Meet the Marvels: How three heroes named ‘Marvel’ got into one Marvel movie

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What do you get when you bring together not one, not two, but THREE superheroes that have been known as a ‘Marvel’ into one Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie? Why, you get The Marvels, of course.


The latest MCU film, which is now screening in cinemas, essentially brings together three characters whose comic book past (and present) has seen them having the word ‘Marvel’ in their names.

First off, Brie Larson is Carol Danvers a.k.a Captain Marvel, who, being one of the MCU’s most powerful superheroes an a pivotal character in the genre-defining Avengers: Endgame, doesn’t need much introduction.

Then there’s Monica Rambeau (played by Tenoyah Parris), who was the first female Captain Marvel before Carol in the comics. Monica can and manipulate all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (she has also gone by hte name ‘Spectrum; before. In the MCU, she was first introduced in the MCU as a child in 2018’s Captain Marvel (which was set in the 1990s), and as an adult, got her powers after passing through Scarlet Witch’s hex magic field in the Disney+ show WandaVision.

Last but definitely not least, is Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, a.k.a Ms Marvel. Kamala, who made her debut in the 2021 TV series Ms Marvel on Disney+, is a teenage hero and massive Captain Marvel fan girl who has a magical bangle that can turn light into physical matter.

So, that’s two out of three characters that technically began in the Disney+ TV shows, but are now making the transition to the big screen. According to The Marvels executive producer Mary Livanos, however, the integration of the two characters into the MCU feature films was pretty seamless, as the team for The Marvels has already been in production for “a really long time”.

“It dates all the way back to the development of the first Captain Marvel movie. There, we decided Monica would appear as a child, because we knew that one day in the present timeline we would want an adult Monica to share the screen with Carol Danvers,” Livanos said during a recent virtual interview.

“Then as soon as Ms Marvel began its development, we knew Kamala Khan would have to be part of the team as well.,” she adds. “Not only because she is Captain Marvel’s biggest fan, but also to talk about the idea of Captain Marvel as a superhero, and subsequently get to know Carol Danvers as the person behind that and the hero who is behind that person.”

According to Livanos, what was great about each of these three characters coming from different spaces around the Marvel universe is that they came into The Marvels as fully formed superheroes.

“These are real women, that when grouped together, become even more than the sum of their parts,” she said, adding that the actors also developed their onscreen chemistry right off the bat.


“The three of them came to this set with such a deep understanding of their characters that it allowed for really authentic relationships to form there. So, it was wonderful to see them all connect.”

Directed by Nia DaCosta, The Marvels revolves around the three heroes’ light-based powers somehow getting ‘entangled’, causing them to switch places when they use their powers at the same time. They later find out that this glitch was caused by Kree Supremor Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), who has activated an artefact that allows her to open ‘jump points’ in space, which she plans to use to save the dying Kree home planet of Hala.

With the help of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson in one of his funnier outings as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, sorry, S.A.B.E.R), and with Kamala’s reluctant mother, father and brother (Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh) in tow, the three heroes have to learn how to work together to stop Dar-Benn from destroying other planets in order to save her own.

Now, the MCU has had its fair share of critisicms, one of them being that the movies tend to be rather formulaic. This is one thing that The Marvels seems to have at least overcome, at least in terms of the inventive body-swapping action. Livanos said that the ‘entanglement’ of powers proved to be one of their biggest challenges in terms of the story.

“One of our biggest challenges was the idea of entanglement to the big screen, which was one of the more unique things about the film,” she said, adding that the question they had to answer was ‘why’.

“Why now? Why are all these three characters from different places brought together? One of our writers, Megan McDonnell, theorised that it could be their light-based powers that could become entangled, and that was a brilliant discovery.”

“Then (we had) to track and figure out where each character would be and when, and how that would progress the plot. It was very very difficult to plan. It is such a credit to Nia and all our department heads (that they managed to do it). But I think you will see that wonderful story pay off on screen – it was just an incredible rollercoaster.”

The Marvels is now screening in cinemas nationwide.

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