Pressure, but no rivalries between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel


With the success of Wonder Woman, fans are looking ahead to 2019’s Captain Marvel. But it’s more about quality than competition.

There is no question that Wonder Woman’s success for DC Comics and Warner Bros Studios puts a boatload of pressure on Marvel Studios ahead of 2019’s Captain Marvel. The bar has been set very high, and now Marvel must take one of their top – albeit lesser known – female superheroes and craft a film that resonates with people the way Wonder Woman has. That’s going to be a tough order, but there is no rivalry here, only pressure to get Captain Marvel right.

When it comes to Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, there should be no comparisons at this point. Wonder Woman has existed for over 75 years while Carol Danvers and her alter ego Captain Marvel turn 50 in 2017. Wonder Woman has had a lot more visibility over the years, with a television show and a strong showing at pop culture conventions, while Captain Marvel doesn’t have the same name recognition with fans. The lack of instant name recognition is going to make the Captain Marvel movie a more challenging sell for new fans, especially for those fans who would like/rather/prefer that Marvel’s first standalone superhero movie go to Black Widow.

The other major challenge facing Captain Marvel is that the movie doesn’t arrive for two more years. Marvel might insert Captain Marvel into other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to get fans excited for the movie, and that would be the best thing they can do. Wonder Woman was introduced in 2016’s Batman v Superman and many fans latched onto the character immediately, praising Gal Gadot’s performance to the extent that Wonder Woman is considered by many fans to be the best part of the whole movie. Wonder Woman will have a major presence in Justice League later this year, so the goodwill can continue without making fans wait too long.

The Mighty Captain Marvel, courtesy Marvel Comics Wonder Woman 75 at SDCC 2016. Credit: Sarabeth Pollock

What’s happening in discourse right now between the Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies has nothing to do with rivalries. It has to do with pressure. Justice League aside, it’s going to be a while before another female superhero leads a film, and so the next female superhero film must not only be up to Wonder Woman’s caliber, but it must also recapture the audience’s attention.

The problem, of course, is that timing is everything. Will fans be willing to wait for Captain Marvel?

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The reception for Wonder Woman has been fantastic so fans will be willing to wait until 2019 for another female-led superhero movie, but they will expect quality. I truly hope that Marvel is taking notes, because Captain Marvel needs to deliver.