Marvel is lying about Jude Law's role in Captain Marvel, but why? At first, it looked like Law was going to be playing Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel with a direct tie to Carol Danvers' origin. This is how his casting was reported in the trades and has been discussed repeatedly since. However, very little concrete evidence backs up this suggestion. Officially, all that's been said is that Law is playing "Starforce Captain", the leader of the Kree squad Carol begins the movie a part of; Law's refused to confirm the character's name, while the trailers haven't hinted at any usual Mar-Vell qualities.
In the lack of any confirmation, fans have looked elsewhere. The most prominent theory is that Law is actually playing Yon-Rogg, a villainous Kree who showed down against Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers multiple times over the years; most recently, he was retconned to have an indirect role in Captain Marvel's origin and manipulated the new superhero by suppressing her memories. Aside from the obvious parallels with the Captain Marvel movie, there's been various merchandise snafus that further suggest Law's character really is Yon-Rogg.
Now Brie Larson has posted on Instagram hinting that the confusion really is intentional. All this secrecy would suggest that not only is Jude Law playing the villain of Captain Marvel, but it's intended to be a surprise - either in the film itself or part of the marketing. He could be playing a basic version of Yon-Rogg, a melding of him with Mar-Vell, or something more spiritually inspired by the character. The big question, though, is why the secrecy? Obviously it's a plot spoiler, yet that's something Marvel's chosen to add to the story. Indeed, it's evident from this discussion happening that the truth has been discovered, and it's not exactly well-hidden: all there really is is the original trade reports providing misinformation (something like likely led to the Disney website listing Law as Mar-Vell before it was changed).
It's hard to really crack the aim here. Yon-Rogg isn't an iconic character whose reveal will leave audiences stunned (and Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness or Blofeld in Spectre prove that's not a good move anyway), nor is Mar-Vell beloved enough to have the trick be fully believable. The plain truth is that Captain Marvel isn't as prevalent a hero as Spider-Man or Iron Man, and so playing with their ephemera won't register in the same way as Vulture being Liz's father in Spider-Man: Homecoming or the Mandarin being a plant in Iron Man 3. We've already seen this be a strange issue with the Captain Marvel trailers, which seem to act like altering Carol Danvers' lesser-known origin is a captivating point (when, in fact, most simply can't follow what's happened to her).
With that in mind, the Yon-Rogg trick may be a case of distraction. By getting the most obsessive fans distracted by figuring out who one of the top-billed actors is playing, Marvel essentially maintains the secrecy around the rest of the movie. We don't really know that much about Captain Marvel's plot, the Kree-Skrull conflict that powers it, how the MCU Carol Danvers' powers work, or any bigger connections to the wider shared universe; and the Law discussion practically enables that. It's similar to Kylo Ren's identity in Star Wars: The Force Awakens; that Adam Driver was playing Ben Solo remained a closely guarded secret despite it being "revealed" rather early on, something that moved pre-release fan speculation away from bigger events like him murdering his father.
Whatever the case, this is still an example of Marvel twisting the truth and outright lying to fans in the face of all logic in a bid to shock. Just last month, it was confirmed Avengers 4 was titled Endgame, despite directors the Russo brothers ruling it out, and the company's trick of editing trailers to suggest different things is notorious at this point. Normally, it's the benefit of the movie, but when it's so blatant and - at this point - low-impact, you have to wonder why they don't just lead with their evidently crowd-pleasing movies. Hopefully Captain Marvel delivers that regardless who Jude Law's really playing.
- 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