Why Did They Make Captain Marvel a Woman?

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It is a well-known fact that the Internet doesn’t like Brie Larson in her role as Captain Marvel. In fact, there’s even an online petition to get her removed from the role that has acquired a substantial amount of support. And while we do not understand the backlash against Brie Larson, we do understand why some fans might wonder whether Captain Marvel is supposed to be a woman in the MCU or was it a decision on the side of the producers. For those of you who did ask themselves this question, we – of course – have all the answers.

Although the character was initially male, the character of Captain Marvel is not firmly tied to just one character, but is rather a title held by several characters in the comic books. Some of these characters have been female, including the current comic book iteration of the character, Carol Danvers, which means that the MCU did not break any canon rules by making Captain Marvel female.

Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.

Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom and others.

Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.

Who is Captain Marvel?

The character of Captain Marvel has a very long and interesting history. The first Captain Marvel wasn’t actually a Marvel Comics character, but rather the superhero that we today know as Shazam, who is part of the DC Comics universe. The original Captain Marvel debuted back in 1939/1940, while Marvel’s character of the same name appeared in 1967. It is interesting to know that the original Captain Marvel wasn’t even a DC Comics character, but a character created belonging to Fawcett Comics; in 1953, DC Comics sued Fawcett over Captain Marvel, alleging that he was a copy of Superman, after which Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories, before selling the rights to the character to DC in 1972. But, since this text is about the Marvel Comics character, let us see how that character developed.

Jumping in the void created by the DC-Fawcett lawsuit, Marvel Comics created their version of Captain Marvel in 1967, with the character debuting in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967). The first among several iterations of the character was a member of the Kree race known as Mar-Vell, who donned the costume until 1982, when he was replaced with Monica Rambeau, after dying from cancer. Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel until 1993, when she gave the title to Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell’s son.

After more than a decade, Genis-Vell gave the mantle to his sister, Phyla-Vell, who would be known as Captain Marvel from 2004 to 2007. A Skrull sleeper agent known as Khn’nr became the fifth Captain Marvel in 2007, donning the name for just a couple of years, until 2009, when he was replaced by Noh-Varr. The most recent and current Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, who inherited the title in 2012 and has been further popularized by MCU, where this iteration appeared in the movie Captain Marvel and in other Avengers movies. Because of this fact, we are going to use Carol Danvers as the protagonist of our article.

Carol Susan Jane Danvers is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel. Carol Danvers is best known as the current Captain Marvel, although she has a much longer history within the Marvel universe. She was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan.

The character of Carol Danvers debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968) as an officer of the United States Air Force. She was a colleague of Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel. The first major event of her history happened when she was hurt in an explosion of a Kree device; Mar-Vell saved her life, but she was seriously injured. During the explosion, her DNA got mixed with Mar-Vell’s, which gave her superhuman abilities.

Carol Danvers returned during the 1970s with her superhuman abilities as the superhero Ms. Marvel, debuting in the comic Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). She was a very progressive character at the time and has since become one of the foremost female superheroes in the Marvel universe. Carol Danvers worked with the Avengers and has appeared in titles involving other characters. She herself has changed superhero identities again in 1982 (when she became Binary) and in 1998 (when she became Warbird), before finally becoming Captain Marvel in 2012’s Avenging Spider-Man #9 (2012). The role of Captain Marvel has increased Danvers’ popularity so much that she has now become an essential Marvel superhero.

Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel has appeared in several animated movies and TV shows, video games and the MCU, where she appeared in both her own stand-alone movie and the Avengers saga. In the MCU, she is played by Brie Larson.

Was Captain Marvel a woman in the comic books? Is she supposed to be female?

This question has already been partially answered in the preceding section, where we have established the nature of the Captain Marvel character. Namely, unlike the original Hulk or Odin, the character of Captain Marvel is not exclusively tied to one character. In fact, it is more of a title that could be donned by anyone and this is what actually happened with this character.

who is monica rambeau the wandavision character
Monica Rambeau was the second Captain Marvel and the first female version of the character

The character of Captain Marvel did start off as a male superhero, but that soon changed and the character’s second iteration was a woman, Monica Rambeau. From that point, until now, a total of three women and three men (four in total, if you count Mar-Vell) have donned the Captain Marvel costume, which means that from a purely statistical point of view – the character can be of both sexes. So, the answer to the first question in this section is – yes, Captain Marvel was a woman in the comic books. In fact, several women donned the costume, so there is absolutely no debate there.

As for the second question, that one is a bit tougher. Namely, when you have a comic book character that is not fixed to one specific fictional character, like Captain Marvel, it is difficult to assume that the character is supposed to be of any sex, be it male or female. Captain Marvel’s situation makes it even more difficult because the ratio of male to female is practically the same. So, is Captain Marvel supposed to be female? No, but she can be. Is the character supposed to be male, then? Likewise no, but he can be.

Who was the original Captain Marvel?

As we have already established in the article, the original Captain Marvel was a Kree military officer known by the name of Mar-Vell. He was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan, debuting in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967). He donned the costume from 1967 until 1982, when he was replaced by Monica Rambeau.

Mar Vell Origin

Mar-Vell was originally a captain in the Kree Empire’s galactic army. In that function, he was sent on an espionage mission to Earth to assess whether it posed a threat to the Kree. After seeing scientist Walter Lawson die here, Mar-Vell took on his name and a false identity. His alias Captain Marvel came about when he took action in his (then green and white) Kree uniform to stand up for the people. Protecting humanity from disaster, Mar-Vell became more and more interested in them.

This affection, his exploits and interest in Kree wife Una at the same time aroused the jealousy of his commander Yon-Rogg. He therefore gave him increasingly dangerous assignments. Mar-Vell had no special abilities upon his arrival on Earth, except that he belonged to a physically stronger race than mankind. He was also armed with wristbands with which he could fire energy charges.

Kree leader Zarek and Ronan the Accuser first gave him supernatural abilities in early 1969. This made him so strong that he could pulverize any matter the Kree know about, teleport anywhere in the universe, fly faster than light, and project illusions. Roy Thomas and Gil Kane then gave Captain Marvel, in Captain Marvel #17 (1969), the red and black suit that became the character’s signature look. He then also got access to the also typical Nega-Bands that he wore on his wrists. His previous skills were replaced by superhuman strength, durability and speed, the capacity to fly and the ability to move into space without having to breathe.

Later, Captain Marvel’s powers were supplemented by Eon with a “cosmic consciousness.” This made him notice every change in the universe that mattered to him.

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

  • Arthur S. Poe

    Arthur S. Poe is a writer based in Europe. He has a Ph.D. and speaks five languages. His expertise varies from Alfred Hitchcock movies to Bleach, as he has explored a lot of fictional Universes and authors. He is currently focusing on anime, his childhood love, with special atten...