WARNING: Spoilers ahead for ‘Captain Marvel!’ Turn back now if you haven’t seen the movie!
While audiences going into the film were (more or less) aware that the movie was setting up Captain Marvel to join the Avengers in ‘Avengers: End Game,’ the big question was how would she get there, and how would they justify her absence in the 20+ years between ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Avengers: End Game?’ Thankfully for everyone involved, long-time MCU editor Debbie Berman (she edited ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and ‘Black Panther’) was working on this movie as well, and was able to give some suggestions to the filmmakers while doing her edits.
While speaking to ET during a recent interview, Berman shared her contributions to the creative process on ‘Captain Marvel,’ including a suggestion she had about the film’s ending:
“I did actually suggest some tweaks to the ending of this film. It used to end with Carol flying off into space alone, and I found that a bit jarring. Like, where exactly was she going? And what was she doing? It felt like we needed a stronger visual to assert a more specific justification for her leaving and disappearing for so many years. So we added Talos and his family in their spaceship waiting for her, and they all fly off together. It gave her more of a sense of purpose and made it easier to believe that she left her newfound life on Earth because she was with a friend we knew she cared about, and for a more specific mission. It gave more resonance and closure to her final moment in the film.”
In addition to helping the ending make more sense, Berman was also pivotal in choosing powerful moments in the movie, always looking to find shots and takes that helped the movie stand apart from the expected. Here’s one story she shared about a particularly climactic moment in the film:
“I remember when I came across the line where she says, “My name is Carol,” and there was a take where a tear runs down her cheek. I had a lot of other takes of that line where she just said it in a stoic, kick-ass fashion. And I was drawn to those other takes because that’s what I am used to seeing — and in a way, I’ve been programmed to feel that someone being strong and emotionless is the right play. And they were really great performances and you could feel her power. But then I thought, I have never seen a superhero cry while saying her most kick-ass of lines, and honestly, if I had gone through everything she had just gone through, no matter how strong I was feeling at that moment, I think I would be having a multitude of emotional experiences simultaneously.
So I went with the “kick-ass tear” take. And again, I was expecting push back [on] it and was again surprised and delighted everyone loved it. It’s one of the most powerful moments of the movie. It’s something new and unexpected, and Brie really brought the performance in that moment, and I embraced it as something that felt real to me.”
While most people may not realize it, the final result of a movie rests heavily on the shoulders of the editor putting it all together, with factors like how well they collaborate with the director, how well they know the material, and how much time they want to put in often being the difference between a great film and a mediocre one. Berman seems like one of those editors that really enjoys her work, especially on the MCU films, and feels comfortable enough to share her opinions with the creatives behind the movie, which is not always the case.
I definitely agree with her assessment that we needed to see a visual reminder of why Carol would choose to fly off into space and leave Earth, and adding Talos and his family gives a weight and depth to the ending that would not have been there had Carol simply flown off. It helps us understand that while she went into space to be a hero for others and stop the Kree, she also went to help innocents, like Talos and his family, and her motivation was not something simple or selfish like just wanting adventure.
What are your thoughts on the original ending and the one that ended up in the movie? Do you agree with the decision? Feel free to weigh in with your opinions in the comments below!