Samuel L. Jackson didn’t pull any punches when he called out sexist trolls who attacked female action heroes like Brie Larsonfor starring in 2019’s Captain Marvel and this week’s new sequel The Marvels.
“She’s not going to let any of that stuff destroy her,” Jackson told Rolling Stone. “These incel dudes who hate strong women, or the fact that she’s a feminist who has an opinion and expressed it.”
Pointed words from the man who plays Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — but not necessarily the sentiment shared by the creators of The Marvels, which teams Larson’s Carol Danvers with Teyonah Parris’s Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.
“Making these movies, you just have so much to do and there’s so much you have to pay attention to,” co-writer and director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, Candyman) told us when asked if she’s bothered by the fact that some trolls sharpen their knives over a film like The Marvels. “And if you add that as well, it just becomes a really unnecessary distraction. So mostly when I think about fandom, I’m engaged with the part of it that interested me when I was younger and made me want to make this, which was people coming together to love something. So for us it was like, ‘How can we make the best movie possible? How can we do something different? How can we have fun?’ Those were really the things we were thinking about.”
Executive producer Mary Livanos was even more diplomatic.
“At the end of the day, our main objective is to make a movie that we ourselves would have killed to see on screen,” Livanos (Captain Marvel, WandaVision) says. “When I was a kid, I would’ve loved to see a movie like this.”
Still, the filmmakers did cop to including a clap-back in both the film’s main trailer and a key scene. The sequence is set to the Beastie Boys’ infectious 1998 single “Intergalactic,” which of course makes sense, thematically as Captain Marvel and company are bouncing around the cosmos throughout the film.
But the track also includes the lyric, “Don’t you tell me to smile,” a clear jab at the blowback Larson received for not being “smiley” enough in the first footage from Captain Marvel (a “controversy” the film essentially predicted with one specific line).
“I’m going to give credit to my editor Catrin Hedström,” DaCosta says. “She’s so great at needle drops.”
“She’s a big music lover,” Livanos adds. “And we all had our individual soundtracks for this film that we would share and enjoy with each other. But yeah, she found that track and it was totally perfect for the vibe of the movie.”
If trolls were triggered by Captain Marvel, the MCU’s first standalone female-led film, The Marvels is sure to draw their ire. It triples the number of female heroes, features a female lead villain (Zawe Ashton’s Kree warrior Dar-Benn), was written by three women, and directed by a woman.
“I just think it was wonderful and it was a wonderful experience to have so many women in front of the camera and behind the scenes on this show,” Livanos says. “It was a completely collaborative environment. The vibe was really fun and relaxed, and at the end of the day, we’re all just such fans of these characters that I think that’s what really shines through.”
The Marvels is now playing.