How Jude Law Can Be Both Mar-Vell & Yon-Rogg
The Marvel Legends description suggests that Marvel has transformed Law's character by blending Yon-Rogg with some aspects of Mar-Vell himself. Like the comic book version of Yon-Rogg, he's a Kree leader; in this case, though, he commands the Kree's elite Starforce unit. Again, like the Yon-Rogg of the comics, he appears to be extremely manipulative; as mentioned, Kelly Sue DeConnick had one plot in which Yon-Rogg's bond with Carol Danvers left her amnesiac. Given the trailers have also confirmed Captain Marvel has lost her memory, and believes herself to be a Kree agent, it seems reasonable to assume he's done something similar in the film.
But there also seem to be clear differences between Captain Marvel's Yon-Rogg and the comics, which suggest Marvel has simplified him by incorporating a few elements from Mar-Vell. Like Mar-Vell, this character has been described as a Kree hero, trusted and respected, and working on behalf of the Supreme Intelligence. So far, nothing suggests that Yon-Rogg has an agenda that's at all divorced from his own commanders', far less that he could be committing treason by conspiring to undermine them. What's more, the mentor-student relationship he's built with Carol Danvers appears to be classic Mar-Vell, a close bond born of facing enemy fire side-by-side. Although it's not been explicitly stated, there's even a possibility that Yon-Rogg and Captain Marvel could be lovers in the film - and in the comics, Carol Danvers was originally Mar-Vell's love interest.
What This Means For Carol Danvers
This merging may seem to simplify Yon-Rogg's character, but it gives his role in Captain Marvel a whole new degree of complexity. He can be both Carol Danvers' creator and her abuser, her mentor and her manipulator. He'll presumably be introduced as an ally, a field commander who leads Starforce in battle against the Skrulls and may even be in a relationship with the hero. This transforms Yon-Rogg into a powerful, predatory force, and sets up a heartbreaking betrayal for Captain Marvel. As the #MeToo movement has highlighted, all too often the greatest abusers are people who seem otherwise honorable, men who are in a position of authority and trust and yet use that power against women. One line in the trailers is a classic abuser, as Yon-Rogg tells Carol she isn't as powerful as she thinks she is - an attempt to disempower the woman, and allow the abuser to remain in the position of authority.
Of course, this has a massive impact on Carol Danvers' portrayal in the MCU. Captain Marvel's origin becomes a tale of abuse, with the titular hero ultimately recognizing - and overcoming - her abusers. There's a sense in which the hero almost becomes a personification of the #MeToo movement, a celebration of female empowerment in the face of a world - indeed, in the MCU a universe - filled with such abuse. No doubt that's just the kind of character Brie Larson would be thrilled to play, and Marvel would be making a very bold decision indeed by focusing in on Captain Marvel as one of their front-line heroes when the dust has settled from Avengers: Endgame.
There is actually a strong comic book precedent for this kind of story involving Carol Danvers; in the comics, Carol grew up a victim of an abusive father, and her mother only stayed with the family in order to support her children. In one (very wrong-headed) Avengers plot, Carol was manipulated by a cosmic force into becoming its lover. The Avengers, shockingly, celebrated this as though it was a stable relationship, and allowed Carol to depart into the depths of space with a sinister being. When Carol eventually returned to Earth, she initially wanted nothing to do with the Avengers, and finally called them out on their actions.
If this theory is correct, then by blending Mar-Vell and Yon-Rogg, Marvel Studios has created a villain for our time; a strong, powerful man who takes advantage of a vulnerable woman, manipulating her so she does his will. In overcoming Yon-Rogg, Captain Marvel becomes a hero for our time as well, a champion of female empowerment who is on the front line of the fight against abuse.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019