'Captain Marvel' Movie Could Explore Alcoholism, Trauma, and Kamala Khan

Marvel's got an impressive wealth of possible storylines for its first female lead

Fans at Comic-Con screamed with excitement and glee when Marvel Studios announced that Brie Larson would play Carol Danvers in an upcoming Captain Marvel film. While most solo Marvel films preceding Black Panther and including Doctor Strange use a basic origin-story structure, Captain Marvel has a chance to introduce Carol Danvers the way Jessica Jones arrived on the scene: post-freakout, already a seasoned vigilante, and in the game long before the camera found her.

What’s exciting about Captain Marvel’s history with the MCU is that her alliances have shifted many times. In some storylines, she made trouble for Natasha (Black Widow) while tracking down young superhumans for the United States government. In Civil War II, Danvers faces off against Tony, and she also has a long relationship with the Kree people, who have already appeared in Guardians Of The Galaxy. She’s also experienced time travel and trained an all-female military squadron called The Banshee Squad, or Carol Corps. All in all, there are a ton of fascinating entry points for this super-heroine.

The Alcoholic Avenger

The most uncomfortable of Captain Marvel’s subplots, throughout the years, was being unwillingly impregnated through rape. The second most uncomfortable plot-line, making Danvers a recovering alcoholic, was strange not because of its attempt at realism – but mostly because of its shaky execution.

Adapting the alcoholic storyline, in which Danvers turned to booze to cope with her PTSD and having been made into a superhuman, could give the MCU a chance to explore trauma in a way it’s already touched on, in both Jessica Jones and Iron Man. It would also be fascinating to watch Brie Larson play a young woman who keeps actively undercutting her own abilities when her movie begins; finding her place in The Avengers and accepting her status as “in recovery” could be a fantastic, emotionally resonant journey for the first Captain Marvel film.

Fan art of Larson as Danvers has been circulating for months.


Operation: Lightning Storm

Adapting the Lightning Storm storyline would connect Danvers immediately to Tony Stark post-Civil War, which would make the transition between MCU phases clean and easy to follow. Stark finds out about Danvers and sends her on a mission, titled Operation: Lightning Storm, to track down and neutralize early super-villains, Minority Report style.

A Captain Marvel movie following Lightning Storm would allow the MCU to tease young, interesting super-villains, and a trio of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents: Locke, Baines and Sum. Marvel would take huge strides toward solving what some critics call its “villain problem,” as the studio has yet to introduce a super-villain whom fans want to see in subsequent films (aside from Loki).

The Banshee Squad

Kelly Sue Deconnick’s recent take on Captain Marvel garnered critical acclaim and impressive sales, bolstered considerably by her dive into the Banshee Squad, a group of female WWII soldiers Danvers hooks up with when time traveling. Now that a Carol Danvers film is in the works, Deconnick’s books feel like earnest pleas for a female-driven, ensemble war film, maybe something that feels like the light-hearted parts of Saving Private Ryan (of which there are a few).

Watching Captain Marvel speak in a militaristic way about the United States might also be fun, especially since our last Captain America scene saw him tossing his patriotic shield at Tony and essentially becoming a man without a country. Carol Danvers, during her recent comics, is actually pretty gung-ho about America.

Ah, the simplicity of two years ago, when "America" + "bigger gun" seemed like a totally fine comic book panel.

Guardians of the Galaxy and the Kree

In addition to linking Danvers to Tony Stark, a Captain Marvel movie could put her on the Guardians’ radar, as her modern iterations make her a half-Kree sort of mutant. You remember the Kree, right? The militaristic, xenophobic blue people who follow nut-jobs like Ronan the Accuser?

The upside to linking Danvers to the Guardians-verse has a lot to do with what her character is doing in currently running comics: that is, flying around the galaxy with an orange cat on her spaceship, solving trade disputes and exploring net planets like the crew on the Enterprise. Also, she and Rocket would probably like each other, and we all want to see Brie Larson cuddle a frustrated CGI mutant raccoon.

Debuting Kamala

Can you even imagine the excited shrieks in every theater across our nation, if Carol Danvers were to drop into Jersey City during her first film’s after-credits sequence, perhaps seeing just a scrap of Ms. Marvel’s red sash, and hearing a teenager’s voice, touched lightly with a Pakistani accent, calling her name?

Did you just get the shivers imagining it? We certainly did.

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