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Marvel Faces a Major Problem with Kang

Marvel Studios/Hypebeast
Kang the Conqueror as played by Actor Jonathan Majors. The villain was meant to be the Marvel Cinematic Universes next major supervillain. With Major’s recent arrest, the character faces a recast and could even be wiped from the studios future all together.

Former Hollywood Actor Jonathan Majors was found guilty on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, of assault charges against his ex-girlfriend. The resulting verdict means changes are in line for Disney’s Marvel Studios and their villain, Kang the Conqueror. 

Majors was arrested on Mar. 25, 2023, on assault charges pressed by his now ex-lover Grace Jabbari. Prosecutors stated the “Loki” actor attacked Jabbari in the back of a car and pushed her back in after exiting the vehicle. 

The now disgraced actor was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and harassment on Dec. 18. With the sentencing date set for Feb. 6, he faces up to one year in prison. 

Mere hours after the verdict, Marvel and its parent company Disney both severed ties with Majors becoming the first of several production companies to do so. Because of this both studios have a decision to make regarding Major’s character Kang the Conqueror.

Ryan Thames, a lecturer at the University of North Georgia’s School of Communication, Film & Theatre, believes Majors’s guilty ruling to be a huge loss for the blueprint of the MCU’s fourth stage. 

“I think the fact that they waited until the verdict demonstrates how invested they were in Majors and the Kang storyline.”- UNG Lecturer Ryan Thames

Furthermore, this turn of events comes as the MCU works to right the ship after a recent cinematic fall from grace. Since the release of its 2019 magnum opus “Avengers Endgame,” fans have found it challenging to enjoy newer content put out by the entertainment giant both on the big screen and on platforms such as Disney Plus. 

The 2023 feature “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania” is a glaring example of this slide. The first two Ant-Man movies each earned Rotten Tomato scores over 80%, “Ant Man” scoring 83% and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” scoring 87%, while the third installment of the trilogy struggled heavily at 46%. 

Because of this, UNG Film Student Josh Holland says that it’s imperative that the MCU makes the right move to address Majors’s absence. “The next few Marvel movies need to be successful in order to get fans re-engaged,” he said. 

While pressure appears to be on the two companies to make the right choice and re-establish a balance, there are two reasonable directions they can take with their villain. 

The first and clearest route for the studio is to recast Kang with another actor.  

According to UNG Communications, Film, and Journalism Professor Michael Lucker, Marvel is no stranger to changing out actors at the last minute. Some of the examples he cited include the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo over Edward Norton) and Col. James “Rhody” Rhodes (Don Cheadle over Terrence Howard). 

In addition to this, outlets have already found an ideal replacement for majors in the form of Actor Colman Domingo.  

In 2021, the “The Color Purple” star expressed interest in playing the role of a bad guy for either Marvel or its competitor DC. In an interview with AwardsWatch, Domingo said he wanted to play the villain and do some “really dirty, nasty work.”  

Along with Domingo, names such as John Boyega and Will Smith have also been floated as potential candidates. 

Despite the list of potential substitutions, it isn’t out of the question for the MCU to scrap Kang’s storyline for another villain altogether.  

Rumors that the character’s plot could be erased rose shortly after Majors was fired when Marvel changed the name of its upcoming feature “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” to “Avengers 5”. While the gossip has since died down, the edit remains unchanged. 

Holland says he can see this scenario playing out with the movie giant pulling someone from its hit show “Loki” such as Ravonna Rennslayer or even the god of mischief himself.  

“The Loki show deals with integral elements of the MCU and features a great cast with vital characters.”- Josh Holland 

On the other hand, Lucker finds the idea of Kang being shelved for another villain shocking. “There no doubt has been much time, energy and money spent building this franchise character,” he said, “Too much, in fact, to cast it asunder for one actor’s blunder.” 

Whichever way Marvel and Disney plan to tackle the issue, the weight is on their shoulders to do it carefully. Thames thinks the direction the studios move towards should at least provide tangible connections to what’s already there, or else they risk fans losing faith in there being a unified plan for the films and their interconnectedness. 

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About the Contributor
Jack Thurmond
Jack Thurmond, Staff Writer
Hello there! My name is Jack Thurmond. This is my third year at the University of North Georgia, and I am studying communications to become a sports journalist. I joined the Vanguard because it gives me the window to experience things I typically would not get to.
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