Reading the news about new casting on the eve of production on Captain Marvel included this post by Graeme McMillan about the possibility of the movie “reverse engineering” the Kree-Skrull War, a pivotal comics moment that has some connection to Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson in the film.
The images he uses in that post, pulled straight from the comics, reminded me of the one thing I really hope isn’t included in the movie: Mar-Vell.
That’s right, the original Captain Marvel is the primary story point I want to see as little as possible of in the movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the character. He didn’t show up much in the comics I was reading back in the early- to mid-80s but I was intrigued enough to buy a copy of “The Death of Captain Marvel” and did some exploring of his history after reading it.
If you introduce him in Captain Marvel, though, the focus of the fans will immediately shift. He becomes the elephant in the room, one that can’t be ignored even as you try to get everyone to pay attention to Carol Danvers. Give him five minutes and people will be outraged his entire history isn’t being explored. Give him more than that and you have a female character that isn’t being allowed to stand on her own and have her own motivations.
I get that it’s ni impossible to do Carol Danvers Captain Marvel without acknowledging Mar-Vell Captain Marvel in some manner. Her origin doesn’t need to be dependent on him but it’s hard to get around the fact she took the name as an homage to him. If you remove that, you make any future introduction of Mar-vell weird because it turns into a “Wow, what a total coincidence we both have the same hero name” moment, which isn’t great storytelling.
I’d love to see a movie about Mar-Vell at some point. He’s a great character and there’s a lot Marvel could do with him involving Adam Strange, a deeper exploration of the Kree (assuming that’s not off-limits because they might be under Fox’s Fantastic Four license) and his connection with Rick Jones, a character that has yet to enter the MCU.
(Side note: How is it, given the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Fox hasn’t followed suit with a Starjammers movie? They’re outer space pirates that are surely covered in the X-Men character license. This seems like a no-brainer.)
The upcoming Captain Marvel isn’t the place to do that though. There’s probably no getting around that some overtly sexist jerks are going to feel Mar-Vell being pushed aside for a woman are going to be offended. Stupid is going to stupid. It makes sense, though, from both a storytelling and financial (name one hit movie recently that’s starred a white man…I’ll wait) standpoint to keep the focus on Carol Danvers and leave Mar-Vell on the bench for another day.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.