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When I wrote about Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck being hired to direct Captain Marvel last week, I promised that the reasoning behind the choice would be revealed in the coming days. I knew this because the announcement was made in the midst of the domestic press day for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2... and now we have Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige's thoughts on the news:
We met with lots and lots of people as we always do, and had multiple meetings, and Anna and Ryan just had an amazing way of talking about Carol Danvers and talking about her journey. We want filmmakers that can help us focus on and elevate the character journey so it doesn't get lost amongst the spectacle... We're pretty good at [showing spectacle] at Marvel Studios, and have an amazing team that can help with that. But when we're filling a director chair or chairs, we want people who are focused on the emotional journey, the humor, the surprising twists and turns of a singular character journey, which is what Captain Marvel is... When you look at the work that Ryan and Anna have done in the past, they are all amazing and very diverse character studies and journeys, and that impressed us.
Fandango used part of their interview time with Kevin Feige this past week to ask about the new Captain Marvel directors, and in response learned about Marvel's approach to finding filmmakers. Feige has often talked about approaching potential candidates who have interesting bodies of work rather than have blockbuster experience, and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck most certainly fit that bill. The duo first gained notoriety for their collaboration on the indie Half Nelson, and have since made It's Kind of A Funny Story with Zach Galifianakis and Mississippi Grind with Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds. It seems that the people at Marvel were not only compelled to have a meeting, but hire them for a big, challenging project.
Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms. Marvel a.k.a. Captain Marvel made her debut in 1968, and was created by the writer/artist duo of Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. Introduced as an officer in the United States Air Force, she winds up gaining superpowers when caught near the explosion of an alien device that warps her DNA. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe she will be played by Academy Award-winner Brie Larson, and it's been rumored that the character may make her big screen debut in Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War (which comes out 10 months before the Captain Marvel solo movie).
As I confirmed with Kevin Feige late last year, Captain Marvel will be a superhero origin story for the titular character, which definitely gives the executive/producer's comments above more context. Specifically, the journey that Carol Danvers is going through in the film is the adjustment to her new life as a half-alien/half-human who can fly and manipulate energy. Clearly it's a sci-fi story, but the hiring of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck certainly suggests an aim to emphasize the humanity of it all.
With a release date not scheduled until March 8, 2019, Captain Marvel is still months away from the start of principal photography - but hiring the directors for the project is obviously a major move, as they will be calling the shots going forward. The next big announcements about the project should involve casting - and you can be sure that we'll be paying close attention to the news.