Marvel Studios announced on March 26 that production on Captain Marvel has officially begun in a way that would make any vet with a soft spot for comics smile: With a photo of the film’s star, Brie Larson, and Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt atop an F-15 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
In the upcoming film, Larson plays Air Force fighter pilot Col. Carol Danvers prior to gaining her super powers and becoming Captain Marvel. Those powers, if you’re not familiar, include flight, incredible feats of strength, speed, agility, and the ability to absorb and redirect energy as she sees fit.
To prep for her upcoming role, Larson toured Nellis in January, took a flight in an F-16, got a quick hip-pocket class on an F-15 that flew in the Gulf War, and joined Leavitt, the commander of the 57th Wing, to draw inspiration for her character, given Leavitt’s history as the service’s first female fighter pilot, Air Force Times reports.
Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel follows Danvers as she goes from fighter pilot to living weapon, and while it’s unclear how closely her backstory will mirror Leavitt’s trail-blazing past, it seems likely that the newest Marvel film will lean heavily on Danvers’ military service.
And with good reason: Danvers has evolved over the last half-century from the head of security at a secret DoD missile base to a leader, strategist, and tactician to rival the likes of both Iron Man and Captain America, making her one of the most important figures in the Marvel Universe — a role attributed to the sense of honor and discipline she embraced in the U.S. armed forces.
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With any luck, Danvers will benefit from the same thoughtful treatment Marvel showed Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle in Netflix’s The Punisher series — where the principal character’s service felt intrinsic to his identity, rather than an afterthought used to justify a proclivity for firearms or skill in a fight.
The 18th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel is set to hit the screens in 2019, and while it’s still unclear how much of a crossover there will be between the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming film’s major franchises, we can probably expect a few cameos — and, at the very least, one Top Gun reference.
CORRECTION: 9.18.2018; 5:20 p.m.; A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt as Lt. Gen Jeannie Leavitt.