Why Captain Marvel is set in the '90s
By the time Avengers: Infinity War takes place, civilians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are probably pretty used to spiders swinging through Queens or giant alien portals opening over Manhattan. But long before Steve Rogers was defrosted or Tony Stark built his first suit, there was Captain Marvel — and now, she’s getting her own story.
The upcoming Captain Marvel is set in the mid-‘90s, and when Brie Larson’s super-powered pilot Carol Danvers suits up, she’s doing so in a world where there are no Avengers. Or really any other superheroes at all.
“It’s giving Carol a place in the cinematic universe that she can carve out for her own, where she wasn’t one superheroine out of many,” executive producer Jonathan Schwartz explains.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has played in the past before, of course: Captain America: The First Avenger and the Agent Carter TV show were both set in the 1940s, and much of Civil War centers on a Winter Soldier mission from 1991. But Captain Marvel’s ‘90s setting is a chance to explore what a Marvel story looks like in a post-Cold War America — where someone like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is just a lowly S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with no extraterrestrial experience.
Just as Captain America: The Winter Soldier drew from ‘70s conspiracy thrillers and Spider-Man: Homecoming drew from ‘80s high school comedies, Captain Marvel draws inspiration from the decade’s classic action flicks.
“’90s action movie is not the worst reference in the world, especially when you start looking at Robocop, Total Recall, even Starship Troopers a little bit,” Schwartz says. “Terminator 2, Independence Day. There’s a high-concept action-movie feel there that ends up being very character-based but also super badass, which is kind of the bullseye we wanted to hit.”
Plus, setting Captain Marvel in the ‘90s allowed directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck to include plenty of era-appropriate references and even some needle drops. (No word yet on what the soundtrack will look like, but there is that film still of Carol in a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt…)
“The ‘90s doesn’t feel that long ago to us because we’re really old,” Boden says with a laugh. “But doing this movie has really made us realize how out of date so much stuff from the ‘90s actually is, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with that.”
Captain Marvel will hit theaters March 8, 2019. For more, check out EW’s cover story, on stands now.