While every other film in Marvel Studios' Phase Three slate has had a director for a while now, Captain Marvel has long remained the outlier. While there have been many reports and rumors about potential candidates for the gig, fans have had to patiently wait for any kind of official news. That changes today, as it's been announced that filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have been tapped by the comic book movie company to take the helm of the Brie Larson-fronted superhero blockbuster.
Variety has the scoop on this story, noting that Marvel was both patiently waiting for the right choice of director and a proper draft of the script before making a selection. After collaborating on the 2006 indie hit Half Nelson (co-writing the script and Fleck directing), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck first co-directed a movie together on the 2008 baseball drama Sugar, and have since worked on higher profile features like 2010's It's Kind Of A Funny Story (starring Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts) and 2015's Mississippi Grind (with Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds). They've also done some television work together, but needless to say Captain Marvel will be their biggest production to date.
The selection of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck may get some cockeyed looks given that they are far from household names - but the truth is that the pick very much solidifies a pattern that has existed for a number of years at Marvel. The studio has never looked to the tried-and-true blockbuster directors, and instead have been known to put their massive projects in the hands of filmmakers who have previously only made movies with a small fraction of the budget. It's a philosophy that has served them extremely well in recent years, with the success of films like James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, and the last two Captain America movies from Joe and Anthony Russo.
Rather than putting an emphasis on experience, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has spoken many times about finding filmmakers who catch the studio's interest with smart storytelling and approach. Given Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's past, one can understand why they wound up on Marvel's radar. They got Ryan Gosling his first Oscar nomination making Half Nelson, and Mississippi Grind is smart and well-made drama that was a smash hit among critics. Obviously right now we can't say what it was about them that made Marvel think that they were specifically perfect for Captain Marvel, but we'll surely learn the answer in the coming days/weeks.
Right now, Captain Marvel is still in early development, and production isn't expected to start up before the end of this year. Right now Brie Larson is the only actor to be attached to the film, but the next few months should be filled with a wide variety of casting rumors. Stay tuned for that, read my write-up about Captain Marvel concept art that I recently spotted at Marvel Studios headquarters, and get ready for the movie's highly-anticipated release on March 8, 2019.