Jude Law’s role in Captain Marvel has been a hotly contested issue since he was confirmed for the film, originally as “Walter Lawson,” the human alter-ego of the original Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior Mar-Vell which naturally led fans to assume that Law would be playing Mar-Vell himself. This would go to follow, given the movie’s status as an origin story for Carol Danvers and Mar-Vell’s integral role in Carol’s comic book history.
However, as the movie marches closer and closer to release, details about Law’s character have surfaced via Marvel’s Minimates figure line, naming Law as Yon-Rogg–another name that might be familiar to MCU speculators as one of the educated guesses for the villain of the film, prior to Ben Mendelsohn’s confirmation as Talos the Skrull.
So, what does that actually mean? Who is Yon-Rogg and what is his deal?
We’re so glad you asked.
Introduced in the late 60s, Yon-Rogg was a Kree military officer sent to Earth by the Supreme Intelligence, a hyper-advanced Kree AI designed to promote Kree genetic superiority throughout the galaxy. Yon-Rogg had a deep-seated, soap opera flavored grudge against Mar-Vell, who was already stationed on Earth at the time of his arrival, which drove him further and further into a zealous madness. Ideally, he would have been helping Mar-Vell fight off the Skrull invasion, but instead, he sought out every opportunity to undermine Mar-Vell’s efforts and fight against the people of Earth as well.
Why the grudge? Well, like any self-respecting warrior, Yon-Rogg was jealous over the relationship between Mar-Vell and a Kree medic named Una, who Yon-Rogg was in love with as well. Thus far, no casting announcements for Una have been made for the MCU (though it should be noted that Annette Bening’s character is still a mystery), so it’s not all that likely that this specific character trait will be getting a direct translation to the big screen, but if you’re wondering what Yon’s “traditional” villain motivation is, that’s it. He really is just that petty. So while comics Yon-Rogg tried to sabotage an entire planet all because he couldn’t get a date, MCU Yon-Rogg will probably find his beef elsewhere.
Yon’s hatred ran so deep that he even tried to get Mar-Vell put on trial for being “Un-Kree” (one of the worst things a Kree could be accused of) by Ronan the Accuser–a name you’ll recognize from Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1 and a role Lee Pace will be reprising in Captain Marvel.
Over the years, Yon continued to be a thorn in the side of both Mar-Vell and Carol, who he inadvertently helped transform into Ms. Marvel by causing the accident that fused her DNA with Kree genetics. Though that story has been retconned out of comics continuity several times over, it still presents some interesting possibilities for Yon-Rogg’s MCU future. Most notably, he actually was revealed to have a telepathic connection with Carol because of the accident, which later results in Carol attacking Yon at the cost of all her memories.
This is specifically important, given Carol’s apparent status as an amnesiac in the movie, and her seemingly close relationship with Yon and the Starforce. Maybe Yon himself was somehow at fault for the Kree selected Carol in the first place and maybe that decision somehow affected her ability to remember her time as a human. Or, at the very least, maybe it was Yon’s decision to erase Carol’s memory.
Regardless of the link between them, it’s pretty safe to say that, given Yon’s rather dubious comic book past, it’s probably not the best idea to go into Captain Marvel trusting him all that much. We may only be able to make educated guesses about what his motives and plan might be, but it’s probably not good.