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Why Starforce From Captain Marvel Look So Familiar

It's been two years since Brie Larson was officially unveiled as Captain Marvel, but we're only now starting to get a real idea of what the next MCU movie will look like. Larson started interacting with fans early (she won the respect of the Marvel faithful when she posted a photo of herself reading a Captain Marvel comic in preparation), but we were largely left to feed on scraps in the months following the big announcement. There were rumors that she'd make her debut as Carol Danvers in Avengers: Infinity War, but there was no sign of her. Not in the movie proper, anyway.

By now, pretty much everyone has either seen or heard all about the Infinity War post credit tag in which Samuel Jackson's Nick Fury manages to shoot a space page off to Danvers before he disintegrates. It was a clear indication that Captain Marvel (described by MCU mastermind Kevin Feige as their "strongest character" yet) will play a vital role in defeating Thanos during Avengers 4, but we've got her solo movie to get through first.

In September 2018, Entertainment Weekly released some exclusive Captain Marvel images, one of which featured the titular hero alongside her squad Starforce. We got our second look at this intergalactic SEAL Team 6 when the first trailer dropped. It was a fleeting glimpse — just long enough for viewers to register the faces and start asking themselves where exactly they've seen them before. Here's why they look so familiar.

Gemma Chan is Minn-Erva

Gemma Chan is playing Minn-Erva, a Kree scientist and loyalist who once traveled to Earth to seek out the original Captain Marvel, hoping to mate with him and unlock the untapped potential of their species in the process. The Kree are a particularly proud race, and this drives Minn-Erva as a character. In the comics, she was on board with a Thanos-esque plot to eliminate 90 percent of the Kree empire, which would have forced the remaining 10 percent to evolve at a quicker rate.

While Brie Larson was clearly excited about Chan joining the cast, chances are she'll have limited screentime. That's nothing new for her: Chan has actually popped up in a number of big Hollywood movies in recent years (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Transformers: The Last Knight being the most prominent), all in supporting parts. It was a much smaller project that allowed Chan to show what she could do in a bigger role.

Critically acclaimed British sci-fi series Humans featured Chan as a fully sentient AI "synth" named Mia. Despite her popularity, the character was brutally murdered during the season 3 finale. "When I filmed those final scenes, it was incredibly emotional," she told Digital Spy. "Humans has been such a huge part of my life, and I've got such love for the show and for the character and for everyone involved with it."

She's a crazy rich Asian

Chan had become the face of Humans by the time showrunners killed her off, but she quickly moved on to bigger things. In 2018, she appeared as glamorous socialite Astrid in hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast since 1993's The Joy Luck Club. Commentators are calling it a watershed moment for diversity in the film industry, something Chan feels is long overdue.

"When I left drama school, I was told by the voice teacher, 'Be prepared that you are going to really struggle; most of the output from the U.K. is period drama and you won't get a look-in,'" Chan told Vogue. "And for the first few years that really was the case. I didn't even get a chance to audition."

It would have been easy for Chan to take another path — she's actually more accomplished than her Crazy Rich Asians character, having played the violin to a professional level and read politics at Oxford. Much to the annoyance of her parents, she turned down a job with a respected international law firm to act. It was a bold decision, but it turned out to be an inspired one, as she's now on the verge of becoming an A-list name.

Chan finished her filming on Captain Marvel in June 2018, but she has plenty of other irons in the fire. She's playing Bess of Hardwick in the upcoming Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan (no relation to the Accuser).

Algenis Pérez Soto is Att-Lass

In the comics, Minn-Erva has worked closely with fellow Starforce member Att-Lass. The pair teamed up during the Kree's conflict with the Shi'ar, but unlike Minn-Erva, Att-Lass was unaware that the troubles were secretly orchestrated by the Kree Supreme Intelligence. When he discovered that she and other Kree were behind the planned eradication of the vast majority of their race, he committed suicide using his suit's self-destruct feature, taking Minn-Erva with him.

It's unclear just how much of their past will play out onscreen, but we do know that Att-Lass is being portrayed by the relatively inexperienced Algenis Pérez Soto. He only has two credits to his name, but one of those movies was helmed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the director duo behind Captain Marvel. They've known Soto for a long time, having plucked him from obscurity to star in their critically acclaimed 2000 baseball drama Sugar.

