There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Captain Marvel, flying into theaters on March 8. It's Marvel's first female-led superhero movie – ever – which is a major milestone to celebrate, as onscreen representation takes another giant step forward. It's also the first Marvel film directed by a woman, with Anna Boden at the helm alongside her co-director Ryan Fleck. And, even though the movie is mostly set in the '90s, well before the universe-shaking Thanos snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, it's finally going to shed some light on how the heck the remaining Avengers are going to deal with losing half the universe's population. As Marvel fans have been hoping, Captain Marvel will connect to Avengers: Endgame.
The Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene already teased that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), while getting "dusted" himself, sent out an SOS message to Captain Marvel when her logo appeared on his old school pager. For audience members who hadn't read any Captain Marvel comics, that ending may not have offered much insight into what's coming next in Avengers: Endgame in just a few short months. That's where Captain Marvel comes in, operating as an introduction to the person who will be arguably the most important character in the last film of this phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But her first standalone film isn't just an origin story for Carol Danvers. When Bustle visited the Los Angeles set of Captain Marvel earlier this summer, executive producer Jonathan Schwartz revealed that the last film released before Avengers: Endgame "will lead in a very direct way to what you saw in Infinity War," meaning that now-infamous post credits pager scene.
"[Captain Marvel] really is a self-contained story and it will tell you everything about that character who shows up in Avengers 4, but really it’s the story of Captain Marvel very specifically," Schwartz says, standing on an alien spaceship set in between takes. "It’ll lead very organically into what you saw at the end of Avengers: Infinity War and it’ll lead very organically into what you will see in Avengers 4. But for the movie itself, it’s its own self-contained adventure. You get a complete, satisfying experience that has tendrils reaching into other branches of the cinematic universe."
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were filmed at the same time, well before Captain Marvel began production. That means that by the time Carol Danvers is first seen onscreen when Captain Marvel premieres March 8, Larson will have already shot all of her Endgame scenes. While that may sound confusing, as the films are released in a completely different order than how they were shot, Schwartz revealed that the entire process was "pretty seamless," all things considered.
"It was really great ... to be able to collaborate with the Avengers 4 team and make sure that the character felt consistent across [both] movies, the same way that we look for consistencies across all the Marvel movies," Schwartz adds. "We talked a lot with [Endgame producers Christopher] Markus, [Stephen] McFeely and with the Russo brothers about where her character was going to take her in this movie and how that would lead into her character in Avengers 4 to make sure we were all on the same page about how that performance was going to be perceived in both movies."
When it came to bringing the iconic comic book character to life, the creative team behind Captain Marvel stayed true to the source material while also making sure to keep delivering the lighthearted comedy and fun Marvel fans have come to expect from these movies.
"She has kind of a badass swagger to her but also a sense of humor," Schwartz says of Carol, adding that they pulled a lot from the Kelly Sue DeConnick comic book run in particular. That "very specific voice for Carol" became the film's "North Star" in developing the character. "[She] certainly has a sense of humor but also a confidence and an ability to inspire others [which] is what we love about Captain Marvel," he adds.
For her part, Boden is carving out a place for herself in history as the first woman to direct a Marvel film. "There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility to make this film live up to all the potential it has, starting from an awesome character in the comics, just an amazing, powerful woman in Brie Larson who’s embodying her and also all the incredible filmmakers that have worked with Marvel in the past," she says. But Boden, whose other projects include Mississippi Grind and episodes of Billions, adds that she isn't letting all the hype get to her, by keeping herself focused and treating Captain Marvel like "any other job."
But perhaps the greatest reason to get on board with Team Carol is that Captain Marvel is actually known as the strongest Avenger of them all. Move aside, Captain America and yes, even Thor, because Captain Marvel is about to put all the other Avengers to shame with not only her powers, but also her intelligence.
"She ends up being one of the most, if not the most powerful characters in the Marvel cinematic universe because that’s more or less true to her comic book power level which is through the roof, and because it’s awesome," Schwartz says with a laugh. "[Her power is] going to lend itself to action sequences in this movie beyond the scope of what we’ve been able to do in previous movies just because she is just that awesome, which I’m super excited to be able to show people."
Taking a break in between filming, Samuel L. Jackson, who is reprising his role as a much younger Nick Fury (who still has both of his eyes!), confirms that Captain Marvel is "pretty much the strongest character in terms of someone with powers ... in the Marvel Universe."
"For Carol Danvers to be that person and for Brie to become that person, it’s going to be a dynamite thing," Jackson says with a smile as he leans back in his chair. "They’re up against some really, really tough odds right now [that] we saw throughout Infinity War, so now we know we need something that’s as powerful as Thanos. We’ll find out how powerful she is and all the things that she’s capable of."
And whatever Carol proves herself able to do, it'll bring the Avengers that much closer to (hopefully) undoing the tragic result of the snap.