Zawe Ashton’s Villain Role in ‘The Marvels’ Has Been Revealed
The Marvels is set to premiere on July 28, 2023, as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 5. The sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel will see Brie Larson returning as Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel), with Teyonah Parris reprising her WandaVision role as Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani reprising her role as Kamala Khan after being introduced in the miniseries Ms. Marvel.
The Marvels is also going to be a continuation of Ms. Marvel, with Khan’s family—brother Amir (Saagar Shaikh), mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), and father Yusaf (Mohan Kapur)—all appearing in the film. Additionally, Samuel L. Jackson is returning as Nick Fury, and we have Zawe Ashton and Park Seo-joon as the two major new faces in the film.
Ashton and Park were initially cast in undisclosed roles in The Marvels, leading to much speculation. Both are high-profile actors, with Park having starred in Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, The Divine Fury, and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? Meanwhile, Ashton has starred in Greta, Mr. Malcolm’s List, and numerous theater projects. While Park’s role has not yet been officially confirmed, Disney did unveil Ashton’s villain character following the release of The Marvels‘ teaser trailer.
Which villain is Zawe Ashton playing in The Marvels?
Ashton has been officially confirmed to be portraying Dar-Benn in The Marvels. Dar-Benn is a Kree General who teamed up with Ael-Dan in the comic books to overthrow Clumsy Foulup and name himself emperor of the Kree Empire. Dar-Benn and Ael-Dan notably used a robotic replica of the Silver Surfer to kill Foulup. While Dar-Benn has been portrayed as male in comic books, The Marvels will introduce Ashton’s female iteration of the character. Aside from his bid for the Empire, Dar-Benn has a very limited comic book history, meaning that The Marvels can make the character into anything it wants.
In The Marvels‘ teaser trailer, Ashton’s Dar-Benn can be spotted surrounded by Kree soldiers and wielding a Cosmi-Rod—a Kree war hammer similar to the one Ronan (Lee Pace) wields in The Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel. Additionally, she wears a bangle on her wrist that is similar to the one Khan wears. No further details about her role have been confirmed, but she does appear to be the primary villain in the film.
Prior to the confirmation, Ashton was rumored to be portraying either Rogue or Ael-Dan. The Rogue rumor was mainly from fans who hoped that the X-Men mutant would maker her debut in the MCU since Marvel now owns the rights to the X-Men. Meanwhile, Rogue and Captain Marvel do have quite a tense history in the comics. At one point, Rogue, who can absorb and remove powers, actually took away Captain Marvel’s powers.
However, the rumors of Ashton playing Ael-Dan were incredibly close to her actual role. Ael-Dan and Dar-Benn are interconnected and share equally minor roles in the comics, providing a flexible premise for a villain. Her actual role will have a similar function, exploring the fallout from Captain Marvel interfering with the Kree’s war against the Skrulls. The return of the Kree under a new general, Dar-Benn, shows that they haven’t forgotten Captain Marvel.
While Captain Marvel has Ms. Marvel and Rambeau backing her, it’s unclear how they will hold up against Dar-Benn. The limited comic book history means we really don’t know how powerful this character could be.
(featured image: Marvel Studios)
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