‘Captain Marvel’: How Did Brie Larson Change Women Superhero Roles Forever?
Captain Marvel grossed $1 billion at the box office worldwide, which is a sign that we will see more female-led superhero movies. Some of them are even already scheduled: The sequel to the 2017 hit Wonder Woman is filming and due for release in the summer of 2020, while Marvel has cast a standalone film for the female Avenger Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson has certainly set a precedent.
Female successes add up
With the Wonder Woman sequel before the cameras, one may say, “Wait a minute – didn’t Gal Gadot get there first, even as far back as Batman v Superman?” She did, but she was playing a character that many people already knew, with Wonder Woman having appeared in various animated TV shows and in her own TV series in the 1970s.
Captain Marvel, by contrast, had not made as much of a dent in pop culture. In fact, children of the 70s may have been confused since Captain Marvel had been the name of a DC Comics character, who also had his own 70s TV series. After a legal tussle, that character became Shazam, who has his own recently-released hit movie.
Wonder Woman may have come out first, but Marvel used its marketing savvy to introduce people to a less familiar character that would play a key role in Avengers: Endgame. They gave the character even more gravitas by casting Larson, who had won an Oscar for Room. Marvel and DC also made sure to put female talent behind the camera, with both Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel being directed or co-directed by women.
So while Gadot may have opened the door, Larson has all but kicked it down. And in Hollywood, the only thing that succeeds better than one hit movie is two hit movies.
“Female superheroes should be a consistent presence going forward. As the stunning success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians has taught us, representation matters,” Karie Bible, a box office analyst for movie consulting firm Exhibitors Relations, told CNBC.”Women want to see themselves reflected on screen and empowered. Why should the men get to have all the fun?”
What female-centric superhero movies are next?
tudios have several female-led superhero movies in some stage of development. Next out of the gate will be Dark Phoenix, another chapter in the X-Men saga, due June 7. While those movies focus on an ensemble of heroes and villains, this one centers around Sophie Turner’s Jean Gray struggling to control her powers.
Speaking of X-Men, the next-chapter in that series is not far behind at all with The New Mutants, featuring Anya Taylor-Joy (Split) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones). That comes out Aug. 2.
DC will let a villain lead the way in Birds of Prey, starring Margot Robbie’s Suicide Squad character, Harley Quinn. That hits theaters next February. Wonder Woman‘s sequel, which takes place in 1984, is coming up in June of 2020. The Black Widow movie isn’t on the schedule yet, but speculation says it could come out as soon as May of 2020.
And of course, with $1 billion in the bank, Carol Danvers is bound to return in a sequel, possibly in 2021. Larson already knows who she wants to join her: “My dream would be that Ms. Marvel gets to come into play,” she said, referring to a shape-shifting character.
More female superheroes are on the way, whether online trolls like it or not. As the Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo puts it, “There’s a whole new era opening up in the world, and Brie’s leading the way.”