Marvel Scraps Kang the Conqueror, Completely Abandons ‘Avengers 5’

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An individual dressed in a futuristic, armored suit with a dark green and purple color scheme is seen in front of a large, circular structure with a glowing light. The person has a serious expression and short hair. The background is a warmly lit, modern interior.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios is scrapping its original idea for Kang the Conqueror, the Multiversal villain played by disgraced actor Jonathan Majors, and going back to the drawing board for the upcoming Avengers 5.

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

The Marvel Villain Problem

Avengers: Endgame (2019) was a colossal commercial and critical success for Marvel Studios, but, much like the Infinity Stones themselves, it came at a cost. The concluding film in the Infinity Saga left the Marvel Cinematic Universe without Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and, perhaps most importantly, Thanos (Josh Brolin).

A comic book movie franchise is only as good as its main villain, and post-Thanos, Marvel Studios had to figure out a plan to follow him up with someone just as nuanced, intimidating, and universe-menacing. Ultimately, the studio settled on Kang the Conqueror, a Marvel villain who could one-up the Mad Titan by threatening not just one universe but an entire Multiverse.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) looking dismayed at the climax of Avengers: Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

Jonathan Majors was cast as the Marvel Comics villain, debuting as “He Who Remains” in the Disney+ series Loki and taking on a main role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023). In addition to his appearance as the traditional Kang the Conqueror, the third Ant-Man movie and Loki season 2 also saw the actor portraying multiple Variants of Kang like the Scarlet Centurion, Rama-Tut, Immortus, and Victor Timely.

Related: ‘Loki’ Star Calls Out Director, Abandons Role Over Controversy

The MCU plan was for the new Kang-starring Multiverse Saga to lead up to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, a two-part epic in the same mold as Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Endgame. Then Jonathan Majors was arrested in New York City on charges of assault, strangulation, and harassment, throwing multi-billion dollar franchise plans into chaos.

Jonathan Majors was eventually convicted of third-degree reckless assault as well as harassment, avoiding jail time and being ordered to attend a 52-week-long domestic violence intervention program. Disney had already fired Majors, who was also dropped by his representation and appears to have been blacklisted by Hollywood in general, with his already-completed film Magazine Dreams being dropped by its distributor. His attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said (via AP News), “He’s lost his whole career. This has been the most challenging year of his life.”

‘Avengers: Not the Kang Dynasty’

All of this left Marvel Studios (and Disney, its parent company) in quite a bind. The studio had already announced plans for The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars and spent months hyping up Jonathan Majors as the next big threat of the MCU. So, when the actor was dropped from the franchise, fans immediately wondered whether Kang would be recast or completely rewritten.

Jonathan Majors as Victor Timely in Loki Season 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

Reports indicate that it seems a bit of both. Inside the Magic has previously reported fan enthusiasm to replace Jonathan Majors with Breaking Bad and The Boys actor Giancarlo Esposito, as well as rumors that the Multiversal warlord may now be played by actors Colman Domingo or John David Washington. A new report says, however, that rather than replacing Majors with a single actor, Marvel Studios wants to recast the role with numerous other stars.

Twitter scooper HolyField News recently posted, “🚨The council of kangs going forward will be played by different actors, some that aren’t currently popular in the industry. A well known high budget actor will be cast as Kang Prime (main variant).”

If true, this means that Marvel is scrapping the original idea behind Kang the Conqueror, that a single actor would play multiple Variants of the same Big Bad, as most dramatically seen in a mid-credits scene in which a vast stadium is filled with various different Jonathan Majorseses.

A large crowd of individuals, all dressed in identical futuristic armor and capes, are shown at a stadium. One person in the foreground is shouting passionately. The background is filled with more people and bright, colorful lights.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney Dismantles ‘Avengers 5’, Marvel Hero Steps Away

Instead, Avengers 5 (as Marvel is apparently now referring to the former Kang Dynasty) may feature multiple actors with different levels of recognizability playing versions of the character. This also leaves open the possibility of a major actor like Colman Domingo, John Boyega, or Idris Elba playing a central villain, which likely appeals to the Disney C-suite.

For now, it appears that Marvel Studios has completely abandoned its original plans for Avengers 5 and Kang in general and is hastily revamping behind the scenes. It had better work quickly, though, because the movie’s scheduled release date of 2026 is coming up fast.

Do you think that Marvel will recast Kang with multiple actors? Tell us who in the comments below!

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