Zawe Ashton's MCU Role Could Solve a Major Marvel Mystery

Somehow, the Kree returned.

Zawe Ashton in The Marvels
Marvel Studios

It’s been touch and go for the Marvel Cinematic Universe lately, but The Marvels will hopefully take the MCU higher, further, and faster than Phase 4 was able to. The film’s first teaser finally delivers on the long-awaited team-up between Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, and Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his role as Nick Fury, which may inadvertently answer some questions about the upcoming Secret Invasion series. That said, Marvel remains strategic about what they choose to show fans, and what they leave to speculation.

There’s still very little known about the main antagonist of The Marvels, other than the fact that they’ll be played by Zawe Ashton. The teaser is still playing coy with Ashton’s role, but even her brief appearance makes it clear the Kree will once again threaten the universe.

The Kree Empire has played a minor role in the cosmic side of the MCU for some time. They first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, though Kree governance took a backseat to Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and his pursuit of the Power Stone. Captain Marvel fleshed out the world of the Kree and their blood feud with the Skrulls, and that’s clearly set to continue in The Marvels. Ashton’s yet-unnamed character seems to be their new leader: she’s seen with a hammer similar to the one Ronan, so perhaps she’ll be playing another Accuser.

In the comics, the Accuser Corps serve as enforcers for the Kree Empire. Ronan was one of many, so it will be interesting to see if more pop up in the MCU. Ashton’s character is seen commanding a group of Kree, some of whom are decked out in Accuser armor, so she might have more power than the last Kree villain. Various leaks have suggested that Ashton will play a character with roots in the comics, a Kree general called Ael-Dan.

General Ael-Dan first appeared in Silver Surfer #53 in 1991. He and another Kree, Dar-Benn, overthrew the Kree Emperor Clumsy Foulup (yes, really) and ruled jointly for a brief time. According to Murphy’s Multiverse, Ashton will portray a loose variation of the character. Other sources claim Ashton will actually play Dar-Benn, but since both he and Ael-Dan were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, Ashton may play a composite and gender-swapped version of both characters. The Marvels is already expanding Kree lore in a fresh direction: Ashton’s character sports a bangle similar to Kamala Khan’s, doubling down on a connection between the Kree and Ms. Marvel’s ClanDestines.

Ms. Marvel introduced a connection to the Kree that The Marvels might explore further.

Marvel Studios

Naturally, leaks aren’t gospel, but given the authority Ashton carries in The Marvels — and Captain Marvel’s own grievances with the Kree — the rumors make sense. Either way, Ashton is an exciting addition to the MCU. She’s been a scene-stealer in recent films like Velvet Buzzsaw and Mr. Malcolm’s List, and she’ll undoubtedly be able to hold her own in the MCU.

The Marvels hits theaters on November 10, 2023.

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