How Brie Larson sparked a campaign to help young girls see Captain Marvel

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Moya Crockett
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The #CaptainMarvelChallenge comes hot on the heels of last year’s #BlackPantherChallenge.

This spring, Captain Marvel will hit cinemas around the world. Starring Brie Larson as the eponymous superhero, it will be the first Marvel film to feature a female lead – and after the phenomenal international success of DC Entertainment’s Wonder Woman in 2017, it’s fair to say we’ve got high hopes. Academy Award winner and consistently candid feminist Larson will play Carol Danvers, an ex-US Air Force fighter pilot with alien DNA that imbues her with superhuman strength, the power of flight and the ability to shoot bolts of energy from her hands.

When Wonder Woman was released in 2017, it was an instant hit with women of all ages – particularly with young girls, who were delighted by the idea of an island full of female warriors and charmed by Gal Gadot’s funny, kind, extraordinarily powerful superhero. Last year’s Black Panther – which raked in over £1billion at the international box office, and was nominated for three Golden Globes – was a similar success, highlighting how hungry people have been for superhero films that don’t centre stories about white male characters.

The release of Black Panther led to the #BlackPantherChallenge, a crowdfunding campaign designed to help young people of colour see the film in the cinema. Originally created by New York-based consultant Frederick Joseph, the #BlackPantherChallenge went on to become the biggest GoFundMe drive in history, raising around £750,000 ($950,000) and allowing thousands of disadvantaged children and teenagers to see the movie. 

The women of Black Panther 

Now, Joseph has teamed up with GoFundMe to launch a similar initiative ahead of the release of Captain Marvel, to give as many young girls as possible the chance to see Carol Danvers in action. 

The #CaptainMarvelChallenge crowdfunding campaign was sparked by Larson herself, who suggested the initiative after a teacher contacted her to say that her young female students were obsessed with the Captain Marvel trailer.

GoFundMe has collaborated with two organisations for the #CaptainMarvelChallenge: We Have Stories, Joseph’s non-profit dedicated to promoting diverse storytelling projects, and Girls Inc. Los Angeles, a charity that supports vulnerable girls.

In a statement, We Have Stories said that it wants girls to see Captain Marvel because Larson’s character “will be the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe”.

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“Unlike many female characters, [Captain Marvel’s] story doesn’t rely on romance and other typical woman character arcs,” the statement reads. “There are multiple female characters in the film that enforce diversity of women in race, careers, and talents.”

Women have also been closely involved in the production of Captain Marvel. The film is co-directed by Anna Boden and has a script by screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Jac Schaeffer, with a musical score by Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak. 

The new 'Special Look' trailer for Captain Marvel

Larson has previously spoken out about her commitment to ensuring that a sense of inclusion is at the heart of Captain Marvel. In December, she announced that she would be “pushing for representation across the board” during the film’s press tour.

This means that her “interviews, magazines covers [and] the clothes I’m wearing” will all involve a diverse range of journalists, stylists, social media teams, photographers, designers and hair and make-up artists. “It means spending more time thinking about things than you sometimes want to, but it’s worth it,” Larson said. 

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Larson has also explained why she was drawn to the role of Carol Danvers. In Captain Marvel, the fighter pilot is forced to reckon with both her human and alien identity when the Earth is caught up in an intergalactic war – and Larson has praised Danvers’ complex character, fiery temper and outspoken nature.

“You have this Kree [alien] part of her that’s unemotional, that is an amazing fighter and competitive,” the actress said. “Then there’s this human part of her that is flawed but is also the thing that she ends up leading by. It’s the thing that gets her in trouble, but it’s also the thing that makes her great. And those two sides warring against each other is what makes her her.

“Just seeing a character who says how she feels and says what’s on her mind and doesn’t let people stand in her way is incredibly empowering.” 

The evidence of stress in our lives is everywhere, from bad sleep to increased anxiety. So in January 2019, is dedicated to creating a life less frazzled. We’ll be focusing on uplifting news, feelgood features and recommendations for fun things to do, with the goal of making you feel calmer and more positive about the coming year.

Images: Getty Images