HEAT VISION

How 'Captain Marvel' Premiere Brought the '90s to Life

The Marvel Studios team assembled to unveil the film that ties into 'Avengers: Endgame.'
Brie Larson at Monday's 'Captain Marvel' premiere   |   Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
The Marvel Studios team assembled to unveil the film that ties into 'Avengers: Endgame.'

The Spice Girls songs were pumping and the Capri Sun was flowing. Yes, the dream of the '90s was alive at Monday's Captain Marvel premiere.

Star Brie Larson got big applause introducing the film at the Dolby Theatre, noting of the special moment, "I'm crying a lot today." The crowd cheered even louder when the actress asked roughly 100 members of the Air Force to stand up, and the audience responded with a standing ovation. Patriotism was in the air, as just a few hours earlier, Air Force jets flew over Hollywood Boulevard to kick off the event.

For years, the idea of a Captain Marvel movie — Marvel Studios' first to be led by a woman — was just a dream. That dream came into focus for co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck several years ago when they were sitting in a play in New York, their phones vibrating. When they stepped out during intermission, they had nearly 20 missed calls from their agent, who told them Marvel Studios was hiring them for the 1995-set superhero movie. The rest was a blur.

"We don't remember anything about the second half of the play," Boden told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet.

Captain Marvel, which is expected to open in the $125 million range this weekend, centers on Carol Danvers (Larson), a pilot who mysteriously left Earth and gained powers with help of the alien race the Kree, led by an all-knowing Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening). Together with SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Larson must face a threat from another alien race, the shape-shifting Skrulls, led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).

Jackson appears as a younger version of Fury thanks to de-aging technology, and Mendelsohn — who has gone toe-to-toe with Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — found the character to be a formidable foe.

"Young Nick Fury is pretty badass. Carol Danvers, though, she's got some pretty extraordinary gifts," said the actor.

Captain Marvel is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the character was first teased in the final moments of last year's Avengers: Infinity War, in which Fury takes out a retro-looking pager and summons Carol for assistance after Thanos (Josh Brolin) kills half the life in the universe. That's a scene that Boden and Fleck were shown as they were shooting Captain Marvel, which ties directly into next month's Avengers: Endgame.

The Super Bowl spot for Endgame showed the Avengers may have lost, but they are still trying formulate a plan to defeat Thanos. New alliances are formed, including Guardians of the Galaxy member Rocket seemingly joining the team.

Sean Gunn, who plays Rocket via performance capture in Endgame, is remaining quiet as to whether he indeed joins the Avengers, but he did say this: "I got to work with a lot of new people that I haven't worked with yet, and it was thrilling."

In July, Disney fired Gunn's brother James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the filmmaker has since gone on to ink a deal to write and direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. No casting has been revealed for The Suicide Squad, though fans have speculated that perhaps Sean Gunn or Guardians star Dave Bautista should be enlisted for the comic book movie, considering their close relationship with James Gunn.

"It's interesting to me as an artist. It's even more interesting as a brother," Sean Gunn said when asked if he'd be up to join The Suicide Squad. "My brother and I have worked together in many capacities, since we were kids. If he wants me to do something, I will do it. But one of the things I respect most about him is that he's a storyteller first and foremost, so he's not going to try to cram me in there if I don't belong. If he has a part for me, I'd be happy to go do it, but we also have our separate careers and I'm doing my own thing as well, so we'll just see what happens there."

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said Guardians 3 will happen. In addition to playing Rocket, Gunn plays Kraglin, a Ravager who had an expanded role in Guardians 2.

"I have a very strong feeling that Kraglin's story is not complete," Gunn said when asked if the character would be back. "So I think we are going to hear more from Kraglin."

Gemma Chan, who plays the Kree warrior Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel, went to sniper school for her character and called it "the most physical part" she's ever had. In addition to taking a trip to the MCU, she also has two more Crazy Rich Asians films in the works.

"I've heard maybe next year we shoot [Crazy Rich Asians 2 and 3] back-to-back," said Chan, who plays the fashionable Astrid in the romantic series. "I think they are writing it."

Captain Marvel is packed with '90s Easter eggs — including a moment where posters for the band Bush are seen behind the film's hero. And sitting in the film premiere's audience was none other than Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, who had a smile on his face when that scene played out.

Later, the afterparty at the Roosevelt Hotel featured video game cabinets, an all-90s DJ set, a friendship bracelets station and plenty of ring pops. Larson greeted Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, a fortuitous meeting as they may find themselves as the faces of the MCU going forward following Endgame, which looks to be the swan song for a number of the universe's key players.

In addition to Endgame (which bows April 27) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5), Marvel Studios has a number of films in development, including sequels to Black Panther and Doctor Strange; a Black Widow spinoff; a Shang-Chi movie; and The Eternals. The studio also has a number of shows in the works for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, including a Loki series, a Scarlet Witch and Vision show and a Winter Soldier/Falcon team-up series.  

"We have all kinds of female-led films," Marvel executive vp physical production Victoria Alonso told THR, noting 51 percent of Marvel's audience is female."We have them all lined up and we are hoping they are not only directed by women, led by women, head of departments by women. We are going to have as much diversity and representation as we can."

Captain Marvel hits theaters Friday.

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