pushing additional meetings with director candidates into early 2017.[78]

In February 2017, Perlman stated that despite her and LeFauve being hired almost a year previously, the duo had only recently gotten their "marching orders" for the script, stating one of the reasons for the delay was figuring out where the film would fit within the MCU. Perlman also discussed the character's femininity, feeling that it was important to make sure she is not "somebody who is a hero in spite of her femininity ... being a woman is part of [her] strength." The writers were also considerate of tropes that could be diminishing to a female character but not for male characters, "things you wouldn't think twice about for Iron Man but you would think twice about for Captain Marvel."[14]


This is not a superhero who's perfect or otherworldly... what makes her special is just how human she is. She's funny, but doesn't always tell good jokes. And she can be headstrong and reckless and doesn't always make the perfect decisions for herself. But at her core, she has so much heart and so much humanity—and all of its messiness.

—Co-director Anna Boden on the film's title character[12]

Marvel hired Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck to direct Captain Marvel in April 2017, after the duo impressed the studio "time and time again" over numerous meetings with their vision for the character, and because of their experience working in both television and film.[79] Feige said that he and Marvel were particularly impressed with Boden and Fleck's ability to create character-driven stories in all of their works, adding, "The stories they've told have been so diverse, but regardless of the subject matter, they can dive into it and hone in on that character's journey." Ultimately, Feige felt the film "needs to be about the three-dimensional, multilayered Carol Danvers character. You have to be able to track her and follow her and relate to her at all points of the movie, regardless of how many visual effects and spaceships and bad guys are filling the frame."[80] Filming was scheduled to begin in January 2018, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia,[81] but Feige said he did not expect it to begin until February.[82]

By July 2017, Samuel L. Jackson was set to appear in the film, reprising his role as Nick Fury.[83] Larson, who worked with Jackson on Kong: Skull Island (2017), pushed for Fury's presence in the film.[84] At the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, Feige revealed that the film would take place in the 1990s and that the Skrulls would be the film's villains, allowing elements from the "Kree–Skrull War" (1971) comic book storyline to be used.[22][85] By setting the film in the 1990s, Feige noted that Danvers would "be the singular hero" while still giving her a definitive placing in the MCU timeline.[23] Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz said setting the film in the 1990s came about "very early in the development process... as a way to kind of let the character carve out her own space in the Cinematic Universe and give her a lot of thematic weight and significance to the Universe." The film would also be able to make connections to plot details to past films in the MCU set later in the timeline.[26] Regarding the elements from the "Kree–Skrull War" used for the film, Schwartz said some paranoia elements would be featured, but would not be related to the Anti-Superhero Act as in the comics. He added that the Kree-Skrull conflict is "much more of a kind of backdrop and mythological underpinning for the movie than it is a direct lift of that plot like [Captain America: Civil War] was."[40] In response to this announcement, Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter compared the film to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the DC Extended Universe film Wonder Woman (2017), as they were also set decades before present day. By setting the film in the 1990s, McMillan felt it would create the question of "what happened to Captain Marvel to take her off the playing field ahead of the Marvel movies that we've seen to date?", and noted Danvers' story might echo the "Captain America narrative", where "a hero from the past... disappears from the world before re-emerging".[86]

Directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden speaking at The Pentagon in March 2019

Also in July, the California Film Commission awarded a $20.7 million tax credit to the production,[87] going towards the first $100 million spent on qualified in-state expenditures,[88] making California the main filming location for Captain Marvel. D'Esposito called this "very exciting" given Marvel Studios' headquarters and post-production facilities are also in the state, allowing them to streamline the production process for this film and others.[87] Awarding of the tax credit was dependent on filming beginning within 180 days.[89] Marvel planned to spend $118.6 million filming in the state, for a net of $97.8 million after the tax credit was applied.[90] Schwartz said one of the reasons Los Angeles was chosen for filming was because "not a lot of big movies shoot in LA anymore, so it weirdly feels like fresh territory for a movie like this. I think we really like the idea of shooting LA for LA, especially 90s LA for LA, which is so specific and cool."[91]

