What Captain Marvel means to the people who made it

Second unit assistant directors, storyboard artists and other members of the Captain Marvel crew give their thoughts on the importance of Marvel's latest.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
5 min read

If it was even possible, Captain Marvel flew Marvel Studios to new heights.

The '90s-set story of self-discovery and aliens is the first Marvel film to be fronted by a woman -- Oscar-winning Brie Larson. The film makes Anna Boden, who codirects with filmmaking partner Ryan Fleck, Marvel's first female director. It also makes Pinar Toprak, who recently worked on the acclaimed Pixar short Purl, Marvel's first female composer.

With the box office takings and good reviews boxes ticked, Captain Marvel is a resounding success. So what's it like to work on something like that?

We thought we'd ask.

Below are the thoughts of makeup artists, second unit assistant directors, storyboard artists and other members of the Captain Marvel crew, who know first-hand what it's like to work with superheroes.

They answer the question: What does Captain Marvel mean to you?


Nine Inch Nails T-shirts. That's what Captain Marvel means to me.

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers is as strong, smart and fearless as Brie herself is. Her spirit as a person and a character inspired my approach to my work. I was lucky to be part of the most talented and tenacious crew ever. During the challenging times, like Carol, we remembered our humanity, and kept standing up!

-- Gwen Whittle (supervising sound editor)

"Captain Marvel means to me that all my hard work in a predominantly male industry had paid off when I get to see my name in the credits with all these other amazing women who are getting recognized in the industry now."

-- Erin Stern Linares (second second assistant director second unit)

"For me, Captain Marvel mirrors the neo-nationalist attitude of our own country and world... women have come to the front of the line and are sharing a new view. Women are making themselves heard over the voices of the oppressors. A world where all cultures and all walks of life are interconnected for the great good. A fight against racism and oppression. An empathic view with much grey and very little black and white."

-- Karrieann Sillay (special makeup effects artist)

"Marvel comics defined my childhood. As a lifelong fan, I was thrilled to join the Legacy Effects Makeup Team and the Captain Marvel Crew to bring The Skrulls alive for the first time to the MCU . A Nerdgasm to say the least!!"

-- Bruce Fuller (prosthetic makeup artist)

"Captain Marvel to me means: 'Move over guys!' here is a tough, confident, Strong female superhero that will inspire little girls for many generations to come."

-- Robert Castillo (storyboard artist: promo team)

"Working on captain marvel represented a milestone of cultural shifting overlapping with my career. It was the perfect ending of a year where I got to work on a plethora of content featuring strong, female protagonists and on many sets with strong, female directors... a year where my values really clicked into alignment with my work."

-- Laura Solomon (assistant prop master: additional photography)

"Last week we got to go to our crew screening of Captain Marvel. So that was a chance for all of the RSP team and their family -- so I got my kids to go along -- to come and watch the lead up moving on to Endgame, the next natural progression in the Marvel Universe. We had a sequence where we knew what our bit was, but it was good to actually see that overall, and to see that character get developed. And certainly for my daughter, it was a really kickass female superhero. I loved the fact that pushed that and I think that the idea that she was a hero before she got her superpowers, that was really nicely put and a good takeaway from the movie."

-- Ian Cope (bidding producer, Rising Sun Pictures)

"I would say Captain Marvel means to me that your failures can make you stronger. Carol Danvers kept getting up no matter what happened to her. That's a powerful message."

-- Sara Gardner Gail (set decoration buyer)

Captain Marvel meant empowerment and parity. We had more women in important decision-making roles and down the line at every level than any other film I've worked on, and I think it showed in the final product.

-- Michael Gowen (second unit art director)

"To me, Captain Marvel means that you are always strong enough to stand up to whatever comes; that you can follow and succeed at your dreams no matter what those dreams may be, or what may be in your way. That's an amazing message, especially for all the young girls out there looking towards their futures.  Be confident. You can do it."

-- Celia Jepson (CG supervisor, ILM)

"Captain Marvel will ensure large audiences see a woman deal with difficult situations and continue to become even stronger for it. As a mother I'm particularly excited for my young daughter to see the film and the powerful message it sends."

-- Jeanie King (executive visual effects producer, ILM)

"Captain Marvel/Carol shows that nothing can truly stand in your way, that you can be a hero through your own strength and determination. Which is absolutely incredible and I hope it inspires people of all ages around the globe."

-- Natalie Smith (digital paint artist, ILM)

Captain Marvel's success speaks for itself. My team and I are grateful to have been apart of it. Truthfully… It's what Hollywood needed and it's encouraging to see where industry will take it.

-- Anthony Syracuse (construction coordinator)

"Captain Marvel meant to me more cool makeup effects employment with Legacy Effects and a bunch of great artists."

-- Mark Garbarino (special makeup effects artist)

"Captain Marvel shows me that everybody has the power within themselves, it just needs to be discovered and let free... woman, man, and yes, even cat!"

-- Simone Kraus (animation supervisor, Trixster)

"Captain Marvel is a fantasy land of hair and makeup. The characters we designed by Hair Department Head Camille Friend. It was an amazing experience doing hair for Rune Temte who played Bron-Char, for the Additional Photography unit."

-- Connie Kallos (hair stylist: additional photography)

"Brie Larson had another supporting character: Visual Effects. Both bring Carol Danvers to life and make this picture so much fun to watch!"

-- Michael Coldewey (executive producer, Trixter)

"To me Captain Marvel means that when everything seems to be going against you and you fail, remember that the plane takes off against the wind, not with it. To fail is human but to keep trying is what makes a human… a super human."

-- Aparna Mepani (senior creature technical director, ILM)

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Check out CNET's Women of the Marvel universe package of stories, celebrating the women who help bring the MCU to life.