Movie Makeover: Captain Marvel!

Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly released some exclusive first looks at a bunch of characters from the upcoming Captain Marvel film, including this first primary-colored version of the celestial Avenger herself. It’s really nice to finally see, and it appears there will be an in-story reason for the color change from the retro Captain Marvel green and silver look seen in the first leaked set photos.

Carol Danvers’s appearance for the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks to be based largely on her famous redesign from six years ago, when writer Kelly Sue DeConnick managed to get the former Ms. Marvel promoted to Captain Marvel.

(For a deep dive on Carol’s past codenames and costumes, check out this article at CBR. -Dean) 

Artist Jamie McKelvie was tasked with coming up with the Captain’s new uniform. McKelvie has repeatedly demonstrated an exceptional talent for superhero costume redesigns, providing flipping-rad looks to the Young Avengers, Ms. Marvel, and others, but we’d known he was a powerhouse here at P:R for years, because he was one of our earliest contributor, back in our launch year of 2006. Jamie’s Emma FrostPsylocke, and Wonder Woman, among others, inspired countless Rooftop Readers and our fellow artists with a deft synthesis of fashion, fun, form, and function, four characteristics that would carry through in his professional costume design work.

Above: Jamie McKelvie’s early Captain Marvel design attempts. Below: The nearly-final design.

McKelvie’s Captain Marvel must hold a particular place of pride in his redesignography. To be blunt, it’s on my short list of the best superhero redesigns of all time, alongside other personal faves, Brian Stelfreeze’s Nightwing, Adi Granov’s Iron Man, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s X-Men, Cully Hamner’s Blue Beetle, and Darwyn Cooke’s Catwoman.

Here at Project: Rooftop, we dedicated a Fan-Art Friday to the Captain’s new look. At the time, Jamie said this about his thought process on the redesign in an interview with P:R co-founder and former editor Chris Arrant over at Newsarama:

…we wanted to provide a link to her past while also striking out with something new. So you’ve got the basic layout of the first Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel colors, but flipped, the sash from the Warbird look, then the stripes, gloves/boots and collar taking inspiration from her Air Force life. In the same way Captain America’s costume is very much superhero, but also tells you he comes from an army background.

A few years later, Marvel asked artist Kris Anka, another Rooftop Rockstar with off-the-charts costume creation chops, to refine Captain Marvel’s uniform a bit more heading into some major event comics. Kris’s design didn’t stray too far from the strong starting point McKelvie had provided, but the look wasn’t broken and didn’t need fixing. Kris’s refinements and details, however, gave the look a refreshed, sci-fi vibe, which matches well with the general flavors of MCU redesigns.

Kris spoke about his approach on his Tumblr:

I just wanted to add little flairs. One of my jumping off points is that I love the Warbird costume carol used to rock, so I wanted to take elements of that and bring it to her Captain Marvel costume. This is where the gloves, and the ideas of the knee pads and straps on her torso came from.

Above: Kris Anna’s nearly-final design. Below: An unused design.

Five years into Project: Rooftop’s storied history of promoting up-and-coming costume nerds like us, Kris Anka became a P:R Pal and another one of my personal favorite designers. He approached his redesigns with a strong personal aesthetic, giving each of his takes a noticeable stamp of Pure Anka-ness.

Like Jamie McKelvie, Kris has an excellent eye for fashion, functionality, and trends, and also gives his designs a sense of majesty. It’s not surprising Marvel has given these two artists the job of redesigning so many characters over this past decade.

For the upcoming film, Marvel hired costume designer Sanja Milkovic Hays, who notably worked on the gorgeous costumes in the underrated romp (and movie I’ve seen at least eight times), Star Trek Beyond. I imagine Hays worked with the mainstay MCU designers, including Andy Park and Ryan Meinerding, on the main hero look, which the team had probably already done plenty of concepts for over the last several years in preparation for this Phase of films.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the final design, other than that I dig it. It looks like an MCU version of the McKelvie and Anka Captain Marvel designs, and I dig the textures and details.. Superheroes in primary colors always appeal to me. It looks like a sort of Air Force Supergirl, which is kinda the deal. I like how the Entertainment Weekly cover shows Carol charging up her energy powers. I kinda wish they’d gone with one of the above designs’ hairstyles, but maybe they’ll save the fauxhawk for the sequel.

If you’re as excited for the film as I am, and want a first look at some shots of jets, the 90s setting, Monica Rambeau’s mom, CGI baby Sam Jackson, the return of Ronan the Accuser and Korath from Guardians of the Galaxy, and a bunch of other cool stuff, head over to for their ten exclusive first look pics. –Dean Trippe

3 comments to “Movie Makeover: Captain Marvel!”
  1. The Captain Marvel redesign is my favorite comic redesign of all time. There have been some stellar redesigns (the aforementioned Blue Beetle, Catwoman and Nightwing among them), but considering what she had as Ms Marvel (iconc it may be), what McKelvie gave Carol just can’t be beat.

  2. Anka’s work is so slick and clean. He’s my absolute favorite for redesigns.

    I can’t wait to see Carol on the big screen.

  3. Pingback: Captain Marvel’s mohawk costume is the result of a comic creator’s bet – GameUP24

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