Cast your mind back to April 2016, when Marvel Studios was still teasing the idea of a standalone Captain Marvel movie, and you’ll no doubt remember the moment when Kevin Feige confirmed changes to the origin story of Carol Danvers.
At the time, the Powers That Be felt Carol’s comic book origin story was too similar to that belonging to DC’s Green Lantern, and so Meg LeFauve and Guardians screenwriter Nicole Perlman were tasked with creating something new – something unique. The resulting narrative would go on to form the foundations of Captain Marvel’s cinematic debut, but its roots can be traced back to Kelly Sue DeConnick, a comic book scribe who knows a thing or two about what makes Carol tick.
Turns out she actually pitched something totally different for “In Pursuit of Flight,” which Marvel ultimately rejected. But as DeConnick and Mary Livanos, director of production and development for Marvel Studios, tell io9, those scrapped ideas would later inspire the finished screenplay of the Captain Marvel movie.
I’m not complaining okay, I don’t own these characters and I understand why it was a no. In Pursuit of Flight. It was actually supposed to be that she goes back to the moment of the explosion and it’s a time paradox where she’s witnessing her own origin story right? So her origin story in the comics is the machine blows up and she’s there. She’s being held hostage, and Mar-Vell, he picks up her body and is trying to take her out of the cave when the machine explodes, and the power of the explosion transfers his DNA into hers and (claps) she’s superpowered.
Kelly Sue DeConnick then went on to elaborate about the finer details of her story pitch, and how, in her own rendition, Captain Marvel was the source of her own powers, as opposed to the Tesseract.
What I wanted to do is have Carol time travel, so she’s in the scene where she’s getting her powers. She’s there with Helen Cobb who’s another pilot hero of hers, and she and Helen are watching the moment. Helen wants those powers, so she intentionally runs into the scene to be caught in the explosion. I wanted Mar-Vell to grab Helen, which would leave Carol needing to go in and rescue her younger self so that when the machine exploded it would transfer Carol’s powers from Carol to Carol, so that she would become the source of her own power. So it was an intentionally feminist reboot.
Livanos later pinpointed the “broad strokes” that ultimately found their way into Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s Captain Marvel movie, in which Carol slowly begins to piece together her own fragmented memory and realize her near-limitless power.
And you see the broad strokes of that storyline in Captain Marvel. Helen Cobb, huge inspiration for Wendy Lawson, our update of Walter Lawson who was the male Captain Mar-Vell, but we wanted Carol…that had to be a moment where she made a heroic decision that resulted in her powers. We couldn’t have a male Captain Marvel swoop in, save her. We wanted the source of her power to come from her own decision making.
Captain Marvel, the 21st installment in this juggernaut franchise, is available on digital platforms right now, with a Blu-ray release scheduled for June 11th. That ought to pass the time until Marvel Studios is ready to launch Spider-Man: Far From Home into theaters near and far…