Geneva Robertson-Dworet was hired by mid-August to take over the scripting duties for Captain Marvel after LeFauve left the project to co-direct Gigantic for Disney Animation.[92] Perlman also left the project, but stated that the story she and LeFauve had worked on in earlier drafts would be retained in the final screenplay.[93] Robertson-Dworet described the film as an action-comedy, and likened her script to an initial one she wrote for Tomb Raider (2018) before that film took a more dramatic tone. She added that it was important to the entire creative team to keep the comedic elements of the film and the "very funny voice" of the character, since Danvers "is one of the funniest comic book characters. She's so sassy, she's such a smartass, she won't take shit from anyone". Robertson-Dworet also credited Boden for helping to shape Danvers' voice in the film and the desire "to carve our own path and make sure we weren't retreading the same territory [after the release of Wonder Woman], and showing all facets of what women are capable of."[94] Feige added that Captain Marvel would have "homages to our favorite '90s action films", such as the action from Terminator 2 (1991), "cool street level fights, street level car chases, and fun stuff like that", since the 1990s action genre was one Marvel Studios had yet to explore. He also stated much of the film would take place in outer space.[23] Terminator 2, RoboCop (1987), The French Connection (1971), and The Conversation (1974) served as influences on Captain Marvel for Boden and Fleck. Speaking specifically to RoboCop, the directors were drawn to "this idea of a character who's finding himself and finding his past" from that film and how it could connect to the story they were telling in Captain Marvel.[95] DeConnick and quantum physicist Spyridon Michalakis, of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at the California Institute of Technology, consulted on the film.[34][96]

By October, filming was slated to begin in March 2018. Feige said the film would be "a big part" in setting up Avengers: Endgame which was scheduled for release after Captain Marvel.[97] Ben Mendelsohn entered negotiations to join the film as the main villain,[98] having previously worked with Boden and Fleck on their film Mississippi Grind (2015). They had him in mind for the Captain Marvel villain when they first began working on this film's story, and once they had met with him about the role, Mendelsohn "quickly agreed to pursue" it.[99] By November, Jude Law was in negotiations to join the film, which at the time was reported to be the role of Walter Lawson / Mar-Vell.[42] In January 2018, DeWanda Wise was cast as Maria Rambeau,[33][100] and Mendelsohn and Law were confirmed to have been cast.[100]


Filming of Captain Marvel at Edwards Air Force Base in April 2018

Location shooting occurred at the end of January 2018.[101][102] Set photos taken at that time showed Larson in a green and black uniform instead of the character's familiar red and blue suit. Feige responded by saying that Marvel accepts the risk of set photos being leaked as a consequence of location shooting, and felt that "most people are savvy enough to know they're looking at a behind-the-scenes photo, completely out of context." He added that a large number of scenes in the film would be shot on location.[102]

A month later, Gemma Chan joined the cast as Minn-Erva.[103] In mid-March, Wise withdrew from the film due to a scheduling conflict with her television series She's Gotta Have It.[104] Lashana Lynch entered into negotiations to replace Wise the next day,[105] and was confirmed for the role by the end of the month. At that time, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, and Clark Gregg were set to reprise their respective roles of Korath, Ronan the Accuser, and Phil Coulson from earlier MCU films; as those characters were all killed in their previous appearances, Richard Newby of The Hollywood Reporter described the film as a unique opportunity to "strengthen the presence of [the characters] who may not have lived up to their potential" and to allow their actors "a chance to bring more to their roles".[106] Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, and Mckenna Grace were also announced as cast,[16][29] with Marvel adding that Boden and Fleck, as well as the writing team of Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, had worked on the screenplay in addition to LeFauve, Perlman and Robertson-Dworet.[16]

Principal photography began on March 19 in Los Angeles,[107] at Sony Studios under the working title Open World.[26][108][109] Schwartz stated Open World was chosen as a working title because, at the point they needed to choose the title, the film felt "like an open world video game in a lot of ways. Like, it was a movie that could be a lot of different things."[26] A carnival scene, set in 1986 and featuring Danvers and Fury, was filmed later that week at the Jim Hall Racing Club in Oxnard, California.[110] Filming of Captain Marvel in Los Angeles, along with other big-budget films that took advantage of California's improved tax credit program, helped raise on-location feature film production in the area by 11.7% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, the first such double-figure increase since the fourth quarter of 2015.[111] Filming at Shaver Lake outside Fresno, California was set to take place in April,[112] but was pushed back to mid-May.[113][114] In late April, Feige stated that filming was a little less than halfway completed.[24] The following month, Annette Bening joined the cast in an undisclosed role.[37] Additional location shooting in and around the Los Angeles area included Simi Valley, Edwards Air Force Base, and Lucerne Valley.[115] In late June, production moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and New Orleans for two weeks.[16][116] In addition to the previously announced writers, Bek Smith worked on production rewrites for the screenplay during filming, after spending a year in Marvel's writers program.[117] Because Larson is allergic to cats, her scenes with Goose were filmed using either a CGI cat or a realistic puppet.[118] Filming concluded on July 6.[119]