Soto's dream was to make it as a pro baseball player in the States, but he was never picked up. He continued playing locally with friends, however, and that was where Boden and Fleck spotted him. They were looking for someone with "the ability to express themselves without even talking," and Soto fit the bill. "Most of what we talked to [Soto] about doing was using his own experience as an actor in the movie and trying to interpret it in his character," Boden told the Los Angeles Times.

He's a lover and a fighter

Soto's exciting debut was followed by a nine-year absence. When he finally returned to movies in 2017, it was in a similar, but far more demanding role: he returned to his native Dominican Republic to star in Samba, another gritty sports drama. This time around he was asked to play a boxer, something directors Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas believed he would be more than capable of doing after seeing his powerhouse performance in Sugar.

"We had liked that film a lot, so we were really happy to work with Algenis," Guzmán told 'LLERO. "He was also so professional. He was originally a baseball player, so he trained really hard this time to be a boxer, and he was so good at it."

Samba (the first film from the Dominican Republic to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it impressed) follows Soto's Francisco Castillo, who returns to the Republic after a 15-year stint in a U.S. prison. Unable to find work, he decides to use his fists to make a living and starts attending street fights. It's during one of these fights that a failed boxer played by Ettore D'Alessandro (who also penned the screenplay) notices him and takes him to a gym run by Laura Gómez (Orange is the New Black).

The only other place you might recognize Soto from is the Captain Marvel hashtag on Instagram. Judging from his feed, he's as excited about the film as the rest of us.

Rune Temte is Bron-Char

In April 2018, Norwegian actor Rune Temte confirmed he was going to be in Captain Marvel, and he could barely contain his excitement. "Finally it's public that I will play Bron-Char, one of the fierce warriors of the Starforce," Temte said in a statement released on his official website. "We are Kree, and we are badass as they come and are ready to throw Skrulls out into the next galaxy." We've known for a while that the Skrulls will be involved in Captain Marvel (the studio is quite clearly setting up a cinematic version of the Secret Invasion crossover event), but what do we know about Bron-Char?

He's a minor character in the comics (you can count his total appearances on one hand), though he's one of only a handful of characters who've been able to shatter Captain America's shield in battle. It turned out that Cap's shield was just a replica on this occasion, but Bron-Char is definitely a powerful warrior and the directors will no doubt use that to their advantage, whether it be during battle sequences or for comedic purposes.

It's not exactly a new challenge for Temte (if you're a fan of historical drama you probably recognize him as viking warlord Ubba from The Last Kingdom), but he's still relishing the role. "I am happy to say that the stunts and action will be awesome," he said. "I am very excited to be part of such a talented cast and crew."

He punched Wolverine in the face

After Temte's time on The Last Kingdom came to a violent end (the bearded actor trained in viking martial arts for his ill-fated battle to the death with Alexander Dreymon), he did a few bit parts before landing a role in critically acclaimed murder mystery series Fortitude. His character Lars is "a man of many secrets with an eye and an ear for the whole of the frozen town of Fortitude," Temte told Revealed. "He is witty without the slightest idea that he is."

Fortitude is a fictional Norwegian Arctic town and the plot of the show is entirely fabricated, unlike The Last Kingdom, which was based on the real history of Temte's seafaring ancestors. It isn't just Norwegian history he's helped bring to life, however. In 2016, Kingsman star Taron Egerton took on the role of Michael Edwards in feel-good sports biopic Eddie the Eagle, the nickname given to the plucky British ski jumper. Hugh Jackman portrayed Eddie's coach, and Temte (cast as an oddball rival coach from Norway) got to punch him in the face.

Temte admitted that meeting "the generous Hugh Jackman and of course hitting him — the one and only Wolverine — and surviving" was a big moment for him. Could that same fight one day take place in the MCU? It's unlikely, considering Jackman has officially retired his claws, but he's previously voiced an interest in joining the Avengers, and both Mark Ruffalo and Sebastian Stan apparently approve of the idea.

Djimon Hounsou is Korath

Marvel movie fans will no doubt recognize Djimon Hounsou from his supporting villain role in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. The Benin-born actor played the MCU version of Korath-Thak, also known as Korath the Pursuer, head of the Pursuer Project. In the comics, he was a cyber-geneticist charged with engineering cybernetic warriors for the Kree military. He wound up using the tech that he invented on himself, gaining superhuman (or superkree, more like) powers in the process. He and his fellow Starforce members later battled the Avengers on Hala, home of the blue-skinned Kree.

