New Brie Larson Concept Art Should Make Captain Marvel Fans Very Happy – Vanity Fair
Marvel invited a small group of journalist into their newly renovated offices on the Disney Studios lot Monday night to unveil footage, art, and secrets behind the studio’s packed upcoming slate. And while there was plenty of guided information given during this open house, at certain points during the tour, though always supervised, journalists would turn a corner only to be surprised by coveted Marvel info. That was the case in the office of Marvel Studios visual development supervisor/concept artist Andy Park, where three glossy concept art images of Brie Larson were tacked to the wall. Though hardly final, they offer the first glimpse at what the Oscar-winning actress will look like when she dons Carol Danvers’s red-and-blue suit in her first stand-alone movie, slated for March of 2019. Recent comic-book converts to the cult of Carol (a.k.a. the Carol Corps) should be pretty happy with the result—and we may have also finally solved the mystery of the Captain’s hair.
As Park and Ant-Man director Peyton Reed looked on, a cluster of journalists stared intently at the images, which showed Larson-as-Carol in three poses: a medium close-up of her face and shoulders; a less revealing version of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman pose on a rocky outcrop; and one with the Captain in full battle mode, punching up to connect with the mechanized fist of a much larger robotic creature. In all of them, Carol is wearing the same red-and-blue suit, which bears a striking resemblance to the Jamie McKelvie character redesign from 2012—including a high collar and zipper. The red in the new art is darker than what we usually see Carol wear in the comics; it looks like the palette may have been deepened to match the cinematic Captain America’s. And though the material read as shiny, it resembled Cap’s hardier cinematic fabric more than the clingy spandex we see on the page.
In the concept art at Marvel Studios, the sash was gone and replaced with a thin, dark-red belt to match her red gauntlets and boots. And the star emblazoned on Carol’s chest read as more white to me than traditional yellow.
But perhaps the most “controversial” element of the drawing was Larson’s hair. It was a little above shoulder length, and appeared longer on one side than the other. The longest side was about the length of (and exactly as wavy as) the new shorter haircut Larson sported at a premiere of Free Fire (seen above) on April 13. But Andy Park was careful to stress that most hair designs he works with are not final, joking that of all the things he’s asked to change at the last minute, hair is usually the last to be decided. Andy Park and Peyton Reed (who was showing off some art from the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp in the same room) laughingly refused to confirm that Larson’s hair was asymmetrical: it’s “more ’windswept,’” they agreed. It bore the closest resemblance to this.
If this sounds like too much minutiae, know that the length of Captain Marvel’s hair is a hotly debated one in the Carol universe. (It’s tempting to say that male superheroes never have to put up with this, but that’s not the case. Just ask Chris Hemsworth.) Speaking at an event for Kong: Skull Island last February, Larson said: “I feel like this is a big conversation. Every day I have people yelling at me on Twitter like, ‘You better have long hair’ or ‘You better have a Mohawk’ or ‘You better wear the helmet’ or ‘You better not wear the helmet.’ Someone’s going to be mad.”
Popular Captain Marvel author Kelly Sue DeConnick told Vanity Fair last summer that she hoped that helmet (which has proven a very divisive accessory) would make it onto Larson’s head. “I love the helmet! That is not a universal opinion. After we left the book, they got rid of the helmet. I have a lot of boring continuity arguments on the history of the helmet and a list of reasons as to why the helmet exists. I want the helmet!” I have bad news for you, helmet fans: the controversial headgear was nowhere to be seen in the concept art.
Believe it or not, concern over hair length and helmets presents only the tail end of a longer debate over Captain Marvel’s gear. During Carol’s very popular run under writer DeConnick, the Captain ditched four decades of thigh-high boots and bathing suits in favor of pants and a more utilitarian look that honors her military history. The idea for the Captain’s redesign came via DeConnick’s editor, Stephen Wacker, who cited his young daughters as an inspiration to desexualize Carol. The design, courtesy of artist Jamie McKelvie, is just one part of Captain Marvel’s feminist legacy. And it’s that redesigned run of the character that Larson dove into while researching her new superheroic role.
While speaking about Captain Marvel, Andy Park was quick to stress that her look is still evolving. Without a director or, even, a story for her stand-alone movie, he says there’s still a lot of work to be done. But there have been rumors that Carol will show up a little earlier in the film franchise, and Larson’s new haircut has many fans wondering if that first appearance is nigh. Could we see those windswept blonde waves and that red-and-blue jumpsuit as early as the currently filming Avengers: Infinity War?