Cinematographer Ben Davis shot primarily on large-format Arri Alexa 65 cameras. 1st Assistant Camera Bill Coe said, "[Davis] liked the Alexa 65 for how it rendered the fabric... With all the different costumes featured, that was pretty important.[120] Davis, who served as director of photography for his fourth time in the MCU after Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Doctor Strange (2016) said,[16] "On Captain Marvel, we had the benefit of a story that is set in the 1990s. There was an existing visual language, and a point of departure for decisions about color, camera movement and so on. On Guardians, we were building a world from scratch."[121] To achieve the 1990s aesthetic, Davis first attempted to utilize post-production techniques to convey a period look, but found that it just softened the image. He then tried using vintage Cooke Panchro and Canon K-35 lenses but they were not compatible with the large-format of the Arri Alexa camera system.[122] To solve the problem, Davis enlisted Dan Sasaki of Panavision to "tailor-make" lenses for the period scenes and said, "Dan's tailor-made lenses were so beautiful, I couldn't help myself; I wound up sneaking them on closer views during the alien stuff too." "The choice of lens was key because the camera is either following her or leading her into these new environments. When [Danvers] arrives on Earth, it can't be that you're already there and watch her arrive; you have to go along with her in order to feel the emotional arc she travels", Davis continued.[120]


Jackson in 187 (top) and in Captain Marvel (bottom). 187 (1997) was used as a primary reference to de-age Jackson in Captain Marvel (2019), which is set in 1995.[123]

Additional photography was confirmed to have begun via set photos in late November 2018.[124] With the release of the theatrical poster in early December, Marvel updated the writing credits for the film, crediting Perlman and the writing team of Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse for the film's story, with Boden, Fleck, Robertson-Dworet, and Jac Schaeffer receiving screenplay credit.[125] Schaeffer was previously hired by Marvel, earlier in 2018, to write the screenplay for their planned film Black Widow.[126] Bening's and Law's roles were officially confirmed in February 2019 as the Supreme Intelligence and Yon-Rogg, respectively.[38][41] The mid-credits scene showcasing Captain Marvel's introduction to the Avengers, was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. Boden said, "It's really a direct lead-in to their movie. They came up with the concept for it".[7] Marvel modified their production logo to honor Stan Lee, who died on November 12, 2018, by replacing the Marvel characters with Lee's MCU cameos, accompanied by a black screen reading "Thank You Stan". Feige stated this was done because "It felt like the first film to be released after his passing needed to recognize him right off the bat...not in a mournful way, but in a celebratory way, right at the start of the film."[127]

Visual effects for the film were created by Animal Logic, Cantina Creative, Digital Domain, Framestore, Industrial Light & Magic, Lola VFX, Luma Pictures, RISE, Rising Sun Pictures, Scanline VFX, and Trixter,[128] with Lola VFX working on the de-aging of Jackson and Gregg.[129] Lola VFX looked at several of Jackson's films as a reference for his de-aging including Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Jurassic Park (1993), Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), and One Eight Seven (1997). However, some of these films were disqualified due to circumstances around the character Jackson was playing; Pulp Fiction because of the character's wig and facial hair, and Jurassic Park because the character was made to appear older. "What we ended up settling on, was a little bit from Die Hard, a bit from Loaded Weapon 1, but our hero movie was a smaller film called One Eight Seven", explained Lola VFX supervisor Trent Claus. Jackson was de-aged approximately 25 years from the age of 70 at the time of filming to 45 for the 1995 setting. To do this, both Jackson and Gregg had tracking dots applied to their face during filming for which the VFX team could anchor the "hand-crafted" facial features that were composited primarily in Autodesk Flame. Lola's team included 40 primary compositors with another 15-20 junior compositors, and created approximately 500 different VFX shots, of which 385 made it in the final cut of film.[123]


