The highly anticipated comic book adaptation Captain Marvel will take fans to some unlikely places. A farm in Louisiana is the first look we are given at the origin story for Air Force pilot turned intergalactic savior, Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. Oscar winner Brie Larson steps in as the titular hero, who fans got a mere glimpse of at the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War, as Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury hits her intergalactic Skytel pager before fading to dust.
The arid desolation of the rural expanse seems like an improbable locale for clandestine alien operations. So when lizard-like men are seen skulking about the grounds of the plantation house outside Baton Rouge it catches us off guard. Today Larson is dressed in a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, and the plantation house has been retro-fitted with appliances and furnishings of an American home in the Clinton era. The mid-'90s aren’t just the decade we’ve been transported to, that’s about how hot it is outside on this Friday in June and Brie calmly sips from a water bottle, enjoying the air conditioned respite from the heat.
In the months leading up to this Larson has been training her body to save the universe. Standing at a petite 5-foot-7, she can now hip thrust 400 pounds and has been dedicated to living up to her character’s bad-ass reputation.
“I knew that a movie like this was gonna feel like a triathlon, and I wanted to be ready for it,” she says. “I wanted to be as prepared as possible, so I wasn’t fighting being fatigued or my body hurting, that I was as resilient as I could possibly be. And also a huge part of [Captain Marvel] is her strength. And so I knew that if I could go through that experience I would get closer to her. I was an introvert with asthma before this film, so I had a lot of work to do.”
The first Captain Marvel was an alien military officer named Marv-Vell who first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 in 1967. Larson’s Carol Danvers is a later iteration of the character, first appearing as Ms. Marvel in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in 1968. After being imbued with alien DNA after an explosion, Ms. Marvel was granted superhuman strength, flight and pre-cognition as just some of her abilities. To say that Brie has taken her role to heart would be an understatement.
“Everything’s been quite exaggerated in my world for the last 6 months. It will be interesting to go back to my normal strength self,” Larson jokes before explaining why she has insisted on doing so many of her own stunts. “If she’s the strongest character in this Marvel universe and she can move planets, I should be able to push a car. And it makes the story feel more complete to me that I can talk about what it’s actually like to feel strong in my body as a self-identifying woman. I do feel strong and I had to work real hard for it. I trained for 9 months. It consumed my whole world and it was no joke and really changed me more mentally than physically. I had really good teachers. It took a lot of people to get to what you see on screen.”
Last night the full trailer for Captain Marvel premiered during Monday Night Football, kicking off the full promo campaign for the film’s March 8 release date. The weight of propelling the next phase of the MCU is not lost on Larson, who is still in awe of meeting all of her Marvel cast-mates at a 10th Anniversary celebration.
“It’s a weird time to enter [the MCU]. I’m entering it at the ten-year point, this pivotal time where everybody’s coming together, you know? And so it’s a very surreal, very surreal experience. This is a family and you feel it. I could feel it that day. You can feel the history. You can feel the love. You can feel how much time these people have spent together, and I was just really grateful that they were so generous and so excited about me joining it, and so open to answering my questions.”
Some of those Marvel connections are closer than others. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his Nick Fury role in Captain Marvel, continuing to act as the connective tissue of the MCU.
“Brie and I have an interesting chemistry, having done several films together already,” says Jackson, who starred in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island with Larson. “Being with her we have a sense of what works between us and the dynamic of who we are, how we interact and the closeness that we feel anyway that allows us to do things that make people believe that we are forming a bond.”
The foundation for their bond will be fully explored in Captain Marvel and meet its natural conclusion in the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War, premiering later that year. But for now Brie Larson is just preparing to show the world who her brand of hero is and what she’s capable of. Who is this old-lady punching warrior with a flaming mohawk who bleeds green? We’ll all find out on March 8, 2019.