Lashana Lynch is Captain Marvel’s Maria Rambeau, and I want more of her.
DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It) was originally cast in the role of pilot Maria (which I was excited about), but dipped due to scheduling conflicts, per Deadline. It appeared to be a case of divine order for Lynch, who officially became the badass friend of the titular lead character, also known as Carol Danvers. It’s a phenomenon that often occurs in Hollywood—either an actor is approached with a role and turns it down, or has to drop out after being cast, then the follow-up actor bodies the role, and you can’t imagine anyone else doing it.
This, essentially, is how I feel about Lynch.
Following a press screening of Captain Marvel, I spoke with the actress about the importance of Maria’s character arc in relation to her black daughter Monica (brilliantly portrayed by young starlet, Akira Akbar), the process of developing the necessary chemistry with Brie Larson (who portrays Danvers), and of course, the blackest moment she experienced on set (because duh, she worked with Sam Jackson!).
My general thoughts on Captain Marvel: While it has its flaws, I genuinely enjoyed the film. I loved the “girl power” aspect, but found some of the heavy-handed, on-the-nose execution to be a bit patronizing at times. And though they’ve been a well-matched duo for previous projects, I also wish female director Anna Boden was given full reign for this film instead of being latched onto male co-director Ryan Fleck. Nevertheless, Captain Marvel definitely had that “fun” aspect Marvel films typically boast. Shout-out to Goose, the cat.
Maria’s character arc illustrating her long-lost relationship with Carol and her strength as a single mother to Monica was especially intriguing to me, so I asked Lynch to expound on that. After all, Maria is not only a black female pilot, she’s a black mother and friend.
Lynch touched on the importance of showcasing the narratives of both Maria and Monica, as they tell the story of both older and younger generations of color.
“I think it’s inspiring for young black girls to finally see themselves onscreen and feel like they have a reference in a strong woman,” Lynch said. “I didn’t often have it when I was younger—in fact, I didn’t really have it at all. So, now it’s nice that they have this movie [which] is almost like a classic movie. They can use this to change the mentality. They have a completely different way of approaching life than we did when we were young. And so, I’m grateful they get to see their truth.”
Yes, we are primarily following Carol’s arc, but Maria is a pivotal aspect in the journey. One aspect I appreciated about this film is that it didn’t lean on having a heteronormative male love interest to move Carol’s arc along. In fact, her love story involved Maria—not romantic love, but love all the same.
“We both wanted to represent two strong women living in their truth, having each other’s back, and being vocal about who they are and what they want,” Lynch recalled. “And so, when it came to working with Brie, it was almost like we didn’t have to do anything at all. Yeah, we hung out a couple of times to get to know each other before we started shooting. But, we didn’t have to decide on what kind of friendship we wanted to represent on screen. We didn’t have to discuss the intricacies of their relationship. It just felt like it was an organic connection.”
Additionally, Maria is such an interesting character herself, I had an urge to know her origin story. So much so, I asked Lynch to provide me a hypothetical pitch for a future Marvel movie I think should be titled Rambeau.
“I would like to see more of how she raised Monica,” noted Lynch. “[I’d like to see how] Monica became who she is because we all know and love her from the comics, but to see how someone can become a superhero; you don’t get to see that narrative. But, also I’d like to to see her just living her best life in the south. I think that’ll be a really nice spin on a Marvel movie.”
Fans of the comics know the superhero young Monica Rambeau eventually becomes in adulthood, which makes her fascination and bonding moments with Carol in the film that much more rewarding. It’s satisfying foreshadowing.
Lastly, you can’t work on a movie with “motherfucker” enthusiast Samuel L. Jackson and not have an array of blackest moments, so I asked Lynch to pick the top moment she shared on set with him.
“Looking at Sam and having that understanding—you know when two black folks see each other we just have a kind of, ‘Yes I see you,’” she mused. “That moment happened a lot. I think we were just like ‘yeah, we’re owning it!’. [And honestly], all moments were my blackest moments because I’m black, and I’m living every moment truthfully.”
Yep, y’all better get those Marvel coins. Here’s to Lashana getting more. I need more Maria Rambeau.