In May 2018, Clark Gregg indicated that the film's soundtrack would include songs from the 1990s.[39] Pinar Toprak signed on to compose the film's score the following month, making her the first woman to score an MCU film.[130] Toprak said that the main part of the score's development was the title character's theme, while later developing themes for the Kree and the Skrulls, whom she tried to connect in order to "find the universe" for the film's scenes in space and Earth, while describing the scenes on Earth as "fun".[131] Toprak tried to develop the film's theme as a theme "that is recognizable from the first two notes".[131] She began developing the film's theme by "humming ideas", eventually coming with "a minor-seven interval" during a walk, which she used as the film's theme.[131] Toprak said that Danvers' theme is "strong and powerful", but also emotional, in order to focus on the character's vulnerability.[131]


Larson with airmen from the Air Force District of Washington and their families at a screening of the first Captain Marvel trailer at the National Air and Space Museum

In 2017, concept art from the film was shown at San Diego Comic-Con,[22] and a first look at Larson as Danvers was revealed at CineEurope.[132] Larson debuted the first trailer for the film that September at the National Air and Space Museum on Good Morning America.[133] Petrana Radulovic of Polygon felt the trailer showed "large-scale action and intergalactic mayhem that reaches for Infinity War's heights",[134] while Ben Kuchera, also of Polygon, felt opening the trailer with Blockbuster Video was "fitting" and an "anchoring shot" since its logo "remains instantly identifiable to a large audience", and pointed out that the scenes of Danvers as an Airforce pilot "appear to nod at the famously sun-drenched Top Gun" that calls back "to the golden era of films about fighter pilots".[135] Devan Coogan of Entertainment Weekly called the trailer "a powerful introduction to the MCU's first solo female hero".[136] Graeme McMillian of The Hollywood Reporter felt the prominent narration by Nick Fury "grounds the trailer in something—someone—familiar for the Marvel faithful", but said the changes to the character's origin story were "a risky proposition" to long-time fans of the character.[137] Richard Newby, also of The Hollywood Reporter, said the trailer establishes "Captain Marvel's tremendous power set, but also distinguish[es] her from the heroes that have come before". Newby also noted that the character's unfamiliarity to audiences was not presented as a joke as with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man (2015), and commended cinematographer Ben Davis for making the film's identity "distinct" from, and more grounded than, the other MCU films he worked on.[43] The trailer did receive some criticism, including that the plot presented was unclear, confusion as to why Carol punches an elderly woman, and objections to Carol not smiling much.[138] The trailer was viewed 109 million times in its first 24 hours, becoming the 11th most viewed trailer in that time period.[139]

The second trailer debuted on December 3, 2018, during halftime of the Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles.[125] McMillian felt the trailer "seemed more than a little as if someone had been paying slightly too much attention to online criticism of the first", calling the second trailer "a curious thing to watch". He noted that the opening scenes of the trailer went out of their way to clarify the elderly lady Carol punches was a Skrull, and made sure to linger long enough on a certain line to show Larson smile. While he was unsure if these moments were a response to the criticism, "the rest of the trailer feels like a do-over of the first, with additional emphasis on both explaining the plot and establishing Carol Danvers as a character." McMillian also compared the contents and structure of the two Captain Marvel trailers to those for Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger.[138] Newby felt the second trailer "offers increased action and a more in-depth look at the mythology surrounding" Captain Marvel, but criticized it for not helping to introduce the film's supporting characters. Ultimately, Newby said, "Captain Marvel looks like Boden and Fleck's superhero interpretation of John Carpenter's Starman (1984). Explosions, space battles, and superpowers may bring in the crowds, but it[']s moments [of] humanity and introspection that will allow Captain Marvel to leave her mark and encourage audiences to care about the mystery surrounding who she is."[140] On December 8, 2018, Larson participated in a panel at CCXP in Brazil, where she shared footage and an extended trailer from the film and presented an exclusive poster for the event.[141] By January 3, 2019, BoxOffice revealed their "Trailer Impact" metric service indicated approximately 66–70% of people surveyed who viewed the Captain Marvel trailer in the past two weeks expressed interest in seeing the film. In the two weeks it was measured by "Trailer Impact", it was number two for both, behind Avengers: Endgame, and had some of the highest percentage of respondents express interest in seeing the film ever for the service. "Trailer Impact" usually includes films 10 weeks out from release on their surveys, but BoxOffice decided to add Captain Marvel to the survey 12 weeks out.[142]

