Comics
Published June 15, 2023

Kelly Thompson Reflects on Her 'Captain Marvel' Journey

In honor of the 50th issue, longtime 'Captain Marvel' writer Kelly Thompson broke down the final chapter of her Carol Danvers story and the highlights of her run at large.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) #50 marks the end of an era.

Since the very start of 2019, writer Kelly Thompson has guided Carol Danvers through some tremendous highs and devastating lows, from her rousing victory over Vox Supreme to the death of Binary. Now, Thompson will close out this extraordinary chapter of Carol's life with CAPTAIN MARVEL #50, which saw Earth's Mightiest Hero mourning her fallen sister and attempting to move forward with her life—with a little help from friends like Spider-Woman and Hazmat, of course.

Speaking to Marvel.com, Thompson reflected on her 50-issue journey with Captain Marvel. She broke down the relatable way Carol deals with grief and praised the power of sisterhood and female friendships. She explained which guests just had to be there for Carol's big party in this issue, as well as how artist David Lopez helped bring her full circle. She also shared the lessons she learned from working on this series, her favorite beats, and more.

MARVEL.COM: CAPTAIN MARVEL #50 grapples with some pretty weighty themes about grief and moving forward. What made these important topics to cover in your sendoff issue?

KELLY THOMPSON: Well, I think those topics would be important for any character like Carol in a long-running series, but I certainly wrote myself into a corner there by killing her "sister" in the previous few issues! That really set us on a course for we HAVE to deal with this. And yeah, there was a moment where I was really cursing myself—that I had planned a party for issue #50 and now was planning the death of an innocent young character Carol had just started to care about—not exactly great “party” subject matter and tone. It was, on the surface, not great. 

But of course, it turned into an excellent way to show Carol dealing with and very much not dealing with her grief and hopefully an excellent and relatable mirror for all of us—of how important it is to process grief and guilt—how much you need other people to help you through that.

MARVEL.COM: On the flip side, this issue—and really, the series at large—centered female friendships more than anything. What inspired you to make this such an integral piece of Carol's story?

KELLY THOMPSON: I think Sisterhood is something I believe deeply in, but also, as a flawed petty human, struggle with actualizing in the real world. So I think I’m always looking in fiction to create those bonds between women, those emotional ties and weight, to inspire readers/fans and maybe even myself to reach for those same sometimes complicated but beautiful and rewarding connections. I think women have real power when we band together—I mean, that power is quite literally why it’s been so advantageous in the past to divide us.

MARVEL.COM: That being said, CAPTAIN MARVEL #50 was packed with cameos and guest stars. Who were the must-haves on your guest list? Why?

KELLY THOMPSON: Unfortunately for the fantastic Javier Pina, my list for that double-page spread was quite large, as you can see! But for the key personal moments we layered throughout the issue, it was mostly Carol’s supporting cast—those most important in her life: Spider-Woman, Lauri-Ell, Iron Man, Rhodey, Hazmat, Monica Rambeau, Ms. Marvel, and a few others. I think it’s fun as fans to see them, of course, but it’s all about Carol here and each of her friends brings her some different kind of strength and perspective—all of which she needs in a time of grief and existential crossroads.

MARVEL.COM: You've worked with some pretty incredible artists over the course of this series, and while I could structure a whole interview around your time with them, I'm choosing to ask about your work with David Lopez—the artist who drew your first and last pages with Carol (so far). Tell me about working with him and how you grew together alongside Captain Marvel.

KELLY THOMPSON: We have been SO lucky. We're so fortunate to have had Sarah Brunstad to help us get that incredible roster of talent. I was so excited when it worked out that David Lopez would be drawing the last ten pages of issue #50. He was the first artist I ever got to work with at Marvel—and on Captain Marvel no less (CAPTAIN MARVEL & THE CAROL CORPS #1)! 

The most important thing to me, of course, is that we have the best artists for Carol’s story, but I didn’t hate that it all came thematically full circle for me too. And it just makes sense. David is one of Carol’s best and most powerful artists, so of course I wanted him here.

MARVEL.COM: Across all your time with the character, what are you proudest of? What was your greatest challenge?

KELLY THOMPSON: I think the hardest thing was reinventing the wheel for every arc… and doing that 9 or 10 times over nearly five years takes it out of you. But because of the way comics (mostly) work, these days you don’t really have the luxury of setting up future stories with B and C plots on the backburner that slowly heat up and then explode organically onto the page. Because you rarely have a ton of runway, you have to sort of rebuild your book a little bit on the fly for each new arc. I think we got pretty good at doing it, which I’m proud of, but it was also one of the hardest things to pull off.

MARVEL.COM: Who was your favorite addition to Carol's roster for this series? What about your favorite villain?

KELLY THOMPSON: Ouch. I always hate the picking favorite children question! I think I'd be hard pressed to name someone I enjoyed writing more than Spider-Woman. But I also loved writing Lauri-Ell and her whole giant woman fish-out-of-water-nonsense—a complete delight for me. But Hazmat is a secret fav too—I mean, literally nobody was asking for her and I forced her onto the book! [laughs] That’s one of my only regrets actually—that it took me until the Brood arc to get to do anything more significant with Hazmat plot wise. 

For villains… Well, I was very excited to get to work with the Brood again, but for my creations, I think Vox Supreme is the most interesting, perhaps, as he’s terrifying and has great potential to be a huge ongoing nemesis for Carol thanks to his power levels and ties to the Kree. But Star will be great in that capacity too and has really captured the attention of the fans!

MARVEL.COM: After spending 50 issues with Carol, what is something you learned?

KELLY THOMPSON: Well, I think from a purely practical way, I learned what it's like to be on a long-running comic book series—which had surprising pros and cons that I didn’t exactly expect. I also definitely learned how vital and reassuring it is to write for a character that has a really thriving and positive fan base. Captain Marvel has some of the biggest haters in the world—and also the biggest fans with the largest hearts—and they bring their swords, man. In the best way.

MARVEL.COM: What do you hope readers take away from your 50-issue run with CAPTAIN MARVEL?

KELLY THOMPSON: I just hope readers fall in love.

Witness the end of an era in CAPTAIN MARVEL #50, on sale now! Higher, further, faster—to the very end.

Grab these comics and more at your local comic book shop! Or redeem then read your digital copy on the Marvel Unlimited app by using the code found in your print comic. Find and support your local comic book shop at ComicShopLocator.com.

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