Captain Marvel was going to have an origin story that involved time travel


Kelly Sue Deconnick and Captain Marvel producer Mary Livanos reveal that the film initially included a very different origin for Carol Danvers.

Captain Marvel moved away from the typical superhero origin story formula by utilizing exposition and flashbacks to fill in the blanks of Carol Danvers’ history. However, the film was originally going to feature a vastly different origin for the cosmic heroine.

While speaking with io9, fan favorite Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue Deconnick and Mary Livanos, a producer on the film, discussed the film at length. During their chat, they revealed that Danvers was to go back in time and actual witness her origin. Deconnick explained that Mar-Vell was going to save her and transfer his powers to her just as he did in the comics:

"“It was actually supposed to be that she goes back to the moment of the explosion and it’s a time paradox where she’s witnessing her own origin story right? So her origin story in the comics is the machine blows up and she’s there. She’s being held hostage, and Mar-Vell, he picks up her body and is trying to take her out of the cave when the machine explodes, and the power of the explosion transfers his DNA into hers and (claps) she’s superpowered.”"

This idea also included the character of Helen Cobb, a fellow pilot who also wanted Carol’s abilities and tries to gain them for herself. However, Mar-Vell would intervene, which would lead to an interesting chain of events:

"“She’s there with Helen Cobb who’s another pilot hero of hers, and she and Helen are watching the moment. Helen wants those powers, so she intentionally runs into the scene to be caught in the explosion. I wanted Mar-Vell to grab Helen, which would leave Carol needing to go in and rescue her younger self so that when the machine exploded it would transfer Carol’s powers from Carol to Carol, so that she would become the source of her own power."

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Ultimately, this story didn’t seem appropriate, as they didn’t want Carol to merely be saved by a male hero, as opposed to having her make her own decision. But Livanos says that hints of this story can still be seen in the finished film:

"“And you see the broad strokes of that storyline in Captain Marvel. Helen Cobb, huge inspiration for Wendy Lawson, our update of Walter Lawson who was the male Captain Mar-Vell, but we wanted Carol…that had to be a moment where she made a heroic decision that resulted in her powers. We couldn’t have a male Captain Marvel swoop in, save her. We wanted the source of her power to come from her own decision making.”"

This would have been an interesting way to establish Carol Danvers’ origin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also would have been closer to the character’s comic book origins.

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It’s probably best that Marvel Studios didn’t go down this route. Like Livanos points out, taking that major decision out of Carol’s hands would have diminished her origin. Also, including these kinds of heavy time travel elements may have also been confusing for some. Plus, the producers may have wanted to stay away from time travel, since it was going to be formally introduced in Avengers: Endgame.