The Funny Way Captain Marvel’s Editor Convinced Kevin Feige To Hire Her

Brie Larson in Captain Marvel full costume on movie poster
(Image credit: (Marvel Studios))

Captain Marvel is just under two months away from release, and with every new piece of footage and Samuel L. Jackson slip up, the excitement is growing for Marvel fans. When I spoke to the film's co-editor, Debbie Berman, yesterday, she said she's still in the "thick of" getting Captain Marvel ready. She's just as excited as all of us about the release of Marvel's first female-led superhero flick and has a hilarious story about how she nabbed a spot in the editing bay. In her words:

I wanted to work on Captain Marvel the second I heard it was announced. So the whole time I was on Spider-Man, I bought a Captain Marvel T-shirt, and every single time I knew Kevin Feige and the other Marvel execs were coming into editorial, I'd wear my Captain Marvel shirt. I just wanted to create a subconscious association between myself and Captain Marvel. I'd imagine one day all the executives would be sitting together and be like, 'Who should we get for Captain Marvel?' And then someone would say, 'I don't know why, but when I think of Captain Marvel, for some reason I think Debbie Berman.' And then I'd imagine everyone going. 'Yeah, me too. That's so weird. It must be a sign.' When we were on Captain Marvel, on the first day after shooting and the directors were there and I was of course wearing the same Captain Marvel shirt, Kevin Feige came over and one of the directors looked at me and said, 'Wow, this looks really old. Is it vintage?'. I said 'No, it's just really well worn'. And then Kevin Feige piped up, 'Oh yeah, she wore that on Spider-man all the time!' Okay. I guess he noticed.

This is genius. Why pitch your interest or pester Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige when you can send a subconscious message through your clothing? It's no wonder Debbie Berman is part of one of 2019's most anticipated movies considering her persistence and smart tactics. Anyone else taking notes?

It does help that Debbie Berman was already in the room with the Marvel boss on a regular basis as an editor for 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was around the same time Kevin Feige was on the market for a Captain Marvel editor. Berman originally started wearing the shirt in hopes they'd subconsciously associate her with the superhero, but later imagined they might just do it in hopes she'd stop wearing the shirt all the time.

Debbie Berman also worked as an editor on Black Panther. Since she is originally from South Africa, the film felt uniquely personal to her and she made it clear to Marvel about how important the film was to her.

When Debbie Berman was on Black Panther, she certainly had an impact on some of the film's final choices. In our interview, she said she inspired a reshoot of a portion of the final massive action sequence to include more badass female Jabari warriors, after the original sequence had the Dora Milaje being saved by an all-male Jabari tribe.

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler made the editing room a safe space to voice any issues with the film, and having these fearless women being introduced on screen, only to have to be rescued by men just didn't sit well. While a small detail, it likely strengthened the film's attention to representation.

Looking forward to Captain Marvel, there's something exciting about having a woman's perspective on the cutting room floor, along with co-director Anna Boden, who also shares writing credits on the film's screenplay alongside Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Ryan Fleck. Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, comes to theaters on March 8. It's already in the MCU's top three pre-sale performers, so expect this superhero film to soar high.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.