Captain Marvel’s Dr. Wendy Lawson Wasn’t Always A Woman

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Captain Marvel has finally given women a much more prominent place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to the title character (Brie Larson), her pal Maria (Lashana Lynch), and Maria’s daughter Monica (Akira Akbar), the film features Annette Bening as Dr. Wendy Lawson (aka Mar-Vell). This mentor figure originated as a man (in comics and the script), but that changed when co-writer/co-director Anna Boden had a sudden wave of inspiration, one that prompted her to combine Mar-Vell with the Supreme Intelligence—and make this hybrid character a woman.

“Pretty late in the process of writing it, I think I just woke up one morning and I had dreamt it or something,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I texted [co-writer/co-director] Ryan [Fleck], and I was like, ‘Am I crazy that these could both be the same actor?’ And he was like, ‘Yes, you are crazy, and yes, you should talk to Marvel about it immediately.’ So it was a late-breaking idea, but something that I think helped pull those elements together in a way that it would’ve been hard to otherwise.”

As for the decision to cast Bening, Fleck explained that she has everything they needed, including a stellar track record. “We’ve just been big fans of her for a long time,” he said. “She’s got the great mentor quality that we were looking for in that character, but she can also be really tough, and that was really necessary for both aspects. She can be regal, which was perfect for the Supreme Intelligence, and she can also just be casual and cool and laid back, which was necessary for Lawson.”

Captain Marvel is in theatres now. Read our review here, and check out the trailer below.