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This Captain Marvel Character Was Originally Meant To Be A Man

Contains spoilers for Captain Marvel

Between the Captain Marvel comics to the Captain Marvel standalone that launched over the weekend, there exist a handful of differences: Maria Rambeau's daughter Monica actually donned the Captain Marvel moniker before Carol Danvers did (in the comics, that is); the fuzzy orange cat is named Chewie on paper but Goose on the big screen; and the Kree-Skrull war has a lot more complexity to it than the good-versus-bad as depicted within the film. 

Oh, and yeah — Mar-Vell, Carol Danvers' mentor and the person who catalyzes her transformation from normal human to super-powered entity with Kree blood flowing through her veins? That character is a man in the comics, but a woman in Captain Marvel

The film's co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck recently discussed the Mar-Vell gender-swap with Entertainment Weekly, revealing to the outlet that the character was originally written as a man and the choice to change Mar-Vell to a woman — the brilliant scientist Dr. Wendy Lawson, played by Annette Bening, who conceals from the rest of the world her true identity as a Kree called Mar-Vell — was a last-minute one. So last-minute, in fact, that the decision was made after Boden, Fleck, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had begun scouting for male actors to fill the part. 

"That was one of the epiphanies in the writing that came fairly late in the process," Boden said, to which Fleck laughed, "Very late!"

Boden added that the "epiphany" that Mar-Vell should be a woman in Captain Marvel rather than a man came "too late in the process for comfort, to be perfectly honest!"

One of the reasons why the Captain Marvel team decided to cast a woman in the role of Mar-Vell and rework the character was due to the fact that they were having a difficult time finding the right male actor for the part. As Feige explained, "We had already started some initial casting discussions for an actor, a male actor to play Mar-Vell. No one specific, but we'd started looking at lists. And we were struggling with it, frankly."

Thus, Boden offered up the idea that they select a woman instead and merge together Mar-Vell and the A.I. Kree leader known as the Supreme Intelligence, hiring the same actress to portray both roles. 

"Pretty late in the process of writing it, I think I just woke up one morning and I had dreamt it or something," Boden shared. "I texted Ryan, and I was like, 'Am I crazy that these could both be the same actor?' And he was like, 'Yes, you are crazy, and yes, you should talk to Marvel about it immediately.' So it was a late-breaking idea, but something that I think helped pull those elements together in a way that it would've been hard to otherwise."

Academy Award-nominated actress Annette Bening scored the gig, depicting both Mar-Vell opposite Brie Larson's Carol Danvers and the Supreme Intelligence, which manifests itself as the person its observer admires and respects most. Throughout Captain Marvel, we only see the Supreme Intelligence communicating with Carol — whose biggest idol is Dr. Wendy Lawson (secretly Mar-Vell, as you know). While the Supreme Intelligence isn't Mar-Vell, the entity looks like her because Carol sees it as her. Get it? Got it? Good. 

Fleck said of Bening, "We've just been big fans of her for a long time, and she's got all those qualities. She's got the great mentor quality that we were looking for in that character, but she can also be really tough, and that was really necessary for both aspects. She can be regal, which was perfect for the Supreme Intelligence, and she can also just be casual and cool and laid back, which was necessary for Lawson."

What's interesting here, beyond the obvious fact that Mar-Vell was meant to be a man in Captain Marvel, is the mention from Feige that he and the film's team had started talking to a male actor for the part before the gender-swap happened. Obviously, Feige couldn't name names, but we have an inkling that the mystery man in question was Jude Law.

When Law was first announced for Captain Marvel in late November of 2017, outlets everywhere listed his character as Mar-Vell, the Kree alien living on Earth created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1967. Variety reported at the time that Law would be playing "Doctor Walter Lawson, a.k.a. Mar-Vell, who becomes a mentor of sorts to Danvers as she tries to figure out her new powers." 

From there, Law tip-toed around character details when talking about Captain Marvel, neither confirming nor denying that he would appear as Mar-Vell. Things only got more suspicious when leaked information suggesting Law was really playing the villainous Yon-Rogg made its way online. 

As we now know, Law truly did portray Yon-Rogg, the Starforce commander who killed Mar-Vell after a plane carrying her and Carol crashed, watched as Carol obliterated the light-speed energy core Mar-Vell was working on, essentially abducted her after realizing she's now incredibly powerful and could be hugely beneficial to the Kree race's war efforts, gave her the name Vers, and trained her under his watchful eye.

Maybe Law was supposed to play Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel. Maybe he was set for the role of Yon-Rogg all along, and press releases were issued to purposefully mislead the Marvel-loving masses and make the twist more shocking. Any way you dice it, the Captain Marvel gang were happier with a female Mar-Vell than they were a male.