Actress Walks Away From ‘Captain Marvel’ Leaving MCU Future Shattered, Addresses Exit

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Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau (L) and Brie Larson as Carol Danvers (R)

Credit: Marvel Studios

There is no movie more polarizing in Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe than 2019’s Captain Marvel. Five years after Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s film took to movie theaters ahead of Avengers: Endgame (2019), one Hollywood star has addressed her exit from Captain Marvel and, thus, the MCU.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) glowing with energy in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

What happened to Captain Marvel?

Last year, Marvel Studios released the follow-up to 2019’s Captain Marvel. Directed by Nia DaCosta, The Marvels saw the return of three characters from various areas of the existing MCU. Brie Larson reprised her role as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, who was last seen on the big screen in the credits scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021).

As for the other two Marvels, Teyonah Parris returned as Monica Rambeau, having first appeared as the grown-up daughter of Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) in WandaVision, and Iman Vellani starred as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel just over a year from her debut in Disney+’s Ms. Marvel television show.

Monica Rambeau, Captain Marvel, and Kamala Khan on Carol Danvers' ship in 'The Marvels'
Credit: Marvel Studios

While Captain Marvel netted over $1 billion at the global box office, the Brie Larson-led movie was not without its criticisms. Larson’s casting as the superhero still to this day proves contentious, and the fact that The Marvels was not sandwiched between two goliaths like Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame severely hurt the success of the movie.

The Marvels would go on to gross just $206.1 million worldwide, with a domestic total of $84.5 million, making it Marvel Studios’ lowest-grossing film to date. Claims of superhero fatigue have long plagued Hollywood, but Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger reckons something else caused the production to fail.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) flying forward, looking upset
Credit: Marvel Studios

“…there wasn’t as much supervision on the set,” Iger said at the New York DealBook Summit in November 2023 (via NBC). “…where we have executives there really looking over what’s being done.”

Audience fatigue would be something the CEO would return to in early 2024 at the Morgan Stanley Conference: “A lot of people think it’s audience fatigue, it’s not audience fatigue. They want great films. And if you build it great, they will come,” Iger said, citing Christopher Nolan’s future Oscar winner, Oppenheimer (2023), via The Hollywood Reporter.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in 'The Marvels'
Credit: Marvel Studios

It’s a shame that The Marvels did not attract audiences in a big way, even with a stellar cast featuring Samuel L. Jackson as former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury–who was seen prior to this in Secret Invasion with Ben Mendelsohn (Talos)–and Zawe Ashton in her MCU debut as villain Dar-Benn, Emperor of the Kree Empire.

The movie, however, did set up the future of the franchise with an electrifying credits scene which found Parris’ Monica Rambeau in a new universe alongside a new Captain Marvel–here, in the form of Binary–looking an awful lot like her mother Maria (Lynch).

The credits scene of The Marvels not only saw Lynch appear as yet another Captain Marvel Variant following her turn as the character in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), but the debut of Fox’s X-Men with Kelsey Grammer’s Hank McCoy/Beast showing up for the first time.

Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau/Captain Marvel
Credit: Marvel Studios

But, it might never have been Lashana Lynch, whose credits also include No Time to Die (2021) and Bob Marley: One Love (2024), who would play these Variants throughout the MCU. No, Jurassic World Dominion (2022) star DeWanda Wise was once in line to play the character.

Lashana Lynch Replaces DeWanda Wise as Maria Rambeau in the MCU

Rumors have floated around in the past regarding DeWanda Wise’s exit from the Captain Marvel production. In 2022, Wise spoke to Gizmodo and explained how she did not “choose to leave,” and it was actually contractual obligations for the second season of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix that was the roadblock to her starring in the Marvel movie.

Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) in the cockpit in 'Jurassic World Dominion'
Credit: Universal Studios

She went on to explain that the trajectory of her career would have been different if she had starred as Maria Rambeau in the film. Wise explains that if she had played the part of pilot Rambeau in the MCU, then she would’ve likely passed on the role of Kayla Watts, also a pilot, in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion, the third movie in the Jurassic World trilogy.

“So if I had played in Captain Marvel, if I’d already played a pilot, and then Colin [Trevorrow] called me for this and he’s like ‘Guess what? She’s a pilot,’ I would’ve been like ‘I’m so sorry, I don’t believe in capitalism. You’re gonna have to find someone else,” the actress told the outlet.

(L to R) Kayla (DeWanda Wise) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) encountering the Pyroraptor in 'Jurassic World Dominion'
Credit: Universal Studios

Now, two years on, DeWanda Wise is echoing her former explanation in a new exclusive with The Direct.

“I had to exit because it conflicted with Season 2 of She’s Gotta Have It,”Wise said. “It was just both of those things were true at one time. You know what I mean? […] The concern about acting in blockbusters is not exclusive to Marvel. It’s acting in blockbusters…”

Last month, Wise appeared on Collider’s Ladies Night promoting her latest film, Lionsgate and Blumhouse’s Imaginary (2024), and said that a Marvel film is her own “personal nightmare.”

From L-R: Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Monica Rambeau (Lashana Lynch)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney Scraps Disney+ Show After ‘The Marvels’ Flop: Report

“When I almost did Captain Marvel, there was a crew member, because I was going down the process, and they said to me, ‘Yeah, you know how it is, these movies, you hit your mark, you say your line, you go home,’ Wise recalls. “I heard that, and I was like, ‘That is my own personal nightmare. That sounds crazy and terrible to me.’”

As for the future of the Captain Marvel franchise, it is unknown whether Marvel Studios will return to the character once more. In February 2024, Larson said she didn’t have anything to say about a possible return when asked by ExtraTV at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) looking sad
Credit: Marvel Studios

Despite Larson playing coy and the studio yet to release a movie following The Marvels bomb, the MCU will continue with gusto. As Bob Iger and Kevin Feige course-correct the so-called “diluted” franchise, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman will make their own franchise debuts in Deadpool & Wolverine (2024) this July. Then, next year, four more films are slated to release as the MCU crosses over from Phase Five into Phase Six.

Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts* will close out Phase Five, with The Fantastic Four and Blade being the first entries in the Multiverse Saga’s Phase Six. After that, it’s Avengers 5 (formerly Avengers: The Kang Dynasty) and Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

Wolverine and Deadpool stand in the middle of a deserted street, dressed in their superhero costumes, with a damaged pharmacy and debris in the background.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘Deadpool’ To Be Reshot After Details of “Mind-Blowing” Post-Credits Scene Emerge: Report

The Marvels is now streaming on Disney+.

What do you think the future of the Captain Marvel franchise looks like? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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