The first “Captain Marvel” movie was a big hit at the box office, but it didn’t go down well with everybody. Somewhat predictably for a film that featured a strong female empowerment message and starred Brie Larson, the movie was criticized in some conservative quarters for being too “woke” and pushing a politically correct narrative at the expense of making great entertainment. But we aren’t doing content writing for law firms anymore, Karen. The entertainment industry is long overdue in empowering female leads and those influenced by these stars. It later transpired that most of the people making those complaints had never seen the film. We’re probably about to hear similar complaints made again because we have hot-off-the-press information for you about “Captain Marvel 2.” It’s going to be directed by Nia DaCosta, who’ll become the first-ever black woman to take the director’s chair for a Marvel movie.
It’s taken a while for this news to be confirmed, but negotiations are thought to have been ongoing for some time. The first rumors that DaCosta would get the job started to appear on the internet at the start of August. Hollywood rumors are always hit and miss even when there’s something behind them because so many things can go wrong during negotiations, but we’re happy to confirm that this one was bang on the money. DaCosta now has the unenviable task of trying to follow up on a film that grossed more than one billion dollars at the box office when it was released in 2019. Her selection for the role is a remarkable endorsement from one of the world’s largest entertainment companies for the young director, who turns 31 this month.
While this is excellent news for Nia DaCosta – and for young black women working in the movie business in general – it’s less great for Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who worked together to direct the first film. The reasons why they haven’t been invited back to work on the sequel are unknown, but the decision to chop and change directors appears to be consistent with Marvel policy across the board with its movie projects at the moment. Alternative directors have also been brought in to oversee the sequels for “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” and “Thor.” Voices inside the company have spoken of wanting to ‘go in a new direction’ with their superhero output. That new direction does include more diversity in senior roles, but Marvel might also be looking for differences in tone.
We’ve seen a move away from adult-orientated by every company that Disney has influence over in recent years, from a reduction in suggestive content to backing away from adult-orientated products. A few years ago, there was a range of games available at online slots websites that featured characters from Marvel movies. Despite being a big moneymaker for the company, Disney ordered the withdrawal of those online slots shortly after completing its takeover of the company. It did the same with “Star Wars” after it acquired Lucas Film. The move indicates that image is more important than money to Disney in terms of its priorities. As entertaining as they might be, Playtech slots are games for adults to play and aren’t consistent with that Disney is looking for in its output. DaCosta might find herself being asked to take a child-friendly approach to the second “Captain Marvel” film, which could alienate some of the fans that were drawn to the first one. She’s been given an incredible job opportunity, but it’s one that’s likely to come with potential pitfalls.
This announcement completes a rapid rise to prominence for Nia DaCosta. It was only two years ago that she made her directorial debut with the indie movie “Little Woods,” which became a cult hit and put her name on the map. Since then, she’s been going from strength to strength. She already had one high-profile film on her resume before the Marvel announcement after she was entrusted with the director’s responsibilities for the reboot of the classic horror “Candyman” franchise. With a script by Jordan Peele, that film is said to provide a fresh take on a narrative that began in 1992, has already been completed, and should have been released earlier this year. Unfortunately, like many other films that we should have seen within the past twelve months, it became a victim of the pandemic situation and disappeared from the schedules. It’s now slated for a summer 2021 release. At one point, there were suggestions that it might skip a theatrical release and go straight to streaming, but DaCosta interjected and firmly stated that she believes that it’s a movie that was designed to be seen in movie theaters. The production company accepted her suggestion.
In the past, DaCosta has spoken of her desire to ensure that all of her film projects have ‘active women’ in significant roles. It’s hard to think of any character – with the possible exception of Wonder Woman – who fits that bill better than Captain Marvel. Marvel hasn’t shown any reluctance to prominently feature female characters in the superhero movies it’s made in the past, but the success of “Captain Marvel” gave them reassurance that they could make female-orientated action movies and still make big money at the box office. DaCosta presumably wouldn’t have been attracted to the project if it wasn’t attuned to her ethics, so we can look forward to a dynamic version of the character even if she does, as might be the case, have to tone it down a little to appeal to a family audience. The fact that the script has also been written by a woman – in this case, Megan McDonnell – might also have been a decisive factor in persuading Nia that this is the right job for her at this stage in her career.
All the information we know about this film is starting to come together nicely. We know who’s written it, we know that Brie Larson will appear in the title role again, and we now know who’s going to be sitting in the director’s chair. The next thing we’d like to know is when we might reasonably be expected to see the film, but we might be waiting on that for a while. “Captain Marvel 2” has not yet started filming and may not do so until the new year, so nobody should expect it to arrive before mid-2022 at the earliest. Given the extended period that it takes to make blockbuster movies these days, that could even slip to 2023. We’re sure that this powerful all-woman team will ensure that it’s worth the wait when it eventually arrives.