(Warning - very mild SPOILERS for the recently released Sicario lie below. If you've already seen the trailer or any commercials, though, or just aren't overly bothered, you're very much safe to read on...)
When the news broke a few weeks back that Emily Blunt hasn't - as of yet at least - been contacted by Marvel Studios about potentially playing Captain Marvel, a whole lot of hopes were dashed. She had, after all, been a solid fan-favorite for the role, which made her comments at the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) all the more disappointing:
"I’ve not had a phone call about it. Not one whisper of Captain Marvel has come my way. Promise."
At a strikingly similar time, however, something that might just offer up a glimmer of hope happened. Specifically:
Emily Blunt Just Proved She'd Make a Perfect Captain Marvel
Y'see, while Blunt was not being contacted by Marvel to play a role that very much seems to have not yet been cast, she was also quietly going about the business of proving herself to be one of the toughest, most plausible on-screen bad-asses in Hollywood.
That above quote, after all, came during her promotional duties for the recently released (and heading to general release October 2nd) Sicario, one of the big critical winners to emerge from TIFF - and as it turns out...
Sicario Might Just Be the Perfect Audition Tape For Captain Marvel
The reason? Well, hows about five?
5. Blunt Plays a Bad-Ass With the Ease Most of Us Reserve For Eating Cereal
Now, without giving anything away, it's hard to talk about Sicario without making mention of Blunt's role being one largely defined by its bad-assery. Standing toe to toe with the likes of Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin isn't, after all, a walk in the park - and might just be the final piece of proof (if Edge of Tomorrow somehow wasn't enough) that Emily Blunt is a natural action star.
With there not being to many of them around, that could well be a major factor in Marvel's decision down the line a ways.
4. Blunt Combines Bad-Assery With the Complexity and Pain That Playing Captain Marvel Absolutely Requires
One of the important things to remember about Captain Marvel - and one that's often overlooked - is that she isn't just a cookie-cutter punch-throwing goon. Instead, she's one of the most complex, troubled and recognizably human superheroes that Marvel has ever come up with.
Blunt's performance in Sicario hits all of those key notes - indeed, it practically bursts through the screen with its delicately suppressed emotional rawness - which might just make her one of the few candidates for Captain Marvel who can manage both intense bad-assery and cavernous emotional depth.
On a more practical note, though:
3. Sicario Looks Set To Prove Blunt Has Box Office Clout
With Sicario having just posted the biggest opening weekend for a limited release this year ($66,681 over six screens), there's already a growing sense that it could tap in to some of the immense box office success that American Sniper had last year. With a relatively small budget of $30 million, the movie doesn't need a huge box office tally to break even - but were it to post anywhere close to a $100 million during its box office run, it'd surely give Blunt the kind of commercial cache that only butts on seats can provide.
With Marvel likely looking for a relatively big name for Captain Marvel - seeing as the property has very little name recognition as things stand - that could prove decisive.
2. Blunt Looks Set to Prove That She Can Bring a Female Audience to an Action Movie
One of the most intriguing details to come out of that highly successful opening weekend for Sicario was the film's surprising gender split. With a nearly even blend of men and women heading to screenings of the movie - a rarity for an R-Rated action movie - it's seems possible that Blunt could have hit demographic gold. After all, if you can attract a female audience to an action movie, there'll always be work for you in Hollywood.
As Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Patrick Wachsberger recently revealed, alongside plans to tweak the movie's marketing campaign to target women in response to those screenings:
"There are not that many strong roles for actresses in movies like this,” Wachsberger said. “When women become aware that the protagonist is female and how special this performance is, they’ll want to see it."
If Blunt can carry that demographic swing over to Sicario's full release, then it's sure to put her very much on the radar of every studio in town - including execs at Marvel preparing to enter production on their first female superhero-led movie.
1. Blunt's Just Really, Really Good in it
So good, in fact, that Oscar buzz - in a season that hasn't had a whole lot of it as of yet - is already very much making itself at home around her performance.
It's an imprecise (and not necessarily proven) art, but Academy Award nominations are widely seen as a box-office boon - and wins doubly so. Should Blunt pick up any sort of nod for Sicario, it's likely to make her about as hot a property as Hollywood has going - and that could persuade Marvel Studios to offer whatever it'd take to get her to sign on the dotted line for Captain Marvel.
The big question, though?