Korath (Djimon Hounsou), Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Bron-Char (Rune Temte) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) in Captain Marvel (Disney)
“The secrecy is a bit stressful,” Gemma Chan, who plays alien Kree sniper (and Carol’s teammate-turned foe) Minn-Erva told RadioTimes.com.
“Even now! Even just saying a character name would give something away, if you’ve seen the film, in our scripts.
“We’d get daily reminders, e-mails going, ‘Do not mention this character’s name’, but then that’s the only thing you’ve got in your head. So the whole interview you’re thinking ‘I can’t mention the name!”
Specifically, Chan revealed, the character name the cast were forbidden from saying was that of actor Jude Law, who begins the film as Carol’s mentor but is later revealed to be a villainous figure with an agenda all of his own.
Initial casting reports had suggested that Law was playing Kree hero Mar-Vell, who in the comics is the original ‘Captain Marvel’ long before Carol picks it up (Mar-Vell also has a connection to her superhero origin, as part of the accident that gives Carol her powers).
In later promotional materials, Law’s character was credited as “Leader of Starforce.”
However, in the film it’s revealed that Annette Bening’s character is the real Mar-Vell, a gender change for the character presented alongside a very similar origin story (like the comics, Mar-Vell indirectly causes Carol to get her powers when a Kree device explodes).
Jude Law and Rune Temte in Captain Marvel (Disney)
Law, meanwhile, is playing Yon-Rogg, another Kree who in the comics is a longtime foe of Carol Danvers – in the film, he turns out to have abducted and brainwashed her.
According to Chan, the filmmakers may have intentionally leaked out some false information to keep both Law and Bening’s true identities secret.
“That was the idea, that they wanted it to be… I’m probably saying too much,” Chan told RadioTimes.com.
“They wanted to surprise and for there to be a little bit of a twist in it.”
In the end, the surprise of Bening’s true identity (assuming you weren’t spoiled already) is well worth a bit of subterfuge – and Chan was also a fan of Captain Marvel’s other big twist on Marvel canon, when shapeshifting aliens the Skrulls were revealed to be refugees and victims of Kree aggression, not the galaxy-conquering baddies they’re presented as in the comics.
“I really enjoyed that,” Chan said. “I’d kind of forgotten that was a theme of the movie until I watched it back.
Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and an underling in Captain Marvel (Disney)
“It’s not heavy-handed and you’re not being hit over the head with it, but themes of division and conflict and war and refugees, I think there’s definitely stuff going on there that feels very relevant to our times.
“You know, the dangers of tribalistic thinking, which does seem really relevant to now. People rarely feel that they are the bad guys,” she added.
“Everyone believes that they are doing something just, and that’s why it can be so dangerous not to ever see things from another point of view.”
By the end of the film the Skrulls find a new life, and Law’s Yon-Rogg returns to the Kree homeworld with his tail between his legs, haunted by a promise from Carol to come back and finally sort out the warlike species once and for all.
In other words, we probably haven’t seen the last of Yon-Rogg – though next time, we’ll definitely see him coming.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news