'Captain Marvel' Producer Jonathan Schwartz Talks the Cosmic Corner of the MCU and Using "Every Ounce of Goose"

Captain Marvel delivered audiences a number of firsts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the first [...]

Captain Marvel delivered audiences a number of firsts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the first meeting with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), the first missions of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) together, and the first story set in the '90s. The film effectively depicted a variety of fresh components, yet a number of previous entries in the MCU helped make this film far more accessible. ComicBook.com spoke with Captain Marvel producer Jonathan Schwartz, who previously worked on the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, giving him indelible knowledge of the more cosmic corners of the franchise to deliver an ambitious and effective adventure.

More specifically, we recently had the opportunity to discuss the successes of Captain Marvel with Schwartz, who shed insight into the approach to the new film.

Captain Marvel Time Travel Powers Brie Larson

ComicBook.com: While there's a built-in fanbase for all Marvel movies, there were many risks in the tone and narrative of Captain Marvel, so were you nervous that the film might not perform as well as other entries in the MCU?

Jonathan Schwartz: I think we're always nervous about how all of our films will perform. I don't think there's ever a moment to really sit back and say, "Well, this one's in the bag." We always keep pushing to make the movies as strong as they can be, and there's never really a sense of complacency or a sense that the audience is just there for it. So we really, really try not to sort of have that feeling of, "It's all there, we don't need to worry about it." And that helps keep us hungry.

How did your experience of working in the cosmic corner of the MCU with the Guardians films help shape your approach to Captain Marvel?

For me and for the whole studio, making the Guardians movies really helped give us a lot of confidence that we could delve into the more cosmic side of the cinematic universe and the comic book lore and that audiences would respond to those things and be there for it, and wouldn't reject even some of the weirder stuff that's in the books.

So when it comes to things in Captain Marvel, like the Supreme Intelligence and the Kree-Skrull war, and some of the more science fiction-y conceits, I think that having those two Guardians movies under our belts gave us a little bit of confidence that the audience would be there for that stuff. And that if we presented it the right way and executed it the right way, that those things could have a real place in the Captain Marvel lore going forward.

Things in Captain Marvel like the Supreme Intelligence are some pretty high-concept ideas. Was there ever any discussions about toning down those more ambitious elements?

I don't think we really pulled back from any of the "weird" stuff that we wanted to do. Part of the conceit of the movie was always that it was going to bridge the cosmic side of the cinematic universe and the Earth-bound side, and being able to see both of those things in the same movie always felt cool. So I think we always knew there was going to be a big science-fiction component, and then also like a big, more grounded Earth-based component.

And, in general, I think what we think of as the weird stuff is some of the more exciting stuff for us, because we'd never want to repeat ourselves. We always want to be taking risks and making the movies feel different and distinct. And some of those bigger, weirder, more science fiction-y ideas are kind of what helps sets Captain Marvel apart.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has often pointed out how Captain Marvel is set to be a major player in the upcoming stories in the MCU. Was that a directive from the inception of this film, that it had to pave the way for her importance in the franchise?

I think the hope was always that Captain Marvel would cement the place for Carol Danvers at the epicenter of the cinematic universe and put her at the forefront of things going forward to make sure that there was an appetite in the audience for it, to see more of her in whatever is to come. And I don't want to speak too much about specifics or what's down the road, but as Kevin has said before, Captain Marvel is going to be very important to the narrative as it moves forward.

Have discussions begun about what could be next for Captain Marvel in terms of solo adventures?

I don't want to get too specific about what might lie in store for Carol down the road. We've talked, not in details, but in a very 40,000-foot view about what might await her in future stories, potentially. But I think we're all taking a minute to enjoy the success of the film from last weekend and taking a deep breath and really then taking a moment to dig in and say, "OK, if there is more to this story to tell, where does it go?"

Certainly there are some natural story thread that were left dangling at the end of Captain Marvel that could be exciting for future installments, but I think we're all taking a moment to let things shake out and then starting to actually think about the future.

A big strength of the film is the dynamic between all of the characters and how they play off of one another. Could you talk about how the cast, specifically Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, developed their rapport?

Well, they'd known each other going in and had a great relationship from KONG: Skull Island. And Brie had actually directed Sam in her movie Unicorn Store, which I think is coming to Netflix soon. So they had a really great working relationship already, which I think you can see on screen. It's different than what it is in real life, but not that different. They get along so well. They're really good friends. They respect each other's craft and they're both amazing people. So getting to play that dynamic onscreen was a really cool thing to see because they honestly seem to be really amazing friends and have a really great relationship.

Will the home video release contain much extra footage focusing on the relationships between the characters that were potentially cut to make the narrative more efficient?

There's some cool deleted scenes. There's some content you may not have seen coming. But the truth is we always put a lot of effort into putting forth the best version of the movie that we can into theaters, so any deleted scene is deleted for a reason. It's often not because the scene doesn't work or is bad, but because the movie just, for whatever reason, worked better without it. So there's no game-changers waiting for anybody on the home video release. But I do think that the version of the movie that's out there is the strongest thing that we could put out.

More importantly, is there more footage of Goose?

I think we used all the Goose we had. I think Goose was one of those things that we knew was going to work as long as we didn't overdo it, and so I think we used every ounce of Goose that we possibly could have.

We saw Carol join the rest of the Avengers in the trailer for Avengers: Endgame, is there anything you can say about what to expect from her in that film and where she has been prior to that film's events?

Honestly, I feel like I'm getting into spoiler-y territory there when it comes to all things Endgame. I feel the laser sight on the back of my neck, so I don't think I can say anything about it except that Captain Marvel definitely showed up in that trailer. She's definitely in the movie.

Apart from your professional involvement, is there anything specific you're looking forward to seeing in Endgame as merely a fan of these characters?

Oh my gosh. It's hard to get specific because there's so much about Endgame that I just can't wait for people to see. It's a little hard to talk about because it's so much stuff, and so much of it are things that the audience should go in not knowing. So I don't want to set any kind of expectation for it. But I can't wait to kind of have the experience of watching it at a theater with a real audience and experiencing it with them. It's going to be a treat.

Another element that felt familiar to audiences who love Guardians are all the musical cues. What was the process of selecting all of those specific songs?

It was one of those moments where we knew the audience was looking for a little bit more '90s music, so it was me and Kevin and the directors and our music supervisor sitting around, going through cues, going through moments and seeing what worked best.

There was a little bit of trial and error when it came to the music. Everyone has their favorites from the era and it was really fun to take a walk down memory lane, go through all that music and remember what it was like to be hearing it in the '90s when I was growing up, back when I was in Portland, Oregon.

Were there any tracks you tried hard to make work that just didn't fit organically?

I mean, look, I would have loved to find a way to put some Ace of Base in there. I don't think anything says the '90s better than that, but it's probably best that that didn't make it into the movie, if I'm being totally honest.


Captain Marvel is in theaters now.