Unlike, say, Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, who was transformed into his younger self for scenes as the youthful god Ego with the help of a body double, Jackson required no such thing. Getting rid of a couple wrinkles was, apparently, no big deal.
"The traditional way of doing this process is you have to have a younger double, basically in every setup, who basically performs the scene after the actor, and then you kind of take pieces of their face and put it on the actor," Captain Marvel co-director Ryan Fleck told Fandango. "Fortunately, we did tests and prep, and we realized we didn't have to do that with Sam, because he looked so good already." According to Anna Boden, the film's other director, technicians from Industrial Light & Magic, the effects company largely responsible for these types of jobs, were "hand painting" each shot of Jackson in order to strip away the years. Jackson himself told Yahoo! Entertainment that he believes the artists used his face from 1998's The Negotiator as a model.
Perhaps the reason why this technique works so well in Captain Marvel is that the image of Jackson in the public consciousness has remained largely the same since he became a movie star in the late '80s and early '90s, when he was already a middle-aged man. More than 20 years later, it still feels like he could play Pulp Fiction's Jules Winnifield with the same menace and verve he did in 1994. When you think hard about it, the fact that we're seeing a younger Jackson on screen is incredibly disconcerting, but it doesn't necessarily feel all that unfamiliar. In this year's Glass, Jackson reprised his role as mastermind villain Elijah Price from 2000's Unbreakable. With zero digital tinkering, he played Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass, at 57 -- 13 years younger than he actually is. In fact, his makeup made him look older than he appears in real life. (It also raises the question as to why Marvel hasn't tried this with its other star who somehow has defied the normal toll of the years: Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd.)