In January 2019, the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe announced it would be starting the #CaptainMarvelChallenge, a campaign to purchase tickets and refreshments for girls and chaperones at the Greater Los Angeles chapter of Girls, Inc. The campaign, inspired by the success of the #BlackPantherChallenge which raised more than $50,000 for children to watch Black Panther, came after Brie Larson suggested on Twitter that there should be a similar campaign for Captain Marvel.[143] For the film's press tour, Larson noted she would be "pushing for representation across the board: my interviews, magazine covers, the clothes that I'm wearing" as part of her support for inclusiveness and opposition to sexual harassment in Hollywood.[144]

In February 2019, a commercial for the film aired during the television broadcast of Super Bowl LIII. Bruce Fretts of The New York Times listed the commercial as one of the best advertisements to air during the telecast stating, "The commercial introduces a new catchphrase—'higher, further, faster'—and lives up to it with a lightning-quick montage that sets pulses racing."[145] CBS charged $5.25 million for each 30-second advertisement that aired during the game, setting a record, up from $5.2 million in 2018.[146] Also in February, Alaska Airlines unveiled a Captain Marvel-themed Boeing 737-800 jet. The plane features the film's logo on the side, as well as images of Goose, a cat from the film, on the plane's wings. The plane made its debut at the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport before its first flight to Orange County, California.[147]

On February 22, 2019, a livestream featuring Goose the Cat was streamed on Marvel Entertainment's YouTube channel.[148]



Captain Marvel held its world premiere in London on February 27, 2019,[149] and then screened in Hollywood on March 4, 2019.[150] The Hollywood premiere included a flyover by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds in honor of Thunderbirds pilot Major Stephen Del Bagno,[151] who consulted with Larson on the film before dying in a training accident in April 2018.[17] The film was released in IMAX and 3D,[152][153] in the United States on March 8, 2019,[67] coinciding with International Women's Day.[154] It was originally scheduled for release on July 6, 2018,[54] before moving in February 2015 to November 2, 2018.[57] In October 2015, the film was pushed to its final March 2019 date.[155] The film has not been released in Pakistan as Disney’s South Asia division, which is headquartered in India, did not give Pakistan the rights to distribute it. Fans speculated that this was due to ongoing Indo-Pakistani tensions. However, Nadeem Mandviwalla, head of Disney South Asia, stated that claim is “baseless”.[156]

Home media

Captain Marvel will be the first Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures-distributed film not to stream on Netflix, after Disney decided to let their licensing deal with Netflix expire, and is intended to be the first theatrical Disney release to stream exclusively on Disney+.[157]


Box office

As of March 22, 2019, Captain Marvel has grossed $295.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $538.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $834.3 million.[4] It had a worldwide opening of $456.7 million, the sixth-biggest of all time.[158] Deadline Hollywood estimated the film had a total production and advertising cost of $300 million, and predicted that it would break even in its first week.[2]

In late December 2018, the film was named as the most anticipated 2019 film by IMDb, the most anticipated new standalone comic book film and the second-most anticipated blockbuster of 2019 according to the ticketing service Fandango,[159] and the second-most anticipated superhero and overall film by Atom Tickets.[160] The film's first 24 hours of advance ticket sales, which began on January 7, 2019, ranked third on Fandango for an MCU film, behind Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, and second on Atom Tickets, behind Infinity War.[161] According to Fandango, Captain Marvel has amassed the third largest advanced ticket sales of any MCU film, behind Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, and has surpassed Wonder Woman and Aquaman during the same time period.[162] The film made $61.4 million on its first day, including $20.7 million from Thursday night previews, which was the fifth-highest total for a Marvel film and second highest for a March release behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It went on to debut to $153.4 million, the third-best March opening and seventh-highest of the MCU; Comscore reported 65% of opening weekend audience members were male, while Disney listed the male/female demo split at 55–45.[2] The film made $69.3 million in its second weekend, remaining in first and marking the second-highest sophomore weekend in March behind Beauty and the Beast. Comscore also noted that women made up 47% of the weekend's ticket sales, an increase from the first.[163]

