'Captain Marvel' sequel was always going to be a team-up movie, but director Nia DaCosta fought for the title 'The Marvels'

The film's director and co-writer promises things are about to get weird in sequel co-starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani.

Let’s be clear: Nothing happened after the release of 2019’s Captain Marvel to alter the plan. A sequel to the blockbuster film starring Brie Larson as the titular Avenger was always going to be a team-up movie, The Marvels executive producer Mary Livanos tells Yahoo Entertainment in a new interview.

“The notion that the Marvels would all team up together on-screen in a Captain Marvel sequel has long been the design,” says Livanos, who also worked on Captain Marvel and the Disney+ series WandaVision. “What’s really fun to show on-screen for the first time is a team-up movie outside of The Avengers. It really borrows from the comics. Team-ups and crossovers are so much a part of the DNA of the comics. It’s awesome to bring it to screen.”

While Captain Marvel introduced Larson’s Carol Danvers in the mid-'90s as she returns to Earth amid a brewing battle between rival alien races the Kree and the Skrull, The Marvels finds her joining forces with Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Danvers’s adopted niece/daughter of old friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), the eponymous breakout hero of last year’s stellar series Ms. Marvel.

“I was fortunate enough to work on the first Captain Marvel movie where we very intentionally made Monica Rambeau the age that she was in that installment because that storyline took place in the past,” Livanos explains. “We always knew that we wanted to team up an adult Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers on-screen. They have such a rich and wonderful relationship in the comics. We really wanted to explore that in this film, and we do. We really explore themes surrounding reconnection. And of course, when Ms. Marvel entered the MCU, it was a no-brainer to team her up with Monica and Carol as well, because Ms. Marvel was the perfect lens through which to examine and in ways deconstruct Captain Marvel as a hero, which really subsequently means getting to know Carol Danvers for the person that she is.”

THE MARVELS, (aka CAPTAIN MARVEL 2), from left: Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau, 2023. ph: Laura Radford / © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in The Marvels. (Laura Radford/Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

While the basic story beats were long plotted out, it doesn’t mean the film was always going to be called The Marvels.

“I really pushed for it to be called The Marvels because I really wanted them to be on equal footing,” says director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, Candyman), who co-wrote the script with Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik. “I think it was important for all of us that it felt like they were really sharing center stage. So The Marvels for me was a really important title for them and it's a team, so it was nice to be able to name a team and create this new dynamic in the MCU.”

DaCosta says she and Livanos “pretty much badgered” Marvel chief Kevin Feige to let them go with that title. “I kept sending him pictures of the Marvels in different ways while we were prepping and in pre-production. It was just a conversation and I think at the end of the day we all were like, ‘This makes sense. This is right.’”

The sequel’s title switch to make room for more heroes is not unprecedented in the MCU. While Captain America, Iron Man and Thor all had multiple standalone sequels (even if films like Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Love and Thunder were essentially team-ups), Marvel decided to go a different route with the follow-ups to 2015’s Ant-Man Both sequels, 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp and this year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, gave equal billing to Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne alongside Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang.

THE MARVELS, (aka CAPTAIN MARVEL 2), from left: Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel / Kamala Khan, Goose the Flerken, 2023. © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel in The Marvels. (© Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection)

DaCosta says The Marvels, the MCU’s 33rd film, differentiates from its predecessors by embracing and tapping into the weirdness of the comics.

“It’s just really fun, and weird,” she says. “It felt very comic book in the sense that you pick up an issue of a comic book and the craziest things are happening, but it's all pinned together by this true emotional foundation. And that's what we have here. You have these three women, you have them learning how to be a team, you have the Khan family as sort of the emotional core of the film and then you have them bopping around to all these different planets. We see Carol's past, we see people she's known, we see how she knows them and it's all really exciting and a bit weird.

“That's part of what attracted me to it. Marvel was like, ‘We're going to get really weird with this one.’ And I was like, ‘Excellent.’”

The Marvels opens Nov. 10.