Who is Dar-Benn? The Marvels villain explained

Chris Tilly
Zawe Ashton's The Marvels villain Dar-Benn looking angry.Disney/Marvel

As played by Zawe Ashton, Dar-Benn is the antagonist to The Marvels in their self-titled movie, so who is this new MCU villain?

The Marvels are three super-powered super-friends. Carol Danvers – played by Brie Larson – is Captain Marvel. Kamala Khan – played by Iman Villani – is Ms. Marvel. And Monic Rambeau – played by Teyonah Parris – is yet to get a superhero name, but is very much part of the team.

The trio teams up to do battle with a foe that’s new to the MCU. And with The Marvels in cinemas now, the following is your guide to the villainous Dar-Benn.

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We’re going into detail below, however, so beware of THE MARVELS SPOILERS ahead.

Who is Dar-Benn? The Marvels villain explained

Dar-Benn made his comic book debut in Silver Surfer #53, in 1991. A master strategist, and powerful warrior, Marvel describes the character as follows: “General Dar-Benn is known as the austere, living symbol of the racial mosaic that is the Kree Empire.”

In The Marvels, Dar-Benn is a woman desperate to return her people to their homeland. She wields an Acussor’s Hammer and locates a Nega-Band early in proceedings. While Dar-Benn isn’t a fan of Captain Marvel.

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The film’s official production notes state: “Cold and imposing, Kree leader Dar-Benn is a warrior-scientist turned politician who is hellbent on saving the Kree home planet of Hala and exalting her people to their rightful place in the universe – a goal conveniently aligning with exacting revenge on Kree Enemy of the State No. 1, Captain Marvel. Or as they call her on Hala – The Annihilator.”

Who plays Dar-Benn in The Marvels?

Dar-Benn is played by Zawe Ashton in The Marvels. Ashton is probably best known for her performance as Vod in British sitcom Fresh Meat, while she’s had film roles in the likes of Nocturnal Animals and Velvet Buzzsaw.

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Of her decision to cast Ashton as Dar-Benn, director Nia DaCosta says: “Zawe is not an evil space imperialist, but she brought a lot of depth to that character. She had a really good time playing evil, and because she’s willing to do anything and try anything, it really helped with making Dar-Benn a really great villain for the film.”

As for who Dar-Benn is exactly, Ashton says: “It’s a really big question and a question I had to turn over in my mind again and again when I found out I was going to be embodying the character from the comic
books. Dar-Benn is the very recent Supremor or emperor of the Kree empire, and she is a massive contradiction. She’s part rage, part hope. She’s part science, part war, and she’s basically been born out of this huge event, which we know from the first movie is Captain Marvel essentially destroying Hala and destroying the supreme intelligence.”

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Ashton adds: “We want to believe that Dar-Benn is actually a very different person. Before that event she was a scientist and a soldier who wanted to serve her people. After that event she becomes someone who has a huge vendetta against Carol and wants to restore the empire. She is ready to steal from other planets to bring the empire back to what it was, and sometimes the things she wants are as simple as clean air and water. So, there is this empathetic, I hope, strain with her because she’s not just a supervillain. She is someone who deeply believes she is doing the right thing and is essentially going to help a lot of people.”

For more on The Marvels, head here, or click on the below articles:

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About The Author

Chris Tilly is the TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and over the last 20 years, he's worked for the likes of Time Out, IGN, and Fandom. Chris loves Star Wars, Marvel, DC, sci-fi, and especially horror, while he knows maybe too much about Alan Partridge. You can email him here: chris.tilly@dexerto.com.