Spoiler alert! This post contains minor reveals from the plot of "Captain Marvel."
For more than a decade, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury has easily been the coolest cat in the Marvel movies. That is, until a furry feline named Goose saunters onto the screen in “Captain Marvel.”
The newest superhero flick is a 1990s-set tale starring Brie Larson as the photon-blasting space warrior Carol Danvers, but the tail that reigns supreme is that of the orange tabby who befriends both Carol and Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as they become embroiled in the intergalactic Kree-Skrull War. Goose even goes to space with his new friends with some surprises in store for everyone involved – except for Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), who knows from the start to keep a safe distance from Goose at all times.
Goose is pretty much the coolest, weirdest supporting Marvel character since Rocket and Groot in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. And if you’ve fallen in love with her as much as Fury has, here are five fun facts about the fan-favorite kitty.
1. Like the movie's human heroine, Goose comes straight from the comic books.
She’s named Chewie in the pages of the “Captain Marvel” series (named for the “Star Wars” Wookiee co-pilot), while the movie uses Anthony Edwards’ “Top Gun” sidekick as inspiration. But a lot of the hidden abilities Goose unleashes later in the film mirror the comic character’s cosmic connections as an alien Flerken.
Before they had a script, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck had a room with a whiteboard where they wrote a wish list of everything from the comics that they wanted to see in the movie, including the cat. After figuring out Goose's role, Boden remembers giving an initial script outline to executive producer Kevin Feige “and him being like, ‘Yep, we're going to need about 200 percent more (Goose) in the story.’ And he was right. It was so fun to find all the ways that she could participate in the film.”
2. Goose was a viral superstar from the start.
The Internet loves cat videos, cat memes, cat everything, so it wasn’t a surprise that social media was an early adopter of all things Goose, from character posters to the #GoosetheCat emoji hashtag. (Or for the bilingual fanboys and girls, #GooseElGato.)
“With any movie that we've made, and obviously we've never made a Marvel movie, but you can't really guess how the audience is going to respond,” says Fleck, adding that they had “no idea” Goose would prove so popular. “Goose is a cute cat and people love cats, but it really does feel like it's taking on a whole new life at this point.”
3. She’s actually played by a real cat (who’s male).
Reggie is the 12-year-old feline “actor” who plays Goose through much of “Captain Marvel," cast in part because of how expressive his face is. In addition, Archie, Gonzo and Rizzo were a trio of "stunt" cats who would fill in for Reggie at times, like when he was tired, while a computer-generated Goose was used for some of the character’s more unnatural skills (such as tentacles that shoot out of the kitty's mouth and throttle bad guys.)
“We had enough cat experience to know that cats do not ever do what you want them to do,” Boden says. So while they came into the movie with "extraordinarily low expectations," Reggie exceeded them and more. "We found that at times he was more directable than some of the actors we've worked with,” Boden says.
4. But Reggie could make his co-star break out in hives.
One tricky situation the filmmakers had to deal with was Larson’s severe cat allergy. A stuffed cat stood in for Goose on occasions when Carol didn’t have to touch her fuzzy buddy, and they were careful if Larson did have to come in contact.
“It was like a full process of sanitizing my hands, not letting it touch the rest of my costume,” Larson says.
Her situation actually became a running joke on the set.
“It’s weird how you can train and get your body to do insane things but allergies are kind of a hard stop,” Larson says. “That’s where your body’s like, ‘That’s it.’”
5. Goose does bring out the best in Nick Fury, though.
Jackson’s secret agent is not exactly a lovable sort in most of the Marvel cinematic saga – he gets the job done bringing the Avengers together, yet is kind of a grump. But the younger Fury playfully cozies up to Goose and lets his guard down. (A scene in which Goose accidentally claws Fury in the face – and becomes the reason for his signature eye patch – ties into a line Fury utters in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”: “The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye.”)
"Nick Fury's been around all this time and he's kind of hard. He doesn't have like a gentle moment, generally,” Jackson says. “And all of the sudden Nick Fury's like Mr. Cat. The cat changes the whole game for everybody.”
Jackson admits he’s not a cat person – “or a dog person, or bird or fish” – but it was fun to give his longtime character “sort of a kryptonite that he hadn't had before."
Contributing: Andrea Mandell