‘Captain Marvel 2’ gets a new director: Who is Nia DaCosta?
The votes are in! The highly anticipated Captain Marvel 2 will be directed by Brooklyn-born and Harlem-raised filmmaker Nia DaCosta.
It’s heartening that more diverse filmmakers are getting a chance at major franchise flicks, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Films movies that audiences still generally see in theaters. It’s also severely cool that DaCosta got an “in between” studio picture between the brilliant indie and the blockbuster.
Scheduled to open in July 2022, the Captain Marvel 2 director’s chair was a highly sought-after position, even in light of concerns whether tentpole productions with major stunts and huge crews can function in a pre-COVID vaccine world.
One candidate for the job was Olivia Wilde, who made her feature directorial debut with the raucously hilarious comedy Booksmart and was named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch. Also up for consideration was Jamie Babbitt, known for her films But I’m A Cheerleader, The Quiet, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and Addicted to Fresno.
Boffo box office
DaCosta will direct Brie Larson (and friends) in the MCU sequel written by Megan McDonnell, who pens the Disney+ series Wandavision. DaCosta takes over for Anna Bodn & Ryan Fleck, who directed the first film to huge box office success, raking in $426.8 million domestic gross and $1.13 billion worldwide.
Marvel is known for switching up its directors on its popular franchises like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America to give followup installments a fresh voice and had been meeting with candidates for a couple months. Although the studio met with several individuals, DaCosta seemed to have the edge for some time.
DaCosta’s first feature, Little Woods starring Tessa Thompson & Lily James, had its theatrical release on April 19, 2019. The critically acclaimed indie launched DaCosta’s career and put her on the radar of every exec & producer around.
Little Woods also brought her to the notice of producer and cowriter Jordan Peele, who hand-picked DaCosta to helm Candyman, which was originally supposed to open in June 2020 but has been pushed back to October 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June 2020, DaCosta released a riveting short recounting the origin story of Candyman. Manual Cinema shadow puppets replay the horrendous scenes that shape Candyman’s lore, set to musical score by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
“Candyman, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs,” DaCosta captioned the video. “The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been [sic].”
The Candyman short debuted amid the backdrop of the worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks.
DaCosta’s addition is yet another sign of Marvel continuing to add diversity to its films, especially when it comes to figures behind the camera. Even though a budget isn’t public yet, it’s certain to be the biggest tentpole to be captained by a black female director, following in the footsteps of Ava DuVernay, director of $115-million A Wrinkle in Time.
DeCosta joins a group of strong female filmmakers such as Chloe Zhao & Cathy Yan, who have each been given the reins to huge comic book blockbusters. Marvel & DC obviously intend to keep this trend going.