It’s no secret that Marvel movies change a lot over the course of their production — reshoots are par for the course for the MCU, as the studio adjusts story developments in response to test screener reactions or to better tie into other upcoming projects. It sounds like The Marvels went through an even bigger metamorphosis than most, however, as the film’s own villain has admitted that she originally had the distinction of succeeding where Thanos and Yon-Rogg failed before her: killing Captain Marvel.
Typically, details about Marvel’s deleted scenes and alternate cuts are top-secret, but Dar-Benn actress Zawe Ashton came clean about a surprising cut ending to The Marvels while speaking to ComicBook.com. Ashton admitted that the movie originally ended with Carol Danvers and Dar-Benn killing each other in an epic, tragic climactic sequence, one that would’ve deprived the MCU of arguably its most powerful hero. According to Ashton:
“There was another ending that we did film where Brie and myself are kind of in space still having it out, and they kind of combust together, which was really amazing,” she admitted. “And that was just a day on wires hanging out with Brie, which is surreal and fun. But yeah, there were a few different plans, I think.”
Ashton went on to add that an “epic death” for Carol was thought to be the way to go in order to conclude her character arc and absolve the heroine of her lingering guilt from what she had done to the Kree planet, Hala.
“There was always going to be an epic death just because in terms of, I just think in terms of just bringing that story psychologically for Carol to a close I think was always the best thing,” Ashton continued. “You don’t want to think, did she defeat her? Is this over? Is she going to be kind of doomed to this life of feeling guilty about this whole thing forever and ever?”
The specifics of what this alternate ending consisted of are a little hazy, but Ashton teased that it would’ve been more ambitious than Dar-Benn’s demise as depicted in the theatrical version. “I will say I did a day’s diving training because there was going to be a lot of water involved in the original death,” she revealed.
The Marvels alternate ending is just the latest evidence that Captain Marvel 3 is cancelled
Screenshot via Marvel Studios
On the one hand, hearing that The Marvels almost killed off Carol is hugely shocking. And yet, on the other, it also makes more sense of what else we’ve heard about the production. For instance, in The Making of The Marvels documentary, Brie Larson is curiously reflective and conclusive about her time in the MCU, indicating she might be done with the franchise. This attitude would be completely in keeping with the fact her soundbites were recorded during shooting, when the original ending would still have been in play.
It certainly sounds like setting up a Captain Marvel 3 was never the intention during production on The Marvels, with the decision being made to have the second film conclude Carol’s adventures. That said, Marvel perhaps changed its mind in post-production, hence the decision to relocate Captain Danvers to Earth, allowing her easier crossover access in future. Nevertheless, the story may come full circle anyway as the sequel only making 1/5 of the first film’s box office gross suggests a threequel is a far-flung dream. Especially given Bob Iger’s new approach to Marvel filmmaking.
It’s hard to imagine Larson vanishing completely as Carol, with some kind of role in Avengers 5 and 6 surely a given. But maybe we can infer that her Marvel career is drawing to a close. Then again, Zawe Ashton’s own IRL partner Tom Hiddleston was once killed off in the original ending for Thor: The Dark World and now, 10 years later, Loki’s the God of the Universe. Captain Marvel could still have a long MCU life ahead of her, even if Captain Marvel 3 never happens.