Captain Marvel features a whole host of new and returning villains. Set in 1995, the debut for Carol Danvers is essentially a prequel to the cosmic side of the MCU; it tells a never-before-seen adventure of the young Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, as the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents find themselves on the front line of a galactic war that's found its way to Earth.
The story of that galactic conflict in Captain Marvel is inspired by a classic comic book arc known as the Kree-Skrull War, written by Roy Thomas back in the 1970s. Widely considered to be a highlight of Marvel's entire comic book history, the story of the Kree-Skrull War saw Earth caught up in the battle between two alien empires. Neither the Kree nor the Skrull were heroes; Thomas envisioned both as "rapacious, galaxy-spanning races... at war in the far reaches of space." He saw Earth as "the cosmic equivalent of some Pacific island during World War II," with the Avengers desperately attempting to contain the chaos.
But that's the comics - who are the villains of the Captain Marvel movie? That's where it gets complicated. Here's our breakdown of the MCU's Kree and Skrulls, and who the real villains of Captain Marvel are.
Last updated: March 7, 2019
- This Page: The Skrulls Are The Villains of Captain Marvel... At First
- Page 2: The Kree, Supreme Intelligence, Yon-Rogg, And Starforce Are Captain Marvel's Real Villains
The Skrulls Are Captain Marvel's Main Villains
First confirmed at SDCC 2017, the Skrulls were initially presented as the villains of the Captain Marvel movie. In the comics, the Skrulls are shapeshifters who use their abilities to infiltrate a world's government and defenses, and bring it down from the inside; they're most famous for a 2008 plot called "Secret Invasion," where they came within a hair's breadth of conquering the Earth after they even managed to infiltrate the Avengers.
In the MCU, the Skrulls are locked in a war with the Kree when Captain Marvel begins, but are also enacting a plot to invade Earth. The movie will reportedly begin with the Kree Starforce engaging Skrulls while on a mission to the planet Torfa, which leads Carol Danvers to her home planet of Earth to investigate their new plot.
However, it's revealed that far from being a malicious race, Skrulls are endangered refugees on the run. They only "take over" planets to evade the Kree are hunting them; the real mission being to find the Tesseract that Mar-Vell hid on Earth and, hopefully, build a lightspeed engine to escape their pursuers once and for all.
Talos Is The Skrull Leader (And Nick Fury's Boss)
The leader of the Skrull forces is Talos, a master-spy with his own inscrutable purposes. Played by Ben Mendelsohn, Talos starts Captain Marvel by kidnapping Vers, and later infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D. by taking on the form of Nick Fury's boss. However, this is all in aid of finding the Tesseract and saving his people - and family.
While the character is lifted straight from the comics, he has been heavily adapted; the comic book version of Talos was a Skrull who was born without the ability to shapeshift and who became even more ruthless in his efforts to prove his worth to his people as a result. Nicknamed "Talos the Untamed," he lost his reputation after he was captured by the Kree during the Kree-Skrull War, and was unwilling to commit ritual suicide rather than evade capture.
Page 2 of 2: The Kree, Supreme Intelligence, Yon-Rogg, And Starforce Are Captain Marvel's Real Villains
The Kree Are Captain Marvel's Real Villains
On the other side of the war is the Kree, who are Captain Marvel's real villains. One of the most important galactic powers, the war-based culture have a bloody history of violence; they've long been at war on at least two fronts, battling against both the Skrulls and the Xandarians.
These aliens already have a strong presence in the MCU on both the large and small-screen; Kree attempts to create powerful superhuman weapons led to the creation of the Inhumans, a major plot point in both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Inhumans (during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, Coulson and his team even discovered an ancient Kree city on Earth; the film has used the same architectural style, a nice continuity detail). The Kree played a major role in Guardians of the Galaxy, set almost a decade after the events of Captain Marvel, when they finally negotiated a peace treaty with the Xandarians after a thousand years of war.
In Captain Marvel, we see a lot more of their culture and it's clear they're no different to those bad eggs. The Kree want to wipe out the Skrulls and get the Tesseract so they can develop their own weapons. This puts them directly in Carol Danvers' path, however.
