'Captain Marvel' Screenwriter on the Challenges of Bringing the Hero to the Big Screen

"There are things you wouldn’t think twice about Iron Man but you would think twice about for Captain Marvel," says Nicole Perlman.
Jamie McKelvie/Marvel Entertainment

Originally announced back in 2014, there's been little news about Marvel's Captain Marvel movie, which has been seemingly sluggish in getting underway beyond the announcement of Brie Larson as the movie's lead and the hiring of the movie's writers. Now, Nicole Perlman, one of the two writers assigned to the feature, has talked about some potential reasons behind the delay.

"Meg [LeFauve] and I were hired a long time ago but we didn’t have our marching orders until recently," Perlman said on the latest episode of the Great Big Beautiful Podcast, when talking about the current state of the Captain Marvel screenplay. (The two were brought on board the project two years ago.) "Marvel is a little bit of a house of cards in a sense that everything influences everything around it even if it's very modular. Figuring out where the story fits in the MCU influences things as well."

Continuity isn't the only problem, Perlman suggested. There's also finding a space for Captain Marvel inside the increasingly crowded MCU. "She’s an incredible character, but I will also say that since Marvel has done so many movies already, you really have to go out of your way to make sure her story is fresh and doesn’t borrow too heavily from the other films," she said. "She’s an incredibly strong and wonderful hero, but all the Marvel characters are. So you just need to figure out how to bring her to life in a way that's unique to her story but in a way that honors the canon and also gearing out the roles that she needs to play with everything that’s going on in the MCU."

All of those pressures, she suggested, makes Captain Marvel "a little bit of a Twister game whereas Guardians [of the Galaxy, Perlman's previously screenplay for Marvel] is very free, where it’s like the sky is the limit."

And that's even before you consider that Perlman and LeFauve have to navigate the fact that the movie will be Marvel's first female-led feature in more than a decade of filmmaking. "I think theres a tendency to have that back-and-forth conversation of, 'Should it affect the story at all?' or 'Should it affect the writing?'" Perlman admitted, adding, "There are certain tropes you can get away [with not] having to examine too much if you’re not writing the first female Marvel Studios lead; that could be read into a lot or that could diminish her own proactivity, strength and independence. There are things you wouldn’t think twice about Iron Man but you would think twice about for Captain Marvel."

The feature is currently scheduled for a March 8, 2019, release, although it has already been pushed back twice since its initial announcement; it was originally targeted for July 6, 2018.

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