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Lashana Lynch and Brie Larson in Captain Marvel

As Marvel’s Phase Four approaches later this year, the studio is making progress behind the scenes to get its announced projects underway. The studio took a major step forward last week when it was reported that Candyman’s Nia DaCosta will be directing Captain Marvel 2, which is expected to come in summer 2022. The 30-year-old filmmaker will follow Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s work on 2019’s Captain Marvel, and yes, I’m calling it early: DaCosta is the perfect choice to forward the Brie Larson-led comic book hero franchise. I'll tell you why:

Lily James and Tessa Thompson in Little Woods

Her Debut Film Little Woods Already Sets The Bar High

Nia DaCosta’s first feature film came out only two years ago, but it's an impressive debut that turned the heads of people like Get Out’s Jordan Peele. The thriller and modern Western centers on two sisters, played by Tessa Thompson and Lily James, who both find themselves in desperate situations in the North Dakota fracking boomtown they live in. Thompson’s Ollie resorts to returning to her drug dealing to make ends meet, and James’ Deb struggles with her limited options to provide for herself and young son when she finds out she’s pregnant.

The filmmaker wrote and directed Little Woods on a $11 million production budget, which was partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign. DaCosta is a Brooklyn native – a far-stretch from the North Dakota town her movie is about. She wanted Little Woods to be a source of empathy for the places and people in the United States struggling the hardest. It’s kind of a horror movie about the American healthcare system. Not only is the concept bold, DaCosta made a poignant film that's shot beautifully and takes full advantage of its talented leads. You can check it out on Hulu now.

Doctor Strange

Horror Directors Have A Killer Track Record With Superhero Films

Shortly after Nia DaCosta’s Little Woods circled high praise, nabbing a 95% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, she signed on to work with Jordan Peele on the spiritual sequel to Candyman, which is currently set to hit theaters in October. She co-wrote the script with Peele and Win Rosenfeld, and is solely helming the highly-anticipated horror project. This is exciting for Captain Marvel 2 because she will have already had experience handling a popular property by the time she steps onto the Marvel set. Plus, horror filmmakers have an awesome track record with transitioning to the comic book movie. We haven’t seen Candyman just yet, but we might just follow writer/producer Peele anywhere. Here’s what he said about Nia’s Candyman direction:

I was working on Us when this would have happened. But quite honestly, Nia is better to shoot this than I am. I’m way too obsessed with the original tales in my head. I probably wouldn’t be any good. But Nia has a steady manner about her which you don’t see a lot in the horror space. She’s refined, elegant, every shot is beautiful. It’s a beautiful, beautiful movie. I’m so glad I didn’t mess it up.

She joins a massive list that includes Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, Aquaman’s James Wan, Doctor Strange’s Scott Derrickson, Spider-Man’s Sam Raimi (who will also direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), Shazam’s David F. Sandberg, Batman’s Tim Burton and Superman’s Richard Donner. Each of them made incredible superhero movies after their roots in horror may have seemed to come from left field. There’s something about a background with the genre that prepares a filmmaker for big-budget films such as Captain Marvel 2.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Candyman

DaCosta Is Clever About How She Injects Important Topics Into Movies

Speaking of Candyman (which I’ve already mentioned too many times over to still be technically alive by the movie’s logic), the marketing for the film makes it clear that Nia DaCosta will continue to tackle important issues through her work with grace. The horror flick is sure to be a fun gore fest, but it’s also tackling the present gentrification of the Chicago town where the iconic story first took place in the ‘90s. Aside from the main trailer for the new Candyman, Nia DaCosta also shared this creative video that dives deeper into the character’s origins. Take a look:

From what we’ve seen from Nia DaCosta thus far (including Little Woods), the writer/director handles big topics with care and really focuses on their intersection with rich story, rather than simply placing an idea there just to seem relevant. This point can be helpful to the Marvel sequel because Carol Danvers inherently has to deal with a number of alien races and being a powerful female hero in a predominantly male space. DaCosta is the right person to tackle this justly. For example, some of Captain Marvel’s attempts at “girl power” felt a bit forced in my opinion. “Just a Girl” may have been a little too on the nose for the final fight song of the franchise’s first female-led epic.

Monica Rambeau in Captain Marvel

She Can Pave The Way For A Meaningful Return For Monica Rambeau

We still don’t know much about what to expect from Captain Marvel 2 yet since the studio is famously all hush-hush. We do expect Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers to reunite with Monica Rambeau in the present day. An adult version of Maria’s daughter has already been cast to appear in Disney+’s WandaVision; she'll be played by Teyonah Parris, who's in Candyman too! Small world, huh? One would assume WandaVision is setting up a central role for Monica in Captain Marvel 2, who famously becomes a hero herself, whose gone by the monikers Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar and Spectrum in the comics.

In the first Captain Marvel movie, Monica Rambeau has big dreams to build her own spaceship and be a hero like Carol Danvers. In the comic books, she grows up to be a cargo ship captain in the New Orleans Harbor. When a special device that can tap into energies from other dimensions is destroyed in her presence, her super powers take flight. The potential presence of Monica Rambeau could be key to the Captain Marvel 2 storyline and having not only the first Black Marvel director, but one who has dealt specifically with the experiences of women of color in a sisterly relationship with Little Woods. It could pave the way for their stories to be told in a unique and special manner.

Tessa Thompson as Valykrie in Thor: Ragnarok

DaCosta Is Good Friends With Tessa Thompson, So Valkyrie Team-Up?

This last point might be more of a wishful thinking, fantasy scenario, but hey, if we’ve learned anything in the past decade as MCU fans, it's that anything can happen. On the set of Little Woods, Tessa Thompson became good friends with Nia DaCosta, and Thompson is good friends with Brie Larson… so naturally her Marvel character has the go-ahead to finally team up with Captain Marvel as fans have been campaigning for. Yes? Please? Thompson said this about the idea of working with Larson’s Carol Danvers last year:

Brie [Larson] is a friend, and I just like hanging out with her; and I'm so excited. Obviously it's been a long time coming for Marvel to have a movie led by one of their female characters that exists in the canon… Last year in the press there was this whole idea that I was on Kevin Feige about doing an all-female, A-Force or something. But really it just has to do with the fact that there's so many incredible, talented women in the MCU that I just want to work with selfishly. So I'm like, 'Well, why not do it in the context of like fighting folks and hanging out in space?’

Okay, so I want to hear from you now. Is Nia DaCosta the perfect choice for Captain Marvel 2? Yes, no or somewhere in between? Vote in our poll below and stay tuned for more Marvel news here on CinemaBlend.

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