This is who Zawe Ashton is playing in The Marvels

Zawe Ashton in The Marvels
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Update: Disney has since revealed that Ashton will, in fact, be playing Dar-Benn. Introduced in 1991's Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #53, Dar-Benn was a general who seized control of the Kree Empire and ruled for a time as joint Emperor with Ael-Dan. A relatively obscure comics character, it's entirely possible that Ashton's character will have a different story or perhaps be a composite of both Dar-Benn and Ael-Dan.

Original story: The first trailer for The Marvels, which brings together Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan, and Monica Rambeau as a cosmic team with interconnected abilities, also shows off an all too brief glimpse at Zawe Ashton's character in the film.

Though it's just a blink-and-you'll-miss-it look, Ashton's character is seemingly revealed as a Kree Accuser, the same role held by Ronan, the villain of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy film. Ashton is seen wielding the same Kree 'Universal Weapon' wielded by Ronan both in film and in comics, apparently indicating she'll occupy that role in The Marvels.

Ashton's character has yet to be officially identified, but the clue that she's likely a Kree Accuser could point to her identity as Lauri-Ell, a Kree Accuser in Marvel Comics who is also a recurring Captain Marvel supporting character.

In comics, Carol Danvers is part Kree by birth, with a secret history that ties her origins directly into the Kree empire. In recent years, Carol's Kree connection has become far more prevalent in her story, with Carol herself becoming far more involved in Kree politics now that the hero Hulkling (himself half-Kree/half-Skrull) has become the regent of the combined Kree and Skrull empires.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Interestingly enough, Lauri-Ell's backstory ties in directly to Carol's history. In comics, Lauri-Ell is a genetically engineered super-soldier whose DNA comes from Mari-Ell, Carol Danvers' Kree birth mother - meaning that Lauri-Ell is technically Carol's half-sister.

Lauri-Ell first appeared in 2020's Captain Marvel #10 by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Cory Smith in a story tying into the crossover Empyre, which established the combined Kree/Skrull empire.

In that story, Carol meets Lauri-Ell while serving as an Accuser herself, eventually coming to learn Lauri-Ell's backstory and parentage as Carol's half-sister. Eventually, after allying with Lauri-Ell for some time, Carol abdicated the position of Kree Accuser, with Lauri-Ell stepping into the position herself, directly under Emperor Hulkling's command.

Since then, Lauri-Ell has been a regular fixture as a Captain Marvel supporting character, though they've never really had any beef as antagonists.

That said, Marvel Studios is no stranger to twisting the origins and story of comic book characters, so there's every likelihood that if Zawe Ashton is indeed playing Lauri-Ell, she won't be as warm and fuzzy with Carol as the pair are in comics. But maybe she'll come around by the movie's end.

There's also the chance she's playing someone entirely different - Ashton's role remains totally unconfirmed by Marvel. But the possibility that she's playing Carol Danvers' Kree half-sister certainly adds some potential heat to the plot of The Marvels.

Kelly Thompson's Captain Marvel run is about to come to its end.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)