The Marvels director reveals its comic book inspirations, from Spider-Man to Carol Danvers' recovering alcoholic arc

The Marvels
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvels is, first and foremost, a sequel to Marvel Studios' 2019 flick Captain Marvel, but it's also a follow-up to Disney Plus TV shows WandaVision, Ms. Marvel, and Secret Invasion. With that, it was impossible for director Nia DaCosta to base it on a sole comic, so she found inspiration in several. 

While chatting with GamesRadar+, the filmmaker, who co-wrote the movie with Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik, revealed that 1982's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 had a big influence on the film, as did a more recent Captain Marvel run of Kelly Sue DeConnick's, which sees Carol Danvers struggling with sobriety. 

"[There was] the first issue where we meet Monica Rambeau, which is in a Spider-Man issue and he's, well, he’s basically being such a creep," DaCosta laughs. "He's like, 'There's someone in this airport who's giving me vibes' and he sees her and he's like, 'I'm gonna follow her' and then, and the text just says 'who's that lady?' which I love. 

"Then, for Captain Marvel, there's a moment, in one of [DeConnick's] issues where she's… falling? Basically she's a dry drunk, a recovering alcoholic, and she's falling to Earth because she cannot die and nothing can harm her, so it's the only way she can get a rush.

"I really liked that conceptually, that idea of her inner life so a lot of that went into this and building out more of Carol's character. Then, the first, I'd say, six issues of Ms. Marvel are just perfect, so we pulled them out, too."

Nia DaCosta on the set of The Marvels

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, and Brie Larson, The Marvels takes place almost 30 years after the events of Captain Marvel, and sees Kamala Khan, Monica, and Carol forced to form an unlikely team when their light-based powers become inexplicably entangled. Not ideal, really, when there's a Kree warrior (Zawe Ashton) causing chaos and conflict throughout the galaxy...

For DaCosta, a self-proclaimed X-Men and Spider-Man lover, the nerding out didn't stop once she got on set, either. "For me personally, it was so fun working with Iman. I'd just be like, 'What are you reading?' and she sent me this Black Bolt run that was really good. Then, in terms of her character Kamala, it's just great to infuse that sort of enthusiasm for superheroes, for Marvel from inside the film itself. It's so cool."

The Marvels releases in UK and US cinemas on November 10. Keep your eyes peeled later this week for the full interview on the Inside Total Film podcast.

For more right now, check out the full list of upcoming Marvel movies. Or, if you need to catch up beforehand, you'll need our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.