Marvel Studios reportedly has over 30 different projects in development right now. With so much happening in the most expansive movie universe of all time, it can be tough for fans to prioritize excitement for each entry into the MCU.
The Marvels is NOW well over a year away, so any sort of information fans get on the project will be exciting and important. But when the director of a sequel of a billion-dollar movie talks about how she will balance not one, not two, but THREE major characters, it will grab the attention of Marvel fans.
Nia DaCosta is taking the director's chair for The Marvels, breaking out into the popcorn category following up Candyman, which was released earlier this year. DaCosta has talked about how exciting it is to be a part of the Marvel Universe before, but she's now starting to build the hype around her project and these characters.
After the announcement of the Captain Marvel sequel revealed that the follow-up would be titled The Marvels fans quickly began theorizing what that could mean.
It was easily deciphered by the logo that this movie would feature all three MCU characters that have held some sort of "Marvel" title in the past. Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel (set to debut in 2022), and Monica Rambeau returns after her stint on WandaVision which many believe brought her closer to her comic book counterpart, also named Captain Marvel.
With three highly anticipated and highly powerful characters to balance in this film, DeCosta has a tough task on her hands. However, she and her team seem to have a plan for it.
Balancing Three Marvel Characters
In an interview with Inverse, The Marvels director Nia DaCosta talked about the challenges of balancing three big name characters and how to "get each of these really big, exciting heroes space in a two-hour film?"
"It’s interesting, and something we thought about and worked through a lot, which was how do we get each of these really big, exciting heroes space in a two-hour film? Captain Marvel has a history from the first film, Kamala will have her Miss Marvel show, and Monica Rambeau, we’ve only seen her a little bit in WandaVision. A lot of what we've been thinking about is what part of the journey do we need to see for each of them? How do we honor the part of the story they're at in terms of the canon, while also within our story making them equal?"
DaCosta is not only focused on her story and how the characters work within this film, but also how each of them got there. To consider each character's past, a director needs to familiarize themselves with the MCU lore. This feat does not seem like very hard work for Nia DaCosta.
"I like to call myself Marvel trash. Actually, my friends call me that. I will go see all the movies. Even if it’s bad, I’m like, “Well, there are some good things about this.” I grew up with the comics. I grew up watching the Spider-Man cartoon and the Fantastic Four. I knew a lot about the Marvel universe in general."
But the research did not stop there. DaCosta knows that these characters hold a ton of weight outside of the big screen and diving into the panels is just as important. An interesting approach that DaCosta is taking is realizing that comic books are comic books and it is important to "not get overwhelmed".
"But my research was going into the history of Carol Danvers first and foremost, because it is a crazy wild ride, what they did to her in the comics in the ‘80s. And then with Monica, she’s really fun, her origin story and her introduction in the comics. I tried to not get overwhelmed because, as with most comic book heroes, there are like seven different origin stories and there’s different power sets that kind of contradict and don’t really overlap well. It was really choosing what’s been established already in terms of the MCU and then what’s going to work, most compellingly, for our story. You read enough so you can stop reading, in a way."
Having a director realize that the MCU is a unique pocket of the Marvel Universe and not a one-for-one recreation of the comics is something fans can and should get excited about.
Balancing Three Leading Marvel Heroes
The Marvels will likely play a huge part in the future of not only the characters involved but also the MCU cosmic brand as a whole. With the debut of the Captain Marvel franchise being such a box office success, with mixed critical reactions, there is a lot of pressure on the sequel to go higher, faster, and further than the original.
It all starts with Carol Danvers, one of the most polarizing members of the MCU roster today. Her debut into the MCU was as unique as it gets, being a period film, set 30 years before the contemporary timeline, brought in less than two months before Avengers: Endgame, before effectively playing a huge role in the MCU climax film.
When considering the uphill battle Captain Marvel had as far as perception goes, it was able to introduce a hyper-powerful and seemingly important character into the MCU. Which is no small task within itself. Fans will be looking to The Marvels to deepen this character's story while also creating stakes that people care about. A great way to support that goal is to surround Carol Danvers with more lovable MCU characters.
Shades of Captain America: The Winter Soldier come into play. Now comes another character out of time, with perceived responsibility and power, trying to edge a role in a ball that has been rolling since 2008. The Russo Brothers used Winter Soldier as the bridge between Steve Rogers the Avenger to Stever Rogers the person. They were able to do that by surrounding him with more established characters like Black Widow. And future Avengers like Sam Wilson (aka Falcon).
This allowed for Steve to play off other pieces of this puzzle and show his development beyond the old war stories that is the legend of "Captain America". DaCosta seems to be doing the same with Carol Danvers by surrounding her with characters that have their own stories to tell as well. While telling these stories together will be difficult, if done right, it can establish his trio as a powerhouse on the MCU roster moving forward.
Monica Rambeau has already made two appearances in the MCU catalog and will now be getting a much more prominent role. Introduced as a child in Captain Marvel and reintroduced as a badass SWORD agent in WandaVision, Monica Rambeau quickly became a fan-favorite across the Marvel universe. One focal point of this movie will surely be the relationship between Carol and Monica and that will lead to both of them effectively sharing that screen and developing their story.
The wildcard in this film is Kamala Khan. The teenage superfan turned superhero does not have a predictable place in this story just yet. But after Ms. Marvel arrives in 2022, there will surely be a connection between these three that will bring the hype for The Marvels to all-new levels.