At first glance, we’re not exactly sure why Marvel chose to introduce the grown-up version of Monica Rambeau, last seen as an 11-year-old in “Captain Marvel,” in “WandaVision.” But Kevin Feige teased that Teyonah Parris’ debut is key to the MCU’s first Disney+ series.
While not much is known about Monica’s role in the series — which stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as their Marvel Cinematic Universe characters living out a sitcom-inspired marital bliss — the Marvel Studios chief said her role fills a storytelling need.
“The notion of Monica Rambeau in this series was very natural; needing a particular type of role and a particular type of storytelling device, that at Marvel can become more than that if we make it a character that we know we have stories for,” Feige told TheWrap. “That unlocked a whole new aspect of the show.”
Though Rambeau’s appearance in 2019’s “Captain Marvel” was a bit part, the character has a major history in the comics. She was the second incarnation of Captain Marvel — even predating Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson in the films), who initially went by Ms. Marvel — and at times was the leader of the Avengers. She was also well-known by her other superhero moniker, Photon.
After “WandaVision,” Parris will star alongside Larson and fellow Disney+ newcomer Iman Vellani in “Captain Marvel 2.” Vellani will first star in “Ms. Marvel” on Disney+ later this year, where she’ll play the Kamala Khan version of the character.
“We always knew that Monica would have a future within the MCU,” Feige said. “The ability to further meet her as Teyonah Parris in this series, before the movie, was this organic shift.” And it certainly helps that “WandaVision” creator and showrunner Jac Schaeffer was also a writer on “Captain Marvel.”
Meanwile, Parris described Akira Akbar’s performance in “Captain Marvel” as the “starting point” for her character, explaining that Monica’s experience with the superpowered Danvers — who was a fellow fighter pilot with her mother, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) — affected what she did with her life.
“When you’re young things can change, but there are also very integral parts of our childhood that we do carry into our adulthood,” Parris told TheWrap. “Some of that is relationships. What is her relationship with her mom, Maria Rambeau, who we learned a lot about, and Carol Danvers, who she has a relationship with? How are those relationships influencing her as she grows up?”
While only those worthy of wielding Mjolnir know what the older Monica is up to (leaked set photos show her wearing a jacket with the S.W.O.R.D. logo, the space-based counterpart of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Parris teased that “WandaVision” will explain what has happened between “Captain Marvel,” which took place in the 1990s, and the post-Snap world following “Avengers: Endgame,” which is set sometime in 2023.
“During the course of ‘WandaVision,’ we certainly find out what has happened to Monica between when we last saw her in ‘Captain Marvel’ as a little girl and when we pick up with her now,” Parris said. “All of those questions are answered and we get into it really deep.”
“WandaVision” premieres its first two episodes Friday, Jan. 15 on Disney+.