Who is Doctor Minerva? Meet Captain Marvel's new villain!

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Feb 28, 2018, 1:00 PM EST

Earlier this week, word broke that Humans star Gemma Chan has been cast in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie as Minn-Erva, a Kree scientist better known to comic book fans as Doctor Minerva.

Doctor Minerva premiered in Marvel Comics over 40 years ago. Although she doesn't have much of a history with Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel, and isn't exactly A-list villain material, Minerva and Carol Danvers aren't strangers by any means. And she may have a much bigger part to play in the MCU.

Ever since he was in negotiations to join Captain Marvel, Ben Mendelsohn has been rumored to play Colonel Yon-Rogg, a Kree officer who was an enemy to both Carol (Brie Larson) and her mentor, Mar-Vell (Jude Law). That's still the most likely role for Mendelsohn, and he may end up being the big bad of this film.

But keep in mind that the MCU has a pattern of pitting their heroes against mirror images of themselves. Even Black Panther wasn't immune to that trend. That's probably why Doctor Minerva will be in this movie. Minerva is one of the few villains who can come close to Carol in terms of power, and her ruthless streak makes her even more dangerous.

Minerva and Carol are so evenly matched because they were both exposed to the Psyche-Magnetron, a Kree device that gave them super strength, flight, and the ability to manipulate energy. It's no coincidence that Minerva often runs around in this costume.


As you can see below, Minerva's costume is a variation of Carol's midriff-baring outfit from her original Ms. Marvel series.


What can we say? That costume came from the '70s.

Minerva made her first appearance in Captain Marvel #50 in which she went on an unsanctioned mission to Earth. And she quickly proved to be fluent in Kree, English, and supervillain monologues.


Minerva's intent was to mate with Mar-Vell to create a breed of superior Kree children that could break their people out of a genetic dead end. The Superman villainess Maxima had a remarkably similar goal two decades later over at DC. But unlike Maxima, Minerva doesn't really have any redeeming qualities. When she resurfaced in the '90s, Minerva immediately tried to cut off Quasar's arms in order to retrieve his cosmically powered Quantum Bands. Naturally, Marvel couldn't resist making a cheesy pun about Minerva's plans.


That was also the issue in which Minerva revealed she had empowered herself and her new lover, Captain Atlas (Att-Lass). Shortly thereafter, Minerva and Atlas were two of the primary villains in the Avengers crossover story, Operation: Galactic Storm. That tale followed the Avengers as they went into space to break up the war between the Kree and the Shi'ar. However, Minerva was complicit with the Kree's Supreme Intelligence and his plan to detonate a Nega-Bomb that killed billions of Kree in the name of furthering their evolution as a species.

That was by far Minerva's biggest crime to date. That’s probably why she's still considered a war criminal among her race. In fact, the last time that Minerva fought Spider-Man and the modern Ms. Marvel, she only retreated because she believed that the Kree had been notified of her whereabouts.


After several years, Minerva finally had a rematch with Carol, who had adopted the Captain Marvel identity as her own. The biggest difference this time was that Minerva had experimented on herself as well, and now had the ability to transform into a giant monster.

It's too early to say whether Minerva's big screen counterpart will go in the same direction, but it could be very entertaining to see a superhero vs. kaiju fight in the MCU.


Minerva may not be one of Marvel's most prominent villainesses, but her appearance in the Captain Marvel film could dramatically change her status in both the comic book realm and in the MCU. It's a pretty safe bet that the movie will feature Carol facing off with her Kree counterpart, and we're hoping for a truly epic battle between the two when Captain Marvel hits theaters next year.