What I Heard This Week: Zawe Ashton Is Kree in ‘The Marvels’

It’s been quite some time since we published a “What I Heard This Week” article at Murphy’s Multiverse. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, the information in these articles is typically unconfirmed by multiple sources and, as such, should be treated as a rumor. You’ll notice they’re not called scoops or exclusives. It’s information that came our way that we thought fans would like to hear and discuss. In the past the information has been correct (Peyton Reed directing The Mandalorian), shot down publicly (James Gunn developing Krypto) or might even remain unresolved (what type of contact did JGL have with Marvel Studios?). Logically, if it’s an unconfirmed rumor to me, it shouldn’t be a big deal to anyone else.

With all that said, the focus of this week’s WIHTW is the villain of The Marvels, set to be portrayed by Zawe Ashton. In the months since Ashton’s casting was made public, fan speculation about who she might be has run rampant. Is she Rogue?! Is she Moonstone?! As it turns out, she is neither of those characters and, if the information that’s come our way is correct, she’s playing a character most of us will have never heard of, though it is one that is unsurprisingly tied to the Kree empire.

The events of Captain Marvel took place in 1995 and the Kree Empire we see in The Marvels will have undergone some major changes. We know from Guardians of the Galaxy that the Supreme Intelligence was displaced in favor of an emperor. It’s also pretty clear from what’s already been circulated about the movie that the Kree have not forgotten about Carol.

And that’s where Ashton’s character comes into play. I heard that Ashton’s character, described by the trades as the villain ofThe Marvels, is loosely based on an incredibly minor Kree comic character named Ael-Dan, who has appeared and/or is referenced in a total of 3 comics. In those appearances, General Ael-Dan works in tandem with a General Dar-Benn to assassinate the sitting emperor and then take his place. Their great reign ended during Operation Galactic Storm when they were killed by Deathbird of the Shi’ar. Ashton’s character in The Marvels is a gender-swapped take on this character which means that for all intents and purposes, she’s playing an original character. I’ve heard the character described as both the Kree Emperor and a Kree general. In the comics, both are true and I can’t confirm if Ashton’s character will be one or the other or both in the film.

The meat of the story here isn’t the name of the character, but rather the fact that Carol will find herself at odds with the new Kree government 30 or so years after their last known run in and that at least one of the faces of that government is an ambitious and ruthless character played by Ashton. Marvel Studios has wanted to work with Ashton for some time, so while I can’t say if her character will make it out of this film or appear in other projects, her impact will be felt far more than the comic book counterpart on which the character is based. With so many major Kree characters from which to choose, it’s curious to see Marvel Studios chose such a minor one, though that’s not to say this is the only Kree character in the film.

It’ll be a long, long time before we see Ashton’s Kree as The Marvels isn’t set to debut until February 17, 2023.

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