This week a purported leaked image of a Funko Pop! package seemed to reveal Jude Law's still officially unnamed Captain Marvel role as Yon-Rogg, a Kree soldier from comic books, rather than Mar-Vell, Carol Danvers' comic book mentor and the original Captain Marvel.
Though the official announcement of Funko's Captain Marvel line names the character as "Star Commander," (the box art has changed) we've got to assume that's not the character's actual name.
While Newsarama can’t verify a reputed image of a toy package as definitive news about a Marvel Studios film (though traditionally, these toy box-sourced things have been more right than wrong, and everything else in the image naming the character Yon-Rogg is apparently accurate), what we can say on November 30, 2018 is it would make a ton of sense if Jude Law is Yon-Rogg and not Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel as has been widely believed.
And here’s why…
For one, and this is just for accounting purposes, Marvel Studios has never actually confirmed Law is Mar-Vell. That bit of info began when Hollywood trades first reported Law's casting pre-Marvel confirmation.
There has always been some uncertainty surrounding not only Law’s character, but why Marvel Studios has not officially confirmed his role.
Secondly, and this is more of a personal take here at Newsarama, but having a character named Mar-Vell, somehow to become later known or and/or inspire Carol to become known as Captain Marvel, is a little precious for a mainstream film. The conceit was fine in the late 1960s but would feel a little clunky in a 2019 major motion picture.
Carol Danvers’ original heroic origin ties her directly and necessarily to Mar-Vell - a strong female character who nevertheless began superhero life as a knock-off of a male hero, from being gifted his powers by accident ... to a more revealing homage to his costume ... to his name … sort of. (Don’t even get us started on “Ms.” versus “Captain” - an issue Marvel Comics sort of rectified in the 1980s with Monica Rambeau but finally got around to rectifying for Carol just a few years ago.)
But hey, it was the 1970s. She had feathered hair too.
The good news is, this year, Marvel Comics updated her origin slightly, retconning her story so that she’s half-Kree on her mother’s side, with the accident that was once said to implant her with Mar-Vell’s Kree DNA now simply activating the power inherent in her Kree/Human hybrid DNA. She's no longer a junior, second generation version of Mar-Vell.
And the better news is, Marvel Studios is in no way bound to either origin at all, and Friday morning’s apparent leaks sort of shined the light on this dynamic. It appears they may take the most compelling bits of Mar-Vell’s already obscure origin and graft them into Carol’s story – an origin most audiences will be learning for the first time on the big screen anyway.
After all, it’s Carol Danvers that’s made “Captain Marvel” something of household name – and most casual fans likely don’t realize she was a legacy character anyway.
And in that way, the idea that Jude Law would play Yon-Rogg, a treacherous Kree Commander, makes perfect sense - if that's his true Captain Marvel role.
Originally in the comic books, it’s Yon-Rogg that maroons Mar-Vell on Earth, leading him to meet Carol Danvers and become a superhero in the first place. Yon-Rogg was also Mar-Vell’s primary nemesis for years – eventually attempting to betray the Kree as part of a plot by Ronan to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence.
It’s that rebellion that led Mar-Vell to get his red and blue costume, and eventually led to the circumstances under which Carol got her powers in her origin story, caught in the blast of a Kree weapon called the Psyche-Magnetron that, until that previously mentioned recent retcon, bonded Carol’s DNA with that of Mar-Vell – and forged an unbreakable psychic bond between Carol and Yon-Rogg.
Added aside: at some point between Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy in the MCU timeline, Ronan leaves the Kree empire and becomes and extremist. It would make sense to see that turn in Captain Marvel - especially if Yon-Rogg, described by Law as a "devout" Kree warrior, goes along with him, potentially betraying Carol in the process.
So doesn’t it make sense for Marvel Studios to simply skip the middleman, focus on Carol’s role as both an Earthling and a Kree warrior, and slide her seamlessly into the partnership and eventually rivalry with Yon-Rogg?
And not for nothing, but the Captain Marvel trailer vaguely hints at something of a villain turn or at least conflict with Carol for Jude Law's character.
Most importantly, however, removing Mar-Vell from the equation simply makes Carol a stronger character.
Depicting Carol/Captain Marvel as a legacy hero, an homage or honorarium to some degree to the first, original male hero, is probably not the direction Marvel Studios needs to go.
While the Wasp got Marvel’s first female co-billing (following the debut of the male Ant-Man), Carol/Captain Marvel/Brie Larson is something of a cultural milestone for the most successful maker of comic book movies ever.
She is Marvel’s first solo female hero to anchor her own film and that’s as much of a reason the film even exists as any. There is every good reason for Larson’s Marvel to be the first and only MCU “Captain Marvel,” in no way following in the footsteps of another, male hero.
If the reputed toy packaging is accurate, Marvel may have gotten this one right.
Captain Marvel is scheduled to open in theaters March 8, 2019.