The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most successful film franchises in history. When you score a role in the MCU, you take it, right? It’s not always that simple, and sometimes choosing not to pursue such a path works out better for everyone involved. That’s what happened for DeWanda Wise and Captain Marvel.
While on an episode of Collider Ladies Night celebrating her standout work joining the Jurassic franchise as Kayla Watts, Wise explained what it was really like when she scored the role of Maria Rambeau in the 2019 MCU release only to have to exit the project two months after her casting was announced.
What’s it like making such a significant career decision? How does one come to choose one project over another? Wise noted, “It wasn’t a choice.” She went on to say that a rather painful part of the process comes from “how the public processes news or the presumptions that they make about how Hollywood works or what choices performers do or do not have.” Wise explained that “unless you’re a super defensive person and you just have to get on Twitter and you have to get on Instagram” to detail what happened, it’s unlikely the public will fully understand what goes into navigating such a situation.
What it came down to for Wise was commitment, and honoring the initial commitment she made.
“I committed to She’s Gotta Have It. When you commit to something, you commit to it. And it just so happened that when they decided to essentially expand the role in Captain Marvel a little longer, a little larger, it conflicted with a very specific moment that we were shooting in Season 2, a very special episode that we shot that I would not trade for anything in the world when we shot in Puerto Rico.”
Was it easy letting the role of Maria in Captain Marvel go? Absolutely not, but Wise did emphasize that there were many significant upsides to that outcome, including the experience she had filming that Puerto Rico of She’s Gotta Have It.
“That was experientially, spiritually, personally one of the most painful and life-changing moments of my life. So it was. It was painful to be told no at the time. It wasn’t something that I didn’t have to grieve and process and be like, wow, this was a really big opportunity that felt like, at the time, that it was taken from me, but now of course, when you play it back and you’re like, ‘Oh, I ‘m playing a pilot. Here’s why. Here’s why. That’s why this didn’t happen, so that I could do this in this way.’ And also not for nothing, Lashana Lynch, y’all!
Wise also noted the possibility that Lynch’s work in Captain Marvel might have paved the way to her scoring the role of Nomi in No Time To Die.
“And who knows if she would or would not have done Bond, which was also a role that was just made for her. Who knows what Hollywood needed for that to happen for her, so listen, I’m content over here.”
So not only did we wind up with a stellar Maria in Captain Marvel thanks to Lynch, but the way things played out also meant that Wise could take on another gem of a project, the wildly charming Netflix romantic comedy, Someone Great. Wise explained:
“What happened was I couldn’t do Captain Marvel and the day after I texted Gina [Rodriguez] and I said, ‘I feel like there’s a role for me in your movie.’ So that’s also a part of it. I would not have done Someone Great if I were in Captain Marvel. And the experience of working on that movie also changed my life. I have a lot of those! But it also changed my life because it really set the bar for what I wanted my on-set experience to be because we were having as much fun as it looked like we were having making that movie. And it was the first time that I had this experience where the final thing, the finished product — I don’t want to say I didn’t care, but the process of working on it was so beautiful and so precious, it just gave me this feeling that was just like, ‘Well, I hope other people enjoy it because I do!’
Ultimately, this turned into an everyone wins scenario! Lynch is a standout pilot in Captain Marvel and Wise is a major scene-stealer as pilot Kayla Watts in Jurassic World Dominion. But, if you’re still wondering how close Wise came to playing Maria in the MCU, she laughed and noted:
“The thing about Season 2 of She’s Gotta Have It is, I had already been training for Captain Marvel, so Nola Darling has muscles for no reason. I don’t know if anyone picked up on this. No one seems to have noticed, but she was brolick for no reason in Season 2 of that series.”
Looking for even more from Wise on her journey from studying at NYU to joining one of the most epic film franchises in history? Keep an eye out for her full episode of Collider Ladies Night coming soon, just in time for the June 10th release of Jurassic World Dominion!