Right now, Marvel is the biggest brand when it comes to superhero movies. But be that as it may, it’s namesake superhero Captain Marvel doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar for anyone outside the devoted comic book store enthusiast. But be that as it may, the story of Kree commander Mar-Vell and on through to Carol Danvers is an interesting concept that never quite got its due. And now with Marvel successfully completing “Phase One” of its movie plans and initiating a string of second-tier concepts like Guardians of the Galaxy, now is the opportune time to resuscitate this classic Gene Colan and Stan Lee gem as a 21st century hero.
Imagine a story where a foreign military officer infiltrated our government so deep that even he couldn’t figure out what side he’s on. That, in effect, is how the original Captain Marvel came to be in Marvel Comics. Kree Imperial Militia officer Captain Mar-Vell was sent to Earth to spy and observe us and our rapid development of technology. Masquerading under the identity of a deceased scientist named Walter Lawson, this Kree warrior also dons a superhero guise as Captain Marvel to investigate our own superhero forces. But while living as an Earthman and fighting alongside earth’s hero — both military and superhero — Mar-Vell becomes disillusioned by his Kree superiors dark plans for Earth and turns against his people to stand beside Earth.
There’s more to Captain Marvel’s story as time went on, but that right there is the first arc — and an ideal first part of a movie series. I’d flesh out that by growing the character of Carol Danvers, his military liaison, and have her slowly come into the spotlight as his colleague, sometimes lover and eventual successor as Ms. Marvel and later Captain Marvel. The first movie could show Mar-Vell coming around to Earth’s way of thinking and standing up to the Kree’s Ronan the Accusser and the Supreme Intelligence, fighting off the impending Kree invasion while Earth people are scarcely aware.
If it goes well, sequels could cover Mar-Vell’s face-off with Nitro, Thanos and his death from cancer, and seamlessly show Danvers rising to the occassion and the mantle of Captain Marvel in his stead.
To direct this big, “blue sky” aviation superhero story I’d turn to relative newcomer Zal Batmanglij. Batmanglij first film, 2011′s The Sound Of My Voice, was a hauntingly creepy story that showed he could handle special effects and story without sacrificing either, and his next film The East looks to be promising, with its own issues of someone going undercover the way Mar-Vell does when he first comes to Earth. It’s an outside choice, but I think Captain Marvel needs some outside thinking to really find the right vantage point to make it a success on the big screen.
Captain Marvel / Mar-Vell – Orlando Bloom: Wait wait wait, give me a second before you murder me. Orlando Bloom won over genre fans with his role of Legolas in Lord of the Rings, but since then he’s never quite lived up to the assumed potential — despite starring in three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Regardless of that, I believe that potential is still there — perhaps
Ms. Marvel / Carol Danvers – Katee Sackhoff: It takes a certain kind of actress to step into the demanding role of Carol Danvers. Whether it’s Ms. Marvel or her current identity as Captain Marvel, Danvers is a complex character despite how some people pigeon-hole her due to her costume. In comics she was a high-ranking Air Force officer and security chief of a top-secret military installation, and only became a super-hero after joining up with Mar-Vell. She’s a military vet, with some awesome powers to boot. Sackhoff could really reclaim some of her Battlestar Galactica spunk here and be a force of nature and more than just a sidekick to Captain Marvel himself, and maybe a someday successor.
Ronan The Accuser – Terry O’Quinn: Terry O’Quinn is one imposing S.O.B., even at his age (60, if you’re curious). While he hasn’t been able to catch a break after his run on Lost, he’s an ideal actor to play a villainous role in superhero flicks and he’d sure raise the threat level if he was to step into the role of Ronan.
The Supreme Intelligence – Michael Gambon: Gamon’s got experience playing a wizened authority figure from his role as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies, but I’ve seen Gambon play some dark characters so imagine Gambon doing that — with some motion-capture equipment — as the Supreme Intelligence. He wouldn’t even have to leave his country to film and voice the scenes!