A new report confirms that Marvel is hard at work on a sequel to Captain Marvel, it’s billion-dollar box office behemoth from 2019. That’s not terribly surprising, given the rate this studio churns out mini-franchises. Slightly more surprising is that Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the writing/directing duo who brought Captain Marvel to the screen, won’t be handling the sequel. (Apparently, Disney has other plans for them — possibly on a yet-to-be-announced Disney+ series).
Instead, the movie is being written by Megan McDonnell, who is currently writing WandaVision for Disney+. A director has yet to be announced, though sources say Marvel is on the hunt for a woman to helm the project.
While Marvel has received a lot of deserved criticism for its lack of gender representation among its directors, things are starting to turn around. In addition to Boden co-directing the first Captain Marvel, both of Marvel’s 2020 releases will be directed by women. Cate Shortland helmed Black Widow and Chloé Zhao is at work on Eternals. But who should be in charge of the Captain Marvel sequel? Here are seven possibilities we think would do an excellent job.
7. Jennifer Kent
Superhero movies have a long and proud history of pulling in horror auteurs. Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange), James Wan (Aquaman), James Gunn (The Guardians of the Galaxy movies), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and many others cut their teeth in scary thrillers before turning their attention to capes, so it makes sense for Jennifer Kent — who helmed The Babadook — to board the Marvel Universe. She’s a filmmaker with a knack for weaving fantastical elements into everyday life.
6. Lexi Alexander
Here’s a piece of Marvel movie trivia you may not know. Lexi Alexander was actually the first woman to direct a Marvel movie. Way back in 2008, Punisher: War Zone was released as an entirely separate, unconnected entity to the same year’s Iron Man, and was written off as a commercial and critical failure. But the ensuing years have been kind and the film has developed a loyal cult following. Why not ask Alexander back and give her the budget and freedom she notoriously lacked for her first Marvel venture?
5. Marielle Heller
Heller has already proved she knows how to make a movie about a hero with 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Her loving, homespun character portraits could add real humanity and pathos in between the pew pews that Marvel Studios has long since perfected.
4. Brie Larson
Hey, why not make things easy? Larson made her directorial debut in 2019 with Netflix’s Unicorn Store, which she also starred in. It was a fun, whimsical effort with Samuel L. Jackson that showed Larson has a knack for yummy visuals and quirky oddities that set her movies apart from the pack.
3. Lulu Wang
Marvel loves to catch a new talent on the upswing and that’s exactly where Lulu Wang finds herself after her warmly received Awkwafina vehicle The Farewell landed earlier this year. The studio tends to look for directors who are comfortable working with actors on a smaller, more intimate level — trusting its own collection of CGI experts and fight choreographers to handle the superheroics. And based on The Farewell, there are few directors more comfortable with tender, revealing dialog than Wang.
2. Karyn Kusama
It is baffling that Kusama hasn’t gotten more work. (Well, not that baffling, since Hollywood’s struggles with getting women behind the camera are well known). As the director of excellent, feminism-minded movies like Jennifer’s Body and Destroyer, the Captain Marvel franchise seems tailor-made for her sensibilities.
1. Olivia Wilde
Wilde’s Booksmart was about as good an audition for a Marvel film as a debut feature can get. The film featured the sort of rapid-fire comedy that has been crucial to the MCU’s success and a few exceedingly well-choreographed scenes that put many Hollywood filmmakers with far longer resumes to shame. Wilde has signaled interest in a superhero movie too, so don’t be surprised if she’s at the top of Marvel’s Rolodex.