The decision is in: Jonathan Majors is done playing Kang in the MCU after guilty verdict. Marvel fired the actor as soon as the jury announced the verdict, but the studio made no announcements about Avengers 5, which is still officially titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
It’s unclear whether Marvel will recast Kang or if Kang will even be the main villain of the two Avengers movies that will conclude the Multiverse Saga. After The Kang Dynasty, we’ll get Avengers 6, which is currently titled Avengers: Secret Wars.
After the verdict, some reports said that Marvel is done with Kang entirely. The association between Majors — who did a great job playing Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the Loki Disney Plus TV show — and the big villain role would do Marvel a disservice. As such, a pivot to a different big villain and story might be needed.
Before we discuss things any further, I’ll warn you that major Avengers 5 spoilers might follow below.
The recast route
The easiest thing Marvel could do is to recast Kang… if anybody will take the role. But that means Marvel would have to deal with the fallout of Majors’s trial. It could be a big, unnecessary PR mess. Since Majors did such a great job with the role, Kang will be forever associated with him.
Insider MyTimeToShineHello believes that Marvel will recast Kang for the remaining Avengers films.
Separately, Daniel Richtman said that The Kang Dynasty was supposed to start filming next March in the UK. Marvel would have stuck with Majors if he was found innocent in the trial. The leaker said that Michael Waldron’s draft script for the story would have had Kang in it rather than an alternative like Doom.
If a recast is in the works, Marvel could always proceed with such a plan. This wouldn’t be the first time Marvel chose a different actor for one of the MCU’s big roles. But it’s the first time a legal matter interrupts a collaboration between the studio and an actor. As such, a different direction might be needed.
What about plan B?
As I explained recently, the finale of Loki season 2 gave Marvel a perfect excuse to ditch Kang in case of a guilty verdict for Majors. As far as we know, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) risked multiversal peace in season 2’s finale when he allowed the multiverse to thrive rather than stick to a Sacred Timeline.
There’s always the risk of Kangs emerging in that multiverse, but the TVA’s new role is safeguarding every reality against Kang.
But since this is the multiverse, we don’t need Kangs to start a multiversal war. Anyone else can do it. Because, make no mistake, that multiversal war is happening. Marvel has charted its course towards a big Secret Wars event. For Avengers 6 to happen, we need this big conflict.
Marvel just needs to decide who the next big overarching villain will be and make up for lost time. Until now, the focus was on Kang, but the villain only appeared in two Multiverse Saga titles. There’s plenty of room left for another equally dangerous villain. And Marvel is creative enough to give us a great alternative.
There’s certainly plenty of time to flash out a villain, too. We’ve barely made it to the middle of Phase 5. And the strikes that just ended might actually help with that. Marvel was forced to delay plenty of projects because of the strikes. And it now has time to tweak them so they focus on the new villain if that’s the case.
Avengers 5 is no longer The Kang Dynasty
Marvel might have been working on Plan B since Jonathan Majors’s troubles started. We don’t need leaks for that, but common sense. Anyone in the industry would have done so, especially a studio planning projects spanning up to a decade of movies.
A report from The Hollywood Reporter said after the Majors verdict that Marvel has been ready to course-correct in the event of a guilty verdict.
Marvel hired Waldron in November to work on a new draft “of what was once called Kang Dynasty, but is now being referred to as Avengers 5, according to sources.”
We did discuss Marvel’s hiring of Waldron recently. Reports said that Marvel wants a common vision for Avengers 5 and Avengers 6. That means getting the same writing room and director(s) for the two movies. It’s a strategy that worked for Infinity War and Endgame and has nothing to do with the villain of the Multiverse Saga.
Jeff Sneider hinted a few weeks ago that Marvel will change the name of Avengers 5 to pivot from Kang. He said at the time that Secret Wars will be a two-part finale.
After the jury verdict, Sneider discussed Marvel’s choices on The Hot Mic podcast, speculating that Doctor Doom might be the villain Marvel focuses on now that Kang is out of the picture. He said that Marvel can’t recast Kang, as the villain “conjures” thoughts of Majors and his domestic abuse case.
We’ll see the next villain soon
Regardless of who becomes the next big MCU villain, I wouldn’t expect a confirmation anytime soon. But remember those rumors that said Doctor Doom was supposed to have a cameo at the end of Wakanda Forever? That didn’t happen, but, in hindsight, Marvel probably wishes it did.
What I’m getting at is that we’ll start getting some sort of Doom Easter egg soon if that’s the villain fighting the Avengers next. I’m only speculating, of course. But I expect the next big villain to get more and more screen time as we approach Avengers 5 and Avengers 6.
On that note, I’ll point out that Deadpool 3, the only Marvel movie of 2024, might be the perfect place to start teasing Dr. Doom. Or whoever ends up being this saga’s version of Thanos (Josh Brolin).
Also, in due time, we’ll learn the new name of Avengers 5 and the new schedule for it. I’m assuming here that some delays will be in order. This isn’t just about Majors. The strikes delayed plenty of Marvel projects already.