Outside of flashbacks, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has rarely turned its attention to the past. 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger wound the clock back to show Steve Rogers' origin story during World War II, and technically Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was also technically a "period" piece since it was set in 2014, three years before the movie was released. But before Avengers 4 concludes Phase Three and ushers in a new MCU era, the franchise is visiting the 1990s for Captain Marvel, and last week it was announced that along with Samuel L. Jackson playing a two-eyed Nick Fury, the movie will also feature younger versions of Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson, Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser and Djimon Honsou's Korath the Pursuer. While Coulson's return to the big screen is certainly a big deal, the fact that Ronan and Korath are involved presents a great opportunity to improve upon their characterizations, especially where Ronan is concerned.
Both Ronan the Accuser and Korath were introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, with Ronan serving as the main antagonist and Korath being his main flunky (you may think that honor belonged to Nebula, but remember that she was initially only being loaned out by Thanos). The movie made it clear that Ronan was not a fan of the peace treaty between the Kree Empire and the Nova Corps of Xandar, and he originally planned to deliver the Orb (a.k.a. the Power Stone) to Thanos in exchange for the Mad Titan helping him destroy Xandar. That plan was tossed aside once Ronan secured the Orb and realized he could get the job done with Thanos' help. In the end, his overconfidence was his downfall, as the Guardians managed to redirect the Orb's destructive energy back at him, while Korath was killed earlier in the final conflict by Drax the Destroyer. Until last week, we just assumed that we'd never see those two again, but now that they're confirmed to appear in Captain Marvel, we'll get a peek into their past, which by extension will ideally help us understand Ronan better.
It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't have a great track record with its main antagonists. Sure there are exceptions here and there, like Loki, Vulture and Killmonger, but many of the other baddies have come across as one-dimensional, generic or didn't live up to their full potential. Working only off Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan is definitely one of the MCU's villainous misses, but Captain Marvel can help change that. Guardians of the Galaxy showed that Ronan hated the Xandarian citizens because they had killed his father, grandfather and great-grandfather during the Kree-Nova War. That's fine enough motivation if we're looking solely at Guardians of the Galaxy, but now we know that the Kree-Nova War isn't the only massive conflict he was involved in.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said last summer that Captain Marvel will tap into the mythology of the Kree-Skrull War, and the Skrulls are also showing up in the movie, it stands to reason that Ronan and Korath have had some experience with the shapeshifting aliens. The Kree Empire signing a peace treaty with the Nova Corps may have been what pushed Ronan over the edge, but what if the events in Captain Marvel are what shifted him from dependent military officer to a fanatic?
As far as the MCU movies are concerned, Ronan has been our sole insight into the Kree, and even if we throw Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the mix, as the Kree has played an important role across the TV series, we still haven't learned much about this alien society's inner workings. Captain Marvel will fix that, because while there's no guarantee that Carol Danvers will visit the Kree homeworld, her time around Jude Law's Mar-Vell and other Kree operatives will help us understand the Kree hierarchy better, at least from a military standpoint.
As far as Ronan is concerned, perhaps he was calmer and more cautious during this period, carrying out orders from his superiors obediently. For all we know, Ronan, like Mar-Vell, will be one of Carol's allies during the movie, though given that Ben Mendelsohn is rumored to be playing Kree baddie Yon-Rogg, I wouldn't be surprised (if that rumor is true) if Ronan is working alongside him. Regardless, the events of Captain Marvel (particularly anything involving the enemy Skrulls) may make Ronan realize that his ideals and methods don't fall in line with the Kree leadership. That then paves the way for his full turn to fanaticism in Guardians of the Galaxy, where he's willing to destroy an entire planet for the sake of revenge.
Ronan's portrayal in Guardians of the Galaxy is locked in, and unless one of you has the Time Stone and can go back to make script changes, there's nothing we can do to fix that. Captain Marvel, on the other hand, can potentially do wonders with retroactively make him a more interesting character which in turn can help us appreciate him more when re-watching Guardians of the Galaxy. As for Korath, obviously anything Captain Marvel can do to make him more interesting is welcome, but since his main function is being the mercenary who aids Ronan in his goals, it's not nearly as important to flesh him out. At the very least, maybe Captain Marvel will show why Korath decided to pledge allegiance to Ronan.
Captain Marvel flies into theaters on March 8, 2019. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about the movie, and in the meantime, you can look forward to Avengers: Infinity War dropping on April 27, followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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