With Ant-Man out in theaters and the curtain drawn on Phase 2, all eyes have now turned to Phase 3 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. While DC is going to beat Marvel to the punch on the first solo film featuring a female superhero, Marvel has Captain Marvel coming in 2018.
What We Do Know
The Captain Marvel film is set to release November 2, 2018. The script is being co-written by Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out). So far we have no director and no leading actress, though the last major rumors had Marvel tipping Angelina Jolie to direct with Charlize Theron in the lead role. There was also a recent rumor stating that Marvel was close to nabbing Emily Blunt for the lead role. Nothing concrete has come out of any of this as of yet.
It has been said by some people that a director has to be found before we see Danvers cast, but I disagree. I believe you might see Danvers introduced in some capacity before her solo film to establish her in the MCU. Now with this film coming in late 2018, there is still time to get things in place, but with needing to determine the direction of the film, be it cosmic or Earth-centric, a director would need to be chosen fairly soon.
Personally, I would be okay with Jolie, but I think if they could get someone like Kathryn Bigelow involved that would be fantastic. Her experience with Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker would make the militaristic side of Danvers' story really POP. With Danvers being a Major in the Air Force, in addition to her time spent at NASA, a director with Bigelow's film background could really do wonders. There is also the fact that both Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie worked with Bigelow on Hurt Locker, and connections like that could make bringing her in a bit easier.
What Danvers Brings to the MCU
Outside of being the first female Marvel hero with her own solo film, Carol Danvers brings a compelling character to the screen.
Her backstory is relatable for both girls and boys. The only girl in a male dominant home, she never felt like she could do enough to please her narrow-minded father. Wanting to be a pilot and astronaut from an early age, she joined the Air Force after High School and never looked back. She quickly rose to the top of her Air Force class and was recruited into military intelligence (Special Operations) and trained as a spy. NASA eventually requested her for an open position as head of security which she accepted, resigning from the Air Force as a full Colonel upon retirement. She would become the youngest security captain in NASA's history.
Everything would change when she met the Kree soldier Mar-Vell, who was disguised as Dr. Walter Lawson. Mar-Vell had been sent to Earth as part of a Kree investigation under the command of Yon-Rogg. A rising conflict between Mar-Vell and Yon-Rogg would lead to Danvers being kidnapped. During Mar-Vell's rescue attempt, an explosion causes his Kree energies to transfer into Carol's body. Suffering blackouts as her body's way of coping with the Kree essence now within her, Carol would craft a costume and become Ms. Marvel (in honor of Mar-Vell) and eventually take over his mantle as Captain Marvel.
I believe her blackouts and the issues caused by her experience would be an excellent way to bring in her eventual nemesis, Dr. Karla Sofen (Moonstone). Carol could begin to see Sofen, a psychiatrist, as therapy following the incident with Yon-Rogg. Moonstone is practically Danvers' antithesis. While Carol is kind, self-sacrificing, and seeks to aid others, Sofen is selfish, spoiled, and spiteful. Additional villains for the future could include Doomsday Man, Titannus, Warren Traveler, and Thanos' Black Order.
Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful characters in Marvel, period. She has superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. She also has the ability to fly, precognition in battle, contaminant immunity, photon blasts, and energy absorption, along with being an expert pilot and combatant.
Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers
All the known contenders are here, and honestly I would likely be fine with any of them, though if I had my pick it would probably be either Emily Blunt or Katheryn Winnick.
Mar Vell/Walter Lawson
I know the biggest rumors have him as Marvel's potential choice for Norman Osborn, but I just have trouble seeing it. I feel he is a much better fit elsewhere. Truth be told, he would really be perfect for S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clay Quartermain, but that role isn't big enough for him. If he really wants a solid role as a male lead, I think Mar-Vell is an excellent fit. It gives him great superhero exposure without tying him into too many films right away.
If Marvel is set on McConaughey for Osborn or another role, then I believe Duhamel is a great choice here. He has been around the block, but is still young enough to handle action roles. He has the action experience, thanks to the Transformers franchise, and can handle the drama side as well.
This man was born to play a comic book villain in my opinion. He just oozes that broody, egocentric, scheming personality that you look for. This is precisely what I feel this role entails. Primarily fixed in more dramatic roles as of late, Owen has plenty of action experience under his belt. Taking a role in a movie like this would be a great step back into the mainstream for him, without too much of a commitment, unless Marvel chooses to keep the character around for a little while.
If Marvel wanted to go a slightly younger direction with the role, then I think Brody would be a solid choice. As another talent who can handle that broody, egocentric nature, I feel like he would be a good fit here as well. His role in Predators show a good action side, and he plays "dark" very well.
She is my first, second, and third choice for this role. If you have seen her in Gone Girl I don't believe I need any other explanation. Absolutely brilliant and twisted, her portrayal of Amy Dunne was marvelous. I can think of no one better to play this role.