Directed by Nia DaCosta (“Candyman”), “The Marvels” in particular, appears to be a tough project to break through the fog of so-called superhero fatigue. Promotion around the film has been affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike. Even so, the film is billed as an ensemble movie in which two of its central trio of stars — Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan (or Ms. Marvel, the M.C.U.’s first Muslim superhero) — are, to the wider world, relative unknowns.
The film’s release may also be affected by the biases of some fans who are uninterested in a project featuring female superheroes. Earlier this year, when the first trailer for “The Marvels” was released, news reports noted that many fans had appeared to “dislike-bomb” the video: Within hours of its posting on YouTube, the trailer received hundreds of thousands of dislikes along with negative comments about the cast. (The site removed the dislike counter in 2021, though online tools make the number viewable to users.)
As for Larson, speculation has swirled over her possible disillusionment with the M.C.U. as a result of the intense and often sexist backlash she has received from audiences. In October, Joanna Robinson, the co-author of “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios,” claimed that Larson “doesn’t want to play Carol Danvers anymore.” Larson herself addressed the online hate that led to fans review-bombing the original film on RottenTomatoes.com. Many of the negative reviews, which were removed by the site, referred to Larson’s prerelease comments about wanting to ensure greater diversity among journalists covering the movie. When Variety asked last year in a red carpet interview how long she planned to play Danvers, she responded pointedly, “I don’t know. Does anyone want me to do it again?”
Additionally, getting “The Marvels” to the finish line required four weeks of reshoots and a premiere date that was pushed back multiple times. Those delays prompted DaCosta to complete postproduction remotely in London while she began work on her next film, a move that has fueled gossip about trouble behind the scenes.
DaCosta, though, dismissed the speculation in a recent interview with the YouTuber Jake Hamilton. “Actually at the time that I left to go to London to start prep on my next film, everyone was so clear about what the film was, what we wanted, everyone knew what I wanted,” she said. “So it really wasn’t the dramatic sort of thing that I think people are feeling like it is.”