Of course, the MCU version of Korath was killed by Drax, who tore out his cranial implants during their fight aboard the Dark Aster. This wasn't the first time Hounsou had to get physical for a role. The model-turned-actor cut his teeth in Tina Turner and Janet Jackson music videos in the late '80s and early '90s, and his transition into film began in earnest in 1994 with campy sci-fi classic Stargate. But his big breakthrough came three years later when he won a part in Steven Spielberg's Amistad.

"It was one of the most powerful stories about Africans that define African Americans' legacy and that a lot of people were shy about wanting to hear, wanting to see," Hounsou told CNN"My passion is more about bringing the stories out from the African continent, mixed with the West." Hounsou tapped into that passion again when Ridley Scott cast him as an enslaved Numidian tribesman in Gladiator.

He voiced Black Panther

Hounsou started rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's big hitters in the years following Gladiator. He worked with Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider sequel The Cradle of Life, starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond, and appeared alongside Keanu Reeves in Constantine. In 2010, he voiced Wakandan king T'Challa in BET's six-part animated Black Panther series.

During a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Hounsou was asked if he was disappointed to be overlooked for the same part in the MCU adaptation of Black Panther. While he did admit that he hoped he'd get it, ultimately all he cares about now is more people of his skin color getting a chance to shine in the superhero genre. "My son told me, 'I want to be light-skinned so I can climb the walls like Spider-Man,' just because he has seen Spider-Man and Batman and all these superheroes who were all white," Hounsou recalled. "The minute he said it, I was like, damn. My whole self was shattered."

Black Panther was a watershed moment and changes are undoubtedly afoot within the superhero genre, but there's still some way to go before fair representation truly becomes a reality. Hounsou is doing his bit to sway the tide. On top of appearing as a younger Korath in Captain Marvel, he's filmed scenes for upcoming DCEU movies Aquaman and Shazam!, so he'll become an even more familiar face in the next few years.

Lee Pace is Ronan the Accuser

As soon as it became clear that Captain Marvel was going to tap into the Kree-Skrull war, the chances that Kree zealot Ronan the Accuser would be reappearing in the MCU increased dramatically. In the comics, Ronan joined the Public Accuser Corps (the Kree empire's main law enforcement body) at a young age and began a meteoric rise through the ranks. After successfully defending the Kree border from a Skrull invasion, he was named Supreme Accuser. He has joined them on missions in the past, but Starforce work has historically been below Ronan's pay grade, and that seems to be the case in Captain Marvel.

Ronan actor Lee Pace could be seen standing side by side with Jude Law's commander character (heavily rumored to be Mar-Vell, from whom Danvers got her powers) in the first official images, implying that he outranks the Starforce members in this '90s-set story. But we know from Guardians of the Galaxy that Ronan and his Starforce underling Korath will eventually go bad, so Captain Marvel will no doubt sow those seeds. Both Ronan and Korath have been accused of being typically bland Marvel villains, and this is the studio's chance to redeem both characters with some added depth.

The opportunity to reprise the role of Ronan was welcomed by Pace, who thoroughly enjoyed working on the first Guardians. "I loved that film," he told IGN. "I was so proud to be a part of that whole fun moment. I found the character very, very interesting... this kind of charismatic space terrorist. The idea is fascinating."

He was a vampire and an elf before he was a Kree

Ronan aside, viewers will likely recognize Pace from a variety of other villainous and/or dark roles. He's been working steadily in film, television and theater since he made his debut on a 2002 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but he became one of those faces that every fantasy fan knew over a fruitful two-year period. Between 2012 and 2014, the 6'4” actor played vampire Garrett in the final installment of the Twilight franchise and appeared in every film in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.

Pace's Ronan shares certain similarities with Thranduil, the Elven king of the Woodland Realm in J.R.R Tolkien's epic. "To me, Thranduil is a spirit of the woods," Pace told Ashland Daily Tidings. "Some people have said that he's a bad guy. But he isn't bad. He's not your friend. He's not interested in being well liked." The last Hobbit movie came out the same year as Guardians, boosting Pace's profile considerably. He was the sixth-most profitable star in Hollywood come the end of 2014.

Five years will have passed by the time Pace reprises the role of Ronan in Captain Marvel, but he's as excited about the prospect as ever. While promoting his Broadway show Angels in America on New York Live (via ScreenRant), he was asked to spill the beans on the Marvel movie. "I wish I could tell you all the secrets, but I don't know any secrets!" he insisted. "I'm excited to be back."