Since Jonathan Majors’s legal troubles began back in March of this year, other than very real concern for the people involved, Marvel fans wondered when the studio would say something — anything, really — about the star. And now, in a report on the state of Marvel Studios from Variety, we know that not only is Marvel considering ditching Majors, they might ditch his character Kang, entirely… In favor of Doctor Doom.
To be clear, this is a report that includes anonymous insiders talking on the record. That said, Variety is a reputable news organization that vets its sources. However, according to those anonymous sources, Marvel started to consider changing direction after the underwhelming performance of Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania, which officially introduced Majors as the time-traveling antagonist.
That movie came out in February of this year. Jonathan Majors was arrested for assault in March. And starting in October, he’s starring in Loki Season 2 as Victor Timely, a variant, alternate universe version of Kang. Yet thus far, other than that they didn’t do any reshoots on Loki Season 2, the studio hasn’t said anything about the drama that has reportedly been bubbling behind the screens.
Along with some salty language, Variety quotes a “top dealmaker” who they say has seen the final episode of Loki. “Marvel is truly fucked with the whole Kang angle. And they haven’t had an opportunity to rewrite until very recently [because of the WGA strike]. But I don’t see a path to how they move forward with him.”
So if this is all true, what are the options on the table?
Marvel Might Recast Jonathan Majors:
The most logical progression here, if Marvel does decide to move forward with the multiverse/Kang storyline, is to recast the role. As the article notes, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has recast roles before. He switched Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle in the part of War Machine/Rhodey. And recently after the passing of William Hurt, the part of General Ross was recast with Harrison Ford. Ford will appear in the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World.
However, Variety is only speculating here, though they do note that Marvel might move away from the plot entirely, minimizing Kang’s role in whatever comes next. There’s a wilder option, though…
Marvel Might Replace Kang With Doctor Doom:
At a Marvel Studios retreat this past September, apparently ideas were discussed to deal with the Jonathan Majors situation, as well as the underperforming nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a whole. One option reportedly thrown out? Replace Kang, played by Majors, with Doctor Doom.
That role has yet to be cast (as far as we plebes are aware), and we don’t even know whether Doom is supposed to appear in the still-in-development MCU Fantastic Four movie. But from a comic book perspective, Doom makes a lot of sense.
If Marvel is hellbent on sticking with the Multiverse Saga, as is the Fantastic Four, and friends/enemies haven’t appeared anywhere except for several iterations of Fox movies. Aka, a different universe. And in Jonathan Hickman’s more recent Secret Wars miniseries, which is most likely at least in part what Marvel Studios is basing Avengers: Secret Wars, the culmination of the Multiverse Saga on, Doctor Doom is the primary antagonist.
If you switch to Doom, you’ve already got a roadmap with the Marvel Comics mini, and you solve your Jonathan Majors problem (well at least the casting one).
As of now, nothing is set over at Marvel, and there will probably be plenty more on this as it develops.