Is this Kree soldier friend or foe?
Note: With Captain Marvel hitting theaters this weekend, we figured it was time to freshen up on the history of Yon-Rogg once more. This story has been updated accordingly but is SPOILER-FREE for the movie. Still, for anyone who wants to avoid potential spoilers and speculation based on the comics stories, stand warned!
While Marvel fans have known that Jude Law has a prominent role in the Captain Marvel movie, it’s only recently that we’ve learned which character Law is actually playing. Contrary to popular belief, the actor isn’t co-starring as Carol Danvers’ heroic mentor Mar-Vell. Instead, he’s playing a villain from the comics named Yon-Rogg.
But who is Yon-Rogg, and what is his connection to Captain Marvel? And will Law’s version of him also be a villain? Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about this cosmic Marvel character.
Yon-Rogg Explained: The Basics
Every good hero needs an arch-rival. For Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, that rival was Yon-Rogg. Both men were high-ranking members of the Kree military. However, Yon-Rogg harbored a deep jealousy of Mar-Vell, including coveting Mar-vell’s love, Una. Yon-Rogg repeatedly tried to kill Mar-Vell over the years (though he wasn’t the villain to actually succeed in that goal).
That vendetta also extends to Mar-Vell’s ally and successor, Carol Danvers. Yon-Rogg’s hatred of Carol has only grown since she gained powers of her own and became Ms. Marvel (and later, Captain Marvel). He’s not one to let go of a grudge.
Yon-Rogg’s Powers and Abilities
Like most members of the highly advanced Kree race, Yon-Rogg’s advanced genetics grant him strength and resilience far beyond those of humans. Due to his military experience, he’s also a gifted warrior and strategist.
Additionally, thanks to his exposure to the same accident that transformed Carol Danvers into Ms. Marvel, Yon-Rogg now also has the ability to fire photonic blasts from his hands.
Yon-Rogg: Origin and Background
Yon-Rogg was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, making his debut all the way back in 1967’s Marvel Super-Heroes #12. He was depicted as a Kree commander dispatched to Earth to investigate how the planet’s seemingly primitive inhabitants managed to destroy an advanced Kree Sentry. Yon-Rogg was less than enthused about the mission, however. To him, the only bright side was that it offered an opportunity to get his most hated soldier, Mar-Vell, killed in action.
Yon-Rogg hoped that by secretly manipulating events, he could orchestrate the death of Mar-Vell and woo Una for himself. Ironically, his schemes only resulted in the death of Una. At that point, the hatred between Yon-Rogg and Mar-Vell was cemented forever.
Yon-Rogg later attempted to defeat his nemesis by kidnapping Carol Danvers and using her as a hostage. Instead, he was seemingly killed when a Kree device called a Psyche-Magnitron exploded. That same explosion also awoke Carol’s latent genetic potential, transforming her into Ms. Marvel.
However, Yon-Rogg resurfaced many years later, after Mar-Vell had died of cancer and Carol had taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel. Now blessed with powers of his own and calling himself Magnitron, Yon-Rogg attempted to telepathically torture Carol and destroy New York City. He was defeated once more, but at the cost of Carol losing her own memories.
Yon-Rogg: Beyond the Comics
Yon-Rogg’s first appearance outside the comics came in the 2010 animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, where he was depicted as a Kree soldier attempting to forcibly recruit Earth into the Kree Empire.He also appears as an enemy in the video game LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.
Yon-Rogg will soon enjoy much wider mainstream exposure thanks to the Captain Marvel movie. Yon-Rogg is played by Jude Law and portrayed as the leader of the Kree strike team known as Starforce. He’s also mentor to an amnesic Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). This casting originally led many to assume that Law was actually playing Mar-Vell. But now with toys from the film out and promoting the character as Yon-Rogg, we know otherwise. Still, it’s not clear whether or not Mar-Vell himself will have a role in the movie.
It’s likely that Yon-Rogg will follow the path established by other Marvel villains like the Doctor Strange movie’s Karl Mordo and Netflix’s Jigsaw, initially acting as a close ally to the hero before they have a major falling out. The comics established Yon-Rogg as a disloyal soldier who collaborated with villains like Ronan the Accuser to overthrow the Kree leader known as the Supreme Intelligence. With Lee Pace reprising his role as Ronan in Captain Marvel, we suspect the movie will feature a similar battle for control of the Kree Empire, and that Carol will be torn between her loyalty to her mentor and to the empire she’s faithfully served.