Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige swears his stars to secrecy. Most of the Avengers can keep their mouths shut. Tom Holland is … really bad at it. Still, Feige treasures spoilers like Infinity Stones, and the next wave of movies — Captain Marvel due on March 8, and Avengers: Endgame arriving just two months later on April 26 — are proving to be the MCU’s most secretive.
The tactic makes early press tours difficult for hosts like Stephen Colbert, who find themselves begging cast members to say something interesting during late-night interviews. Luckily, Captain Marvel star Annette Bening received the go-ahead from the Marvel spoiler-keepers to divulge a little information about who she actually plays in the film — a fact that every trailer for the movie has obfuscated.
During Bening’s appearance on Thursday night’s Late Show, Colbert boasted that, because he’s Stephen Colbert, he knows everything there is to know about the under-lock-and-key Captain Marvel. Bening took that as an invitation to grill the host over the facts.
“Do you know who I play?”
“I can’t even say whether I know that! You just broke the first rule of talking about Marvel movies!”
That’s when Bening actually launched into an explanation of what she’s doing in the film, set during Marvel’s legendary Skrull-Kree war. After much speculation, the actress confirms that she is playing the Supreme Intelligence.
“A god-like entity,” Bening describes her character, “the leader of the Kree people. The artificial intelligence which consists of the greatest intellects of the Kree people for the last million years.
“And there’s more,” she added, “but I can’t say it.”
The Supreme Intelligence is classic deep cut of Marvel continuity, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and debuting in a 1967 issue of Fantastic Four. The story behind the artificial intelligence is that it was created by the Kree to help create a Cosmic Cube, much like their hated enemies the Skrulls once did. (In Marvel Comics, the Cosmic Cube is a separate thing entirely from the Infinity Stones, unlike its movie counterpart, the Tesseract, or Space Stone.)
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby/Marvel Comics
Upon developing its own will, the Supreme Intelligence decided that the wiser course of action was to not create a second Cosmic Cube at all. Instead, the AI stuck around and advised the Kree, using the combined wisdom of the greatest Kree thinkers, whose minds were regularly uploaded into it upon their deaths. Eventually, the Kree depended on it so much that they did away with their government and made the Supreme Intelligence the ruler of the Kree Empire, with many Kree worshipping it as a god.
Bening certainly presents a nicer countenance to the Intelligence than Kirby’s original design — an alarming green, blobby tragedy mask with medusan hair.
“When I read the script, I did find it slightly confusing,” Bening told Colbert. “However, I took into my confidence — and the confidence of the entire Disney Corporation — two of my kids, who I then told the story to and asked them to please explain to me what the hell was going on. Which they then did. But there was a reason for that — and once the movie comes out it’ll be clear why it was somewhat confusing.”