Keeping in the Marvel tradition of rumors preceding teases preceding soft announcements preceding official announcements, The Hollywood Reporter has begun the public speculation as to who might be directing the Captain Marvel movie. Significantly, this will be the first time a woman will direct a feature film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Punisher: War Zone, directed by Lexi Alexander, wasn’t an official MCU title. (In the TV realm, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. all have at least one female showrunner.) It will also mark the first MCU movie to center on a female lead, played by Oscar winner Brie Larson.
Let’s see which three proven talents are on the verge of being sucked up into the Marvel machine for the better part of a decade, shall we?
First, there’s Lesli Linka Glatter, who’s spent most of her career working in the relatively more woman-friendly environment of TV, directing episodes of everything from the original Twin Peaks up through Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Mad Men, and Homeland. But children of the ‘90s will take special note of her first of two feature film credits (so far): The 1995 Christina Ricci tear-jerker Now And Then.
Then we’ve got Niki Caro, a New Zealand native like Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi who made waves (sorry) with her 2002 festival hit Whale Rider. She hasn’t directed as big of a hit since then, although she’s gone on to direct a number of indies with big-name actors and actresses, like North Country with Charlize Theron, McFarland, USA with Kevin Costner, and the upcoming The Zookeeper’s Wife with Jessica Chastain.
Finally, there’s Lorene Scafaria, who made her feature-film debut with the 2012 sci-fi rom-com Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Scafaria—who’s also an actress who can be seen in the 2013 sci-fi head-scratcher Coherence—first came onto the film scene with her screenplay for Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist in 2008. Her latest film is the family dramedy The Meddler, which came out that year.
And for those who are thinking, “okay, but none of these people have directed an action movie before,” keep in mind what we here at the A.V. Club hereby dub “The Penny Marshall Effect”: Presumably due to stereotypes about women being more “nurturing” or “emotional” or some such bullshit, a female director is far more likely to get a romantic comedy or drama made than an effects-heavy genre movie. Besides, Marvel’s got a long track record of pulling its directors from seemingly unlikely places. Just ask the Russo Brothers.
These three were chosen from a pool of directors that also reportedly included The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent and Kung Fu Panda 2’s Jennifer Yuh. The Hollywood Reporter says that the next step is for the candidates to present their vision for the film based on a treatment provided by the studio, and “a decision won’t be made anytime soon.”