The Supreme Intelligence Is The Kree Leader
In the comics, the Supreme Intelligence is the leader of the Kree race. When any major Kree leader or scientist is on the verge of death, their mental patterns are uploaded into a sophisticated computer repository; they become part of the Supreme Intelligence, which is a composite artificial intelligence created out of all these different minds. The Supreme Intelligence of the most ruthless and dangerous forces in the universe; when it discovered that the Kree had stopped evolving, and thus would inevitably die out, it triggered a galactic war in order to kick-start Kree evolution again.
The Supreme Intelligence appears in Captain Marvel in a manner very similar to the comics, with each Kree seeing it take a form that's specific and personal to them (Vers sees Mar-Vell, played byAnnette Bening). The Intelligence later attempts to pacify Captain Marvel after she's turned against the Kree for the Skrulls, but is beaten back my Carol Danvers' immense powers. She although precious little has been revealed about its role. A number of shots from the trailers appear to show its chamber, and it may be that Annette Bening's character is the Intelligence in physical form.
Jude Law Is Likely Playing Kree Villain Yon-Rogg
It was initially reported that Jude Law would be playing the part of Mar-Vell, but he's really playing the villainous Yon-Rogg. In the comics, Yon-Rogg is one of the most dangerous Kree villains of all, and played a major part in Carol Danvers' superhero origin story; the imperialist alien attempted to use an experimental Kree device known as the Psyche-Magnetron, and Carol was caught up in the explosion when it malfunctioned. Yon-Rogg was recently brought back by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose Captain Marvel revival has had a major impact on the film. DeConnick revealed that Yon-Rogg's mind was psychically connected to Carol Danvers', and part of this story even saw Captain Marvel suffer from amnesia as a result of his impact.
For much of Captain Marvel, Jude Law's character is unnamed, but it's eventually revealed he is indeed Yon-Rogg. A religious fanatic who devoutly follows the Supreme Intelligence, he manipulates Vers to take advantage of her power to aid the Kree cause against the Skrulls. His mission in the movie itself is to reclaim the Tesseract from Earth to aid in the war effort.
Guardians of the Galaxy Villain Ronan the Accuser Is In Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel also features Ronan the Accuser, the Kree extremist. Lee Pace returns as the Guardians of the Galaxy villain who was effectively overshadowed by the film's ensemble (a problem that even director James Gunn has highlighted in the past); Pace's performance was all-in - his promise to "unfurl one thousand years of Kree justice on Xandar" made even Thanos take notice, and had his motives been given more breathing room and not suffocated under other plot threads, he could have left a real impact.
Ronan doesn't get much more to do in Captain Marvel, with him essentially the hammer of the Kree war machine, but it does show him as a more accepted cog within that, albeit with hints of the dark, fanaticism to come. This may be viewed by some as a missed opportunity considering that, in the comics, Ronan actually conspired with the Skrull agent Talos to reignite the war between the two races and overthrow the Supreme Intelligence.
The Kree Starforce Are Villains Too
With the exception of Captain Marvel herself, every single member of the Kree Starforce is a classic Marvel villain. While they start off as allies, they follow the Supreme Intelligence and Yon-Rogg in their crusade against Vers. Their numbers include:
- Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) is the only member of the Starforce team confirmed to make it out of Captain Marvel alive; he's destined to stay loyal to Ronan, appears in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) is probably the most well-known of the Kree Starforce among comic book readers - which, granted, isn't saying much. A Kree geneticist with no qualms about experimenting on "lesser races," she's usually portrayed as possessing basic energy manipulation powers similar to Captain Marvel's own.
- Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto) is a ruthless and physically powerful Kree villain. In the comics, Att-Lass is one of the few Kree warriors to briefly wield Mar-Vell's Nega-Bands, powerful gauntlets that tap into interdimensional energy. He became disillusioned with the Supreme Intelligence, and even led an attempted invasion of Earth.
- Bron-Char (Rune Temte) is a little-known villain from the 1998 "Live Kree or Die" event, and has the curious distinction of being one of the few people to successfully destroy one of Captain America's shields; Cap had lost his traditional shield a while ago, and was using a replica from the Smithsonian Institution. It couldn't stand up to a Kree onslaught.