Diving Into Captain Marvels’ Costume Design

On March the 8th, Captain Marvel crash-lands into cinemas (and a blockbuster, according to the trailer). There’s a lot to get excited about with Bree Larsen’s foray into Carol Danvers’ life:

  • It’s the MCU’s first female-led feature film.
  • It’s set in the 1990s
  • We’ve got an Agent Coulson (my favourite character)
  • A two-eyed Nick Fury
  • Bree Larsen is amazing
  • Plus the costumes are looking pretty swish.

Who Is Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel life begins on earth as Carol Danvers. She joins the US air force and has some escapades with Captain Mar-vell, a Kree spy working on Earth. She gains superhuman powers, fights many battles and becomes known as Ms Marvel. When Captain Mar-vell dies, Carol Danvers takes his place as Captain Marvel.

And she can shoot energy beams from her hands. Damn, she’s badass.

During her storyline, the Kree have been in a centuries-old war with the Skrull. Now we know both of these races have been mentioned in the MCU, with the Kree popping up in Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. By the time the MCU is in full force, the Kree and Skrulls have ceased their war.

What’s the story behind Captain Marvel’s Costume in the Comics?

Kelly Sue DeConnick approached comic book artist and Project Rooftop member Jamie McKelvie with a bet.

DeConnick explains: “I called Jamie and was like, ‘Alright, I want you to make a bet with me. I bet if you do a Carol Danvers redesign for Captain Marvel that Marvel will buy the design from you. And if I win this bet, then I get a redesign, and you get paid. And if I lose this bet, I will pay for the redesign.”

Jamie McKelvie came back with something magical. A red and blue all in one suit, with a mohawk and centurion style helmet. Equal amounts of punky badass, style and practicality. She’s in space. Space is probably cold. A full, padded flight suit is perfect for her. More importantly, she’s a soldier, so she needs a suit which is practical for missions. It’s powerful, tasteful and stylish in equal measure.

The Red and Blue suit quickly became an iconic costume. And DeConnick won her bet. She later stated it was a crazy decision to put her own money on the line, adding “You don’t front money for billion dollar companies”.

Did it work?

Captain Marvel #1 sold out almost immediately and went into reprint. It gained a huge following. Fans immediately booked in for Captain Marvel tattoos. Some fans grouped up into the Carol Corp

Just under a year later, the Captain Marvel movie script was written and ready to start pre-production.

So what’s with the green costume in the trailer?

A few months ago, Some onset pictures of Bree Larsen in costume leaked onto the internet. The suit is similar in design to the classic red/blue suit we see in the poster. Except the suit was green.

After a little speculation of whether or not it was green screen the trailer confirmed what we’d all figured out.

This is an Origin story. She’s not quite Captain Marvel at this point.

The green suit is reminiscent of Captain Mar-vell’s outfit from the Ms Marvel comics. He had a green and white colour scheme. We know that Mavel cast Jude Law is in this role, so the character will pop up in the film. So it’s safe to assume at this point in the movie she is under his tutelage.

The Green suit is interesting. Green is a colour we associate a lot with the army – think camouflage. It’s also a colour we associate with aliens. It does help us cement a lot of meaning.

What I love about this suit is it looks battle ready. When it comes to dressing women for war, many comics and films still tend to be revealing and more about aesthetics than practicality. The green uniform is streamlined and comfortable looking. It’s something anyone could wear in a battle. Also, it’s looks like it would work for anyone at a comic convention, no matter how self-confident you are.

If you put this costume side-by-side with the MCU Avengers, Captain Marvel doesn’t look out of place. In fact, she’s looking pretty Captain America-ish.

What about the Red and Blue Costume?

At some point, Bree Larsen’s character will transform into Captain Marvel. With that change, will come the Red and Blue suit.

The suit is very close to McKelvie’s design. The main difference is it’s missing a sash. But I’ve always thought the sash was a little unnecessary. Maybe it will come back as some part of a reward or honour.

Red and blue have always been popular colours for comics. Primary colours are bold but also easier to print. The colours stood out from darker backgrounds. It made it easy to pick out secondary colours and villains, who often use secondary colours.

But red and blue have very defined meaning in art. Red is associated with energy and danger. Blue has connotations of wisdom and trust. Mix those traits together and you have the personality of nearly every Superhero.

Conclusion

Bree Larsen’s character is going to transform throughout the film, as shown in the costume changes. From the fighter pilot through to Kree fighter, and down to earth again. Her costumes are the sign of a shift in thinking – portraying women as strong, independent and not for the male gaze. Captain Marvel will hopefully lead the way for more incredible costume design.