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'Captain Marvel' and Nine Inch Nails Collaborate on T-shirt Release

March 19, 2019 | Brendan Menapace

Movie writers and directors are pretty good at injecting humanity into characters by allowing them to be fans of real-life pop culture. A lot of times they use music as ways to flesh out characters and make them more relatable, more human. It’s also a way to make the time period setting more authentic.

“Captain Marvel,” Disney’s latest Marvel Studios blockbuster, created its mid-90s vibe by dressing Brie Larson’s character in a Nine Inch Nails shirt for some scenes in the movie. To celebrate the film’s release, Marvel teamed up with NIN to create a commemorative shirt that’s available on the band’s site. NIN also reissued the white logo tee Larson wore in the film, according to Consequence of Sound.

It’s an interesting look into how T-shirts and apparel can set a scene so well, and make you believe you’re looking into a time period for real. Pop culture references and fashion are time capsules of sorts. “Captain Marvel” costume designer Sanja Mlkovic Hays did an interview with Popsugar about choosing NIN as the band the character Carol Danvers would rep in the movie the most.

“There was a lot of back and forth [about which band would go on her shirt], because we thought about the music, but we also had to look at the logos,” she said. “We looked at some logos of bands, and some of them are very busy and colorful and stuff like that, so even though their music could be appropriate for the character, it would be too distracting from her face. But Nine Inch Nails was kind of sweet and subtle. It’s there, but your eyes don’t keep going down, dragging your attention from her face.”

Nine Inch Nails fans are currently screaming at their laptops about the Trent Reznor project being called “sweet and subtle,” but her point is that they had to choose a logo that wouldn’t overwhelm the audience but still made them think, “Oh yeah, this is the ’90s. She’d probably be into Nine Inch Nails.”

It’s smart from Nine Inch Nails’ standpoint, too, since it sort of coincided with the 25th anniversary of “The Downward Spiral,” so it gives them an opportunity to refresh people’s memory on the project and maybe sell a few shirts in the process.

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