The original Captain Marvel movie from 2019 was the first MCU movie with a female superhero as its lead, and it introduced the titular heroine to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ahead of her appearance in Avengers: Endgame. Despite mixed reviews from critics, particularly the audience, Captain Marvel grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. Of course, Marvel Studios immediately started developing a sequel, initially announced as Captain Marvel 2 and later renamed to The Marvels, a superhero team-up movie in which Carol Danvers will join forces with Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan against a new villain played by Zawe Ashton. So, let’s talk about who Ashton will play in The Marvels.
Zawe Ashton plays a gender-swapped version of Dar-Benn, the main villain in the upcoming The Marvels movie. General Dar-Benn first appeared in 1991 in Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #53. He was depicted as a Kree general who got tired of Clumsy Foulup’s rule, so he planned to assassinate him with the help of Ael-Dan and several other Kree soldiers. Zawe Ashton’s incarnation of the character is depicted as one of the Accusers, who are part of the military force that serves the Kree Empire in the Kree-Skrull War.
Although the Skrulls and their leader Talos were introduced as the villains, the original Captain Marvel movie, which was released in 2019 but took place in 1995, ended up with several villains. Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg, Annette Bening’s Supreme Intelligence, several Kree soldiers under Yon-Rogg’s command, and Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, who eventually was defeated by the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. From what we know about Dar-Benn so far, it seems that Zawe Ashton’s villain will have more connections to these previous villains than we realize, and we’ll explain why in the following paragraphs.
What is Dar-Benn’s story in The Marvels? And how could it be connected to the original Captain Marvel movie?
The original Captain Marvel movie received a mixed reception from the fans, and one of the problems that this movie had was that it was very forgettable villains. Despite having very big acting names like Annette Bening and Jude Law, the movie’s script made the villains pretty forgettable. The twist didn’t surprise anyone since we knew that the Kree had been bad guys since the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Not to mention that the movie brought back Ronan the Accuser, whose role in the movie was to show up and then just run away after he witnessed Captain Marvel’s power.
Now, the sequel will get another chance with Zawe Ashton (who is engaged to Loki actor Tom Hiddleston in real life, just quick FYI) to introduce the next villain and the next Accuser. The movie’s trailer didn’t reveal much about her story and motivations, but we can bet it’ll have something to do with the Kree’s quarrel against Captain Marvel after the first movie’s events. In the source material, Dar-Benn appeared in only two comic book issues that Marvel Comics published. Therefore, his original story is pretty limited, and the movie will need to expand the villain’s arc with original content to adapt the villain to the movie’s narrative.
Dar-Benn by Ron Marz and Ron Lim, and the character first appeared on the comic book pages in Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #53 in August 1991. Dar-Benn was a Kree general who wanted to assassinate Clumsy Foulup to rule in his place with the help of Ael-Dan and several other Kree soldiers. They created a robotic Silver Surfer, killed Clumsy Foulup, and framed the Skrulls for his death. After that, Dar-Benn appeared for the second time in Avengers #345 in January 1992. He and Ael-Dan became joint emperors of the Kree Empire. But eventually, both of them were killed by Cal’syee Neramani, aka Deathbird. Following their deaths, their minds were absorbed into the Supreme Intelligence.
The history of Dar-Benn isn’t so rich, but the source material undoubtedly depicts connections that make sense for Dar-Benn to be the next nemesis for Captain Marvel. Of course, considering that the character was first introduced in the Silver Surfer comic book, and Silver Surfer is still very far from his own introduction in the MCU, the screenwriters definitely had some freedom to write a character partially based on the source material and partially based on original content.
After debuting in her original movie and reprising her role in Avengers: Endgame, Brie Larson had two cameo appearances in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the Ms. Marvel series. Now she’ll return for her own sequel and be accompanied by Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, who debuted in the franchise in the WandaVision series, and Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, who debuted in the franchise in her own Ms. Marvel series on Disney+. Samuel L. Jackson also reprises the role of Nick Fury.
Directed by Nia DaCosta, The Marvels movie is set to be released on November 10, 2023.