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'Captain Marvel': 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' Pixar writers team for first female-lead Marvel movie

Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, starring in a new Marvel movie in 2018.
Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, starring in a new Marvel movie in 2018.
Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, starring in a new Marvel movie in 2018.
Screenwriter Nicole Perlman.
Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, starring in a new Marvel movie in 2018.
Screenwriter Meg LeFauve.

Marvel announced Monday that Nicole Perlman will write "Captain Marvel" alongside Meg LeFauve. Perlman was the first writer on "Guardians of the Galaxy" before a heavy rewrite by director James Gunn, while LeFauve co-wrote Pixar's next movie heading to theaters this June, "Inside Out." (We'll be talking to LeFauve on the Frame ahead of the new film.) Perlman was also the first female screenwriter on a Marvel Studios film.

The move shows Marvel Studios standing behind Perlman. While she wrote the initial "Guardians" treatment," Gunn publicly argued that he was the real creative voice behind the film, despite he and Perlman receiving co-writing credits on the film.

"Really, in Nicole’s script everything is pretty different,"  Gunn told Film Divider. "The story is different, there’s no Walkman, the character arcs are different, it’s not about the same stuff. But that’s how the WGA works. They like first writers an awful lot."

Perlman was more complimentary about Gunn's contributions to the script.

"He definitely bumped the humor up and added some characters and deepened the scenes," Perlman told the Hollywood Reporter. "He did a really great job, and brought his incredible visual style and raunchy humor. He absolutely added some wonderful elements to it."

She also told BuzzFeed that Gunn was responsible for making the main villain Ronan rather than Thanos, adding the character Nebula and changing around the character of Yondu.

"It wasn’t a script that was done by committee, in the way that I think a lot of large action superhero movies are," Perlman said.

Gunn, speaking during a "Guardians" press junket, told BuzzFeed: "The original concept was there [in Perlman's script], that was sort of like what’s in the movie, and then there’s the story and the characters — those were pretty much re-created by me."

Writer Sady Doyle is among those who took issue with how Gunn spoke about Perlman's script:

Sady Doyle tweet

Whatever the past behind Perlman's Marvel movie contributions, the character she'll be working with LeFauve on is one that has a complex history in comics. The name Captain Marvel was initially used in the 1940s, but due to a similarity between that character and Superman, DC Comics eventually won the rights to the character.

However, due to the complications of copyright and trademarks, Marvel Comics was able to create its own Captain Marvel and establish the rights to publish comics with that name. DC was left able to use the name, but without the rights to do comics or movies with the moniker — that's why that version of the character is now referred to as "Shazam," with an upcoming movie titled likewise.

That Marvel Comics version is what Perlman and LeFauve are tackling — a character whose initial version was killed off in the comics in 1982. Other versions of Captain Marvel remained relatively obscure until another old character — Ms. Marvel — took the name, and has since developed a cult fan base of comic book fans.

Who's Ms. Marvel, aka Carol Danvers? She was a superhero who, like Captain Marvel, was tied to the Kree (who have also played a big role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Her story is also tied into one of the X-Men, Rogue (don't expect to see that due to the X-Men being over at Fox), as that character got her super-strength and ability to fly by stealing them from Ms. Marvel.

Meanwhile, Marvel has introduced a new Ms. Marvel, so the short version of all this: characters named "Captain Marvel" are the comic book version of musical chairs. With the focus being on the new female Captain Marvel, you can expect their take on the movie to likely simplify the character's complex history into a streamlined take.

She's Earth-based, but a space-faring character, so Captain Marvel could be an elegant place to connect the "Avengers" films with "Guardians of the Galaxy." Joss Whedon actually had planned to introduce her in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," even going so far as to have special effects prepared for the character, but ended up using them on a different character according to Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige.

"This Captain Marvel’s name is Carol Danvers," Feige said when the film was announced. "This film has been in the works almost as long as 'Doctor Strange' or 'Guardians of the Galaxy' before it came out, and one of the key things was figuring out what we wanted to do with it. Her adventures are very earthbound, but her powers are based in the cosmic realm.”

"Captain Marvel" hits theaters Nov. 2, 2018 (after being bumped from a date earlier that year).

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