Marvel Finds New Kang the Conqueror, Jonathan Majors Replaced

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

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has found its new Kang the Conqueror, the Multiversal villain destined to bring the Avengers into a terrible future conflict. One might even call it something like “Secret Wars.”

Marvel star Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conquer
Credit: Inside the Magic/Marvel

In the wake of Avengers: Endgame (2019), which saw Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sacrifice himself to save the universe from Thanos (Josh Brolin), the MCU needed a new overarching threat worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Enter Kang, a longtime Marvel Comics supervillain who regularly used time travel to threaten the world from multiple different temporalities.

Of course, no comic book character enters the MCU without a few tweaks, and the big screen version of Kang (originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) was reimagined as a threat that existed in every universe of the Multiverse and threatened to collapse all of existence into an unimaginably destructive war unless he was somehow stopped.

Up-and-coming star Jonathan Majors was cast as Kang, who was first introduced in the Disney+ series Loki as “He Who Remains” and later showed up in a more traditional depiction in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

Three variants of Kang played by Jonathan Majors
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘Ant-Man’ Star Quits MCU, Won’t Be Back for More Movies

Then Jonathan Majors was arrested in New York City on charges of assault, strangulation, and harassment charges and later convicted of third-degree reckless assault as well as harassment. The actor avoided jail time but was ordered to attend a 52-week-long domestic violence intervention program. Unsurprisingly, Disney fired the actor in December of last year, presumably to avoid tarnishing the family-friendly image of Marvel Studios.

However, it appears that Marvel still intends to utilize Kang as a character, even without Jonathan Majors. It helps that Kang, as a Multiversal entity, is uniquely suited to be recast with another actor with minimal explanation as to how the character changed, and speculation has been rampant of who could replace Majors.

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon
Credit: Lucasfilm

If Marvel Studios needs any suggestions, new art of iconic actor Giancarlo Esposito should convince Kevin Feige that the answer is right there in front of him.

New fan art of Giancarlo Esposito as Kang by Instagram users @akithefull and @zippexe depicts the actor in the same purple and green armor as seen in the Ant-Man movie, as well as the distinct vertical markings on his face. The caption to the post reads:

“Giancarlo Esposito Could Potentially Play a New Kang Variant In The MCU! What’s Yall’s Thoughts?!

Giancarlo has recently said that he’s been cast in the MCU, and we will soon find out as who! So @Zippexe and I got to theorizing and that led to cooking, there are many characters he could play, Galactus, Dr Doom, Prof. X, and While we have already seen Kang, the whole drama with Majors kinda ruined it all. So who better to take up the mantle, as the one true Conqueror, an older version of Kang played by none other than Gus himself! You could easily explain it in canon and we would get a portrayal of a lifetime! But what do yall think?!”

Giancarlo Esposito is likely best known as the unflappable, grim-faced drug kingpin Gus in the AMC drama Breaking Bad, but has made a big impression as similarly implacable bad guys in the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian and the Prime Video superhero show The Boys. He’s also a legendary performer on Broadway and in numerous films and TV shows, but it is fair to say he’s pretty good at playing a supervillain.

Related: Giancarlo Esposito Confirms ‘The Mandalorian’ Return

The actor has previously expressed his interest in joining the MCU in the role of Professor X, AKA Charles Xavier, which is certainly a possibility with the upcoming reality-bending of Deadpool and Wolverine. But there’s already a need for a being of godlike mental power in the MCU, and his name is Kang.

A clone of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in Season 3 of 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Marvel Studios has not yet announced who will replace Jonathan Majors as Kang, but tellingly, it has officially renamed the upcoming movie Avengers: The Kang Dynasty to the generic Avengers 5. While Kang may be sticking around, it seems he will not be in quite the same role as he was previously planned for. In those circumstances, someone as reliable as Giancarlo Esposito would be great news for the MCU.

Who would you cast as the new Kang? Give us your picks in the comments below!

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