Cap­tain Marvel

So who’s this char­ac­ter fronting the MCU’s first fe­male-led film?

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You’d think that with a name like Cap­tain Marvel the char­ac­ter would be Marvel’s sig­na­ture hero, but he/she has had a frag­mented his­tory with at least seven dif­fer­ent men and women go­ing by that name. The orig­i­nal Cap­tain Marvel wasn’t even pub­lished by Marvel. He was cre­ated by Fawcett in the ’30s, but DC sued, claim­ing the Cap­tain was too sim­i­lar to Su­per­man. Later the char­ac­ter rights went to DC but by then Marvel had copy­righted the name.


Marvel’s first Cap­tain Marvel was cre­ated by Stan Lee in 1967. He was a Kree sol­dier, Cap­tain Mar-Vell, sent to Earth as a spy but who in­stead be­comes a friend of hu­man­ity’s. He would even­tu­ally be­come the star of Marvel’s first ever graphic novel; a du­bi­ous hon­our since it was called “The Death Of Cap­tain Marvel”, and he’s one of the few comic char­ac­ters never to have been res­ur­rected.


…A young woman called Carol Dan­vers, head of se­cu­rity at the com­pany where Mar-Vell worked on Earth un­der a pseu­do­nym, is caught in the cross­fire in a bat­tle be­tween the Cap­tain and his Kree en­emy Yon-Rogg. When there’s a big ra­dioac­tive ex­plo­sion, Mar-Vell shields Dan­vers to save her. Watch this space.


Af­ter Mar-Vell’s death, a rag-tag bunch of pre­tenders took on the name. In a rather pro­gres­sive move, the first was a woman, Mon­ica Ram­beau, but she had no con­nec­tion with Mar-Vell at all (and very dif­fer­ent pow­ers); she was prac­ti­cally leap­ing into a dead man’s shoes. Af­ter she was re­named Pro­ton (and later Pul­sar), a num­ber of char­ac­ters took the “Marvel” name, in­clud­ing a clone cre­ated from Mar-Vell, plus a Skrull sleeper agent, and a mem­ber of su­pervil­lain team the Dark Avengers.


Re­mem­ber Carol? Turns out she ab­sorbed Mar-Vell’s pow­ers in that ex­plo­sion we told you about and be­came the su­per hero­ine Ms Marvel. She even be­comes an Avenger on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions, which isn’t all fun and games. There are pe­ri­ods of power-loss and al­co­holism. And the less said about the time she spent in an al­ter­nate di­men­sion with a man she gave birth to af­ter he im­preg­nated her against her will the bet­ter.


Even­tu­ally the Avengers con­vinced Dan­vers she re­ally de­served the ti­tle Cap­tain in­stead of Miss and, in Kelly Sue DeCon­nick’s crit­i­cally-ac­claimed 2012 se­ries, Dan­vers fi­nally be­came one of Marvel’s A-lis­ters. Just in time for her to make her big-screen de­but, but who’ll play her? Word is Brie Lar­son (Room, 21 Jump Street) is a favourite, while Marvel’s eye­balling Jen­nifer Kent (The Babadook) and Niki Caro (Whale Rider) for the di­rec­tor’s chair. Ex­pect it in early 2019.

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