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March 01, 2019 at 09:30 AM EST

Every superhero needs a sidekick. In Captain Marvel, the titular hero’s companion is a fuzzy star who steals every scene they’re in: Goose, Carol Danvers’ cat.

In the comics, Carol has a pet cat named Chewie who accompanies her on her adventures (and proves to be an unexpectedly useful ally in the face of danger). For the film version, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck decided to trade the Star Wars moniker for a Top Gun reference and rename the cat Goose, a nod to Carol’s early career as an Air Force pilot in the ’80s.

Goose shares a lot of screen time with Carol and Nick Fury, but there was one hair-raising snag behind the scenes: Brie Larson, Captain Marvel herself, is highly allergic to cats.

“It became this joke because the crew would watch me all day doing crazy stunts,” Larson says. “But then the cat showed up on set and I was like, ‘We need to have a plan! We need to have a conversation!’”

Chuck Zlotnick/©Marvel Studios 2019

The filmmakers came up with a three-cat solution: One Goose is computer-generated, one’s a realistic cat puppet that Larson could hold without sneezing, and then there is the 12-year-old orange tabby, Reggie. “[Reggie was] actually a lot more directable than some actors we’ve worked with,” Boden says with a laugh. (Three backup cats — Archie, Gonzo, and Rizzo — filled in when the script required a specific trick, or when Reggie was too tired.)

Despite Larson’s allergies, Reggie managed well with his two-legged costars. “You give them a snack, you talk to them in a relatively kind tone, and give them another snack when it’s over,” Samuel L. Jackson (who plays Nick Fury) says of the cats. “Next time they see you, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s the dude with the snacks!’”

Adds Larson: “I mean, that’s basically how I work too.”

For more on Captain Marvel, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content:

type
Movie
release date
03/08/19
director
Anna Boden,
Studio
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