‘Captain Marvel’ writer on the challenges of bringing Carol Danvers into the MCU

Source: Marvel Studios

Source: Marvel Studios

Captain Marvel is just over two years out from its 2019 release and it is the only Phase Three movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to which no director has officially been attached. Not much is known about the project beyond the names of its star, Brie Larson, and its screenwriters, Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve. Perlman recently gave an update on the project while appearing on the Great Big Beautiful Podcast.

Perlman shed a little light on the timeline, explaining why things aren’t as far along as fans might expect after she and LeFauve were hired a couple years ago.

“Meg [LeFauve] and I were hired a long time ago but we didn’t have our marching orders until recently. Marvel is a little bit of a house of cards in a sense that everything influences everything around it even if it’s very modular. Figuring out where the story fits in the MCU influences things as well.”

Captain Marvel is the most difficult MCU movie to even speculate about right now. Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp are the only two films that come out between Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled fourth Avengers movie. This leaves fans wondering where those films fit in the MCU timeline. Do they really occur in between those Avengers movies, or are they prequels?

At least with Ant-Man and the Wasp, we have some idea of what’s next for those characters. The same can’t be said for Captain Marvel, since this is the character’s first solo film (she might appear in Avengers: Infinity War before that, however).

Continuity isn’t really the biggest issue for Perlman, though. She’s obviously privy to information which we are not. Those “marching orders” she referred to undoubtedly include where Captain Marvel takes place in the MCU timeline and which events from which other films will factor into the story. There are bigger challenges for Perlman when it comes to making sure Captain Marvel stands out and doesn’t feel repetitive despite being the 21st film in the MCU canon.

“She’s an incredible character, but I will also say that since Marvel has done so many movies already, you really have to go out of your way to make sure her story is fresh and doesn’t borrow too heavily from the other films. She’s an incredibly strong and wonderful hero, but all the Marvel characters are. So you just need to figure out how to bring her to life in a way that’s unique to her story but in a way that honors the canon and also gearing out the roles that she needs to play with everything that’s going on in the MCU.”

Then there’s pressure that comes with being Marvel’s first female-led film. That pressure shouldn’t really exist because the idea that female-led superhero movies can’t pull in big box office dollars like the ones led by men is based on a few terrible movies that just so happened to star women. Perception often drives reality, though, so the pressure is indeed there and Perlman is aware of it.

“I think there’s a tendency to have that back-and-forth conversation of, ‘Should it affect the story at all?’ or ‘Should it affect the writing?’ There are certain tropes you can get away [with not] having to examine too much if you’re not writing the first female Marvel Studios lead; that could be read into a lot or that could diminish her own proactivity, strength and independence. There are things you wouldn’t think twice about Iron Man, but you would think twice about for Captain Marvel.”

Perlman and LeFauve have two things going for them as they inevitably answer each of these challenges with their script: talent and time. Perlman co-wrote Guardians of the Galaxy—she was the one who chose the more modern lineup that was used in the film—and LeFauve co-wrote the Oscar®-winning Inside Out. We are still a year or more out from when Captain Marvel will have to go into production to meet its release date, which is plenty of time for them to finish the script.

The hiring of a director will also go a long way in the completion of the script. Now that Marvel Studios has a clear idea of what the film is going to be and where/when it fits in the greater MCU, the studio should be ready to sign and announce a director very soon. That hire may have already been made and it’s just a matter of waiting for the best time to announce it.

Captain Marvel is due in theaters March 8, 2019.