Captain Marvel’s big-screen debut isn’t due until 2019, but the last time I talked to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, he was bullish that he’d have both a star and a director signed for the film by the end of summer. At Comic-Con, he announced that Oscar-winner Brie Larson would topline Marvel’s first female-fronted superhero movie, but despite reports in August that Feige has met with directors like Niki Caro, Lesli Linka Glatter, and Lorene Scafaria to helm the film, the Captain Marvel stewardship remains an open assignment.
Yesterday, I sat down with Feige again and asked him to explain the holdup. “Now,” he said, “I expect to have a director by the end of the year. We’ve been meeting amazing filmmakers, but often the way we work, as was the case on Doctor Strange and most of our movies, is that we have a … I don’t want to say a ‘road map,’ but we have a general view of what the movie is and then we meet with filmmakers and share that with them and then they pitch it back to us in a better fashion.” The director whose pitch best aligns with and expands upon Marvel’s notion usually gets the job, Feige said, offering Doctor Strange’s Scott Derrickson and Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi as examples.
“With Captain Marvel,” continued Feige, “there’s so much potential in the comics and there have been so many incarnations of her powers and the characters who’ve had that mantle that we’ve been focusing in on exactly how do we tell her origin. How does it fit into the cosmic side of our universe? How does it fit into what we’re doing with the next Avengers movies? So really, that’s what’s been delaying that particular announcement.”
Still, Feige is excited about the potential of Larson in the role: “She’s amazing, obviously, and she’s a great actress.” He also offered the tantalizing possibility that the flying, energy-blasting Captain Marvel would be able to wipe the floor with the other superheroes in the Marvel cinematic universe, which made Larson’s casting all the more imperative.
“It’s very important to us that all of our heroes do not become silhouette-perfect cutout icons,” said Feige. “All of the Marvel characters have flaws to them, all of them have a deep humanity to them. With Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she’s introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we’ve ever had. It’s important, then, to counterbalance that with someone who feels real. She needs to have a humanity to tap into, and Brie can do that.”