It isn’t very often 8 DAYS get to spend Valentine’s Day with superheroes. But this year, we got to do just that — with the cast of Captain Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first solo female-led adventure, at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

In the movie, Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who acquires superpowers after a workplace accident exposes her to alien DNA. As Captain Marvel, she then joins Starforce, an intergalactic police unit.

To play the titular character, said to be the powerful superhero in the MCU, Larson, 29, spent nine months working out. Larson was on the panel with co-stars Samuel L Jackson and Gemma Chan, and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Larson, who won the Best Actress Oscar for the abduction drama Room, added that she also spent as much time on “the smaller character moments, the moments between the big sequences” that grounded the sci-fi premise in reality.

And among those moments are her interactions with a younger SHIELD agent Nick Fury, again played by Jackson, who underwent extensive de-ageing in the movie set in the mid-1990s.

“[I played young Nick Fury] the same way I played old Nick Fury,” said Jackson, 70. “It’s interesting being that guy having two eyes and a lot less instinct than old Nick Fury has.” Young Nick also has zero experience with ETs. “She’s my first alien,” said Jackson, gesturing at Larson.

Elsewhere, Chan, 36, who plays Starforce sniper Minn-Erva, was thrilled to be part of the MCU. “It’s the coolest club in town,” said the Crazy Rich Asians star. Minn-Erva is unlike any other role she’d played before. “She’s pretty badass — she’s not so nice, she’s got a bit of an edge.”

Not only is Captain Marvel the MCU’s first standalone female entry, but it’s also the first MCU movie to be made by a female director, Anna Boden. Boden and co-helmer Ryan Fleck are best known for the 2006 drama Half Nelson, which earned Ryan Gosling a Best Actor Oscar nomination as a junkie high school teacher.

“[Captain Marvel] is a movie I really wanted to be part of, so having that experience has really been amazing and to be able to work on this canvas with a character so many people care about,” said Boden. “But it’s 2019, everybody looks forward to the day when it’s not newsworthy that a woman is directing this kind of movie.” 

Even though everyone on the panel was tightlipped about plot details, Fleck reassured fans that Captain Marvel, “like other Marvel movies, it’s going to have awesome action. We have action in space, action in alien planets; here on Earth, we have action in the mountains, deserts, in city trains. We got the action but also, I think what people might not be expecting is, what Brie has alluded, the emotional journey they are going to go on with Carol Danvers.”

And what about Thanos? One journo asked during the Q&A session. How does Captain Marvel defeat the Mad Titan with gem-studded gauntlet? “That is a really great question,” said Larson, “… that I absolutely cannot answer. But power to you for asking.”

Captain Marvel opens March 7, while Avengers: Endgame is out Apr 24.

Photos/Video: Kelvin Chia