On its first day of international release, the film made $5.9 million from South Korea and $1.7 million in France, as well as $2.51 million from Thursday night previews in China, the fourth-best for an MCU film in the country. Through its first two days of release in foreign territories the film made $44 million, including $9.1 million in South Korea, $3 million in Brazil, $2.9 million in France and $2.5 million in Australia. It also grossed $34 million on its first day in China, the third-best superhero opening day ever in the country. The film went on to have a foreign opening weekend of $302.4 million, the fifth-best of all time. Its largest markets were China ($89.3 million), South Korea ($24.1 million), the UK ($16.8 million), Brazil ($13.4 million, the second-best opening of any film in the country's history) and Mexico ($12.8 million, fifth-best ever).[158] Through its first 12 days of release, the film's highest-grossing foreign countries were China ($135.7 million), South Korea ($37.5 million), the United Kingdom ($32.9 million), Brazil ($26.1 million) and Mexico ($25.7 million).[164]

Critical response

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 432 reviews, and an average rating of 6.79/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU's latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise's signature formula."[165] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 64 out of 100, based on 55 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[166] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 84% overall positive score and a 73% "definite recommend".[2]

Larson's performance as Carol Danvers was praised by critics.[5]

A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, "It's not too long, not too self-important, and benefits from the craft and talent of a cast that includes Annette Bening, Jude Law and Ben Mendelsohn."[167] Kenneth Turan, writing for the Los Angeles Times, lauded Larson's performance and the direction of Boden and Fleck, writing, "...Marvel has come to recognize, as this film proves, that even effects-heavy behemoths can benefit from a directing touch that is human not programmatic, that understands character and nuance and can create scenes with an emotional heft we might not expect."[168] Writing for Variety, Owen Gleiberman also praised the film's direction, saying, "Boden and Fleck are low-key American neorealists, and in Captain Marvel they barely retain a vestige of their signature style. Yet they have brought off something exciting, embracing the Marvel house style and, within that, crafting a tale with enough tricks and moods and sleight-of-hand layers to keep us honestly absorbed."[169] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote, "Superhero cinema has lectured us, ad infinitum, on the responsibility that is conferred by extraordinary gifts. Praise be to Larson, for reminding us that they can be bringers of fun."[170] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5/4 stars and wrote, "It's a real treat to see Carol Danvers find her footing and her wings, so to speak, while at the same time Nick Fury is taking the first steps toward becoming NICK FURY."[171]

Conversely, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The picture is not dull, exactly, just mundane, marked by unimaginative plotting, cut-rate villains, a bland visual style and a lack of elan in every department."[172] David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a grade of "C−", praising Larson's performance but calling it a "generic Avengers prequel" and saying, "Neither a blast from the past, nor an inspiring glimpse into the future, at the end of the day it's just another Marvel movie. And not a particularly good one, at that."[173] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote, "This woman is a candidate for genuine heroism. Yet there's a fundamental dissonance between the depth of her plight and the shallow disorganization of the script."[174] The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky called the film a disappointment, writing, "Here, two characters strike up an unlikely partnership, whup alien ass, make some corny jokes, uncover secrets, and come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, superheroes are something the Earth needs. It's everything you might expect a sci-fi superhero movie to be, if you hadn't seen one in a long time."[175]

Ahead of the film's release, Captain Marvel's "Want to See" score—an audience anticipation poll on Rotten Tomatoes—had fallen to 28%.[176] Reports described the decline as an effort by some to review-bomb the film's page with negative comments attacking the film and Larson for their perceived feminism.[177] Rotten Tomatoes changed the "Want to See" feature shortly after, showing only the number of people indicating interest in the film instead of a percentage. The announcement said this was part of a larger redesign of the site.[176][178] By 8 am on opening day in the United States, the film held a 33% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes from more than 58,000 reviews, which was more audience reviews than Avengers: Infinity War had during its entire theatrical run. Analysts attributed the low score and sheer number of reviews to online trolling. Rotten Tomatoes later stated a bug was responsible for the high count of reviews, and by 1 pm the number of counted ratings was down to 7,000 with an audience score of 35%.[179] As of March 23, 2019, the audience score was at 62% based on 73,446 reviews.[165]


  1. ^ As depicted in the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War.[6]
  2. ^ According to co-director Anna Boden, this scene ties directly to the upcoming film Avengers: Endgame.[7]


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External links