Marvel Studios Cut Jonathan Majors’ Kang, Backstory Tweaked to Fit

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Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Credit: Marvel Studios

Kang the Conqueror had a ton of backstory scrapped.

Ant-Man talking to Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man 3
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Report: ‘Ant-Man 3’ Close to Being Banned, Saved By Controversial Decision

Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios, holds the position of the ultimate decision-maker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This universe was established with the success of Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback film, Iron Man (2008), and the creation of the popular “cinematic universe formula,” which involves characters from seemingly separate movies crossing paths and sharing the same universe, as seen in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012).

Avengers Characters fight in New York
Credit: Marvel Studios

The first three phases of the MCU, known as the “Infinity Saga,” culminated in the highly acclaimed conclusion of Phase Three, which featured the Russo Brothers’ Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). After Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man/Tony Stark sacrificed himself for the continuation of the universe at large, and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers/Captain America passed on his mantle — the Marvel Cinematic Universe has sat on a precipice of bigger and scarier things to come for the superheroes of Earth.

Kang the Conqueror’s role in Ant-Man 3, and the MCU

Jonathan Majors as Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Reportedly Discussing “Options” In the Wake of Jonathan Majors’ Arrest

Now, with Phase Four over with 2022’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Phase Five took a massive dive into the new Multiverse Saga by properly introducing Jonathan Majors’ (Lovecraft Country, The Last Black Man in San Francisco) Big Bad, Kang the Conqueror to audiences on the big screen, the newest Thanos-equivalent villain set to feature massively in upcoming Avengers 5/Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2025), leading into Avengers: Secret Wars (2026) which might deal with Doctor Doom and potentially, the Fantastic Four. Jonathan Majors took center stage in Ant-Man 3 AKA Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), after previously having played a part of the Kang variant He Who Remains — the entity at the end of Time itself who is confronted by Loki Laufeyson/Loki Odinson (Tom Hiddleston) in his solo Disney+ adventure, Loki (2021). The events of this series essentially busted the MCU wide open, with the official confirmation (and incoming threat) of the Multiverse — established to be an even bigger threat than Josh Brolin’s Thanos and his Infinity Stones ever were.

He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) in Marvel Studios' LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, directed by Peyton Reed and written by Jeff Loveness, is the most recent addition to Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Five. It serves as a direct follow-up to 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, significantly expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s story. The movie features current Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his partner Hope van Dyne/Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and original Wasp Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), who face the formidable Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) within the perilous Quantum Realm. Pfeiffer’s Janet has a significant past relationship with Kang (that was essentially of a sexual nature?), until the Conqueror showed his true colors and went on to take over the Quantum Realm for himself. As the movie wore on Kang was shown to be absolutely ruthless, willing to risk innocents for his ultimate goals — as he did with Scott Lang and his daughter, Cassie.

What is Marvel going to do with Kang next in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty?

But as recent arrest and domestic dispute allegations against actor Jonathan Majors throws Kang’s future into question, Marvel may be running through their options. Either way, it’s clear that since Majors’ Kang is so pivotal to future mainline Avengers films, his story has to be treated with as much care as possible — whether he’s proven innocent or not.

Kang the Conqueror talking to Scott Lang
Credit: Marvel Studios

It was made known by Jeff Loveness, writer for Ant-Man 3, that Kang’s backstory was already significantly cut back for the film. This was revealed in Loveness’ interview with Backstory Magazine, and covered by The Direct, wherein Loveness discusses the changes made to Kang’s character backstory, revealing that “plenty” of Kang backstory was cut:

Oh yeah, plenty. Some of these I might use for ‘Kang’… there was a lot more Kang in a lot of different ways. I don’t know how much I can say, some of it is just going to be in ‘Avengers.’

Here, Loveness talks about how the deleted moments are likely to be reused in The Kang Dynasty — the next Avengers movie directed by Destin Daniel Cretton that Loveness is also writing for. He starts talking Kang here, indicating a ton of “Kang lore” that might have been “better served in an Avengers movie”:

There was a lot more Kang backstory, a lot more Kang lore that didn’t get in there that we thought was maybe distracting or better served in an Avengers movie. Who beat him? What happened? The pitch in general was: What happens when Julius Caesar is assassinated by fifty Julius Caesars? I do think that is really cool, but I do think that could have slowed the pace of the movie.

Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania' (2023)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Considering Kang’s extremely key role, and the fact that Loki‘s Season 2 — of which Kang makes an appearance as variant Victor Timely, as teased at the end of Ant-Man 3 — has rather recently had its release date previously slated for Spring 2023 removed from the schedule indefinitely. There’s a whole load of questions that naturally abound, but all of these delays and release date scrappings point to some shuffling around behind the scenes on Marvel Studios’ end — especially as they’ve just lost some key execs. Whether the internal shuffling now has anything to do with Majors’ charges of alleged assault and arrest in New York City, the public has yet to know for certain. With Majors’ just coming off his role in Creed III opposite fellow Marvel star Michael B Jordan, Majors’ (and Kang’s) future is still uncertain. Who knows what Marvel is planning behind the scenes, and how The Kang Dynasty will turn out?

What do you think about Jonathan Majors’ Kang story beats being cut? Do you think they’ll make it to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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