Avengers: Endgame delivers a satisfying conclusion to the 22 movies that currently comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe, tying a neat little bow on so many story arcs fans have been following for over a decade. The box office behemoth is essentially a baton pass from its legacy heroes like Iron Man and Captain America, whose storylines have run their course, to the next big wave of characters, like Black Panther and Spider-Man. Yet, above all the others, it’s Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel who is seen as the most likely contender to lead Marvel into its fourth phase of films and beyond.
In the year since Avengers: Infinity War teased her introduction in its post-credits scene, the studio touted Carol Danvers as the new face of the MCU; the sole character who could provide Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the leverage they need to take on Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet once more.
Some of Endgame’s earliest clips even featured an apprehensive Bruce Banner questioning how the Avengers could attempt a rematch with the Mad Titan in the face of failure, leading Larson’s character to hit firmly back, “Because before you didn’t have me.”
Yet, when Endgame finally premiered, some fans were shocked to see Captain Marvel receive only a limited amount of screen time, popping up in the action sequences that bookend the film. Speaking in an interview with The New York Times, co-writer Stephen McFeely addressed this complaint, stating that the two latest Avengers movies had been in production for such a long time that it was hard to adjust the script for a character that hadn’t yet been written:
We shot [Brie Larson] before she shot her movie. She’s saying lines for a character 20 years after her origin story, which no one’s written yet. It’s just nuts. Certainly, Captain Marvel is in [Endgame] a little less than you would have thought. But that’s not the story we’re trying to tell — it’s the original Avengers dealing with loss and coming to a conclusion, and she’s the new, fresh blood.”
It’s kind of crazy to think that when Endgame began filming, the script for Captain Marvel was in its earliest stages. It seems like Larson and the writers had to develop her character kind of on the spot, an impressive feat considering she manages to leave an impact in her few short scenes. From her brave stance against Thanos early on in the film, to a moment of levity with Peter Parker in the big finale, Captain Marvel shines in even her smallest moments.
I don’t think many fans were shocked to see Larson’s take on Captain Marvel become so popular, so fast, either, since she delivered such a fun leading performance in her own solo film earlier this year. It’s clear that even if her screen time in Avengers: Endgame was limited, the character’s future is as bright as the cosmic energy that birthed her powers and the next phase of Marvel movies will be better off for it.