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Marvel Just Fired Jonathan Majors. What Now?

Marvel Studios finally showed their Kang the Conqueror, villain of the MCU’s Phase Six, the door following his domestic violence conviction

Jonathan Majors

Marvel Studios

While Kang is the most prominent time-traveling villain in Marvel Comics, it’s notable that he never seems interested in using time travel to change the past, preferring instead to visit different eras so he can conquer them, and build up his vast army along the way.

If you gave the executives at Marvel Studios a time machine, though, chances are the first thing they’d do would be to go back and undo their decision to hire Jonathan Majors to play Kang in various MCU movies and TV shows, as the big bad to succeed Thanos. On Monday, Majors was convicted on multiple charges in his domestic abuse case. This also brought an end to his tenure within the MCU, which thus far has only meant appearances in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania and both seasons of Loki. The studio officially fired Majors, unsurprisingly. Between the conviction and reports of other incidents, it’s not tenable to build the next phase of a mega-billions franchise around an actor whose criminal history will dominate the press cycle for each film.

So what does Marvel do? After all, the next Avengers film is supposed to be called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and the character was supposed to recur throughout the next few years of the MCU.

There seem to be three options available to Kevin Feige and friends:

1. Recast the role
The MCU has replaced prominent actors before. Edward Norton’s Hulk became Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and Don Cheadle stepped in for Terence Howard from Iron Man 2 onward. And the very nature of Kang — a time traveler with variant versions throughout the multiverse — makes it even easier than that. The Kang from Quantumania was not supposed to be the exact same person as He Who Remains from Loki, and as we’ve seen on Loki, variants can come in all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and species. Heck, there’s an easy replacement on-hand in Loki co-star Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Her character, Ravonna Renslayer, has a long comics history with Kang, and it’s not hard to explain that a variant of Ravonna is Kang (or vice versa). And Mbatha-Raw is a talented, charismatic actor.

2. Send in Loki
Loki Season One ended with Loki’s variant Sylvie murdering He Who Remains. Season Two seemed to be building toward Loki undoing that decision in order to save the multiverse. Instead, he figures out a way to protect the timeline without bringing back a monstrous villain to run everything: Loki himself becomes the new guardian of the multiverse, sitting on a throne at the end of time. He is meant to be a benevolent caretaker rather than a fascist ruler, but he nonetheless fills the same cosmic role that He Who Remains, and/or other Kangs, did previously.

If Marvel wanted to, and if Tom Hiddleston was willing to stay in the role for many more years, everything could pivot so that Loki assumes the same plot function Kang was meant to have in upcoming projects. It would require some finessing, since the Loki finale was presented as heroic closure for him. Perhaps there could be an evil Loki variant who pushes the good one off the throne? There are a lot of options, regardless.

3. Forget Kang altogether. 
Yes, Kang Dynasty was announced a long time ago. But it’s also not meant to come out until the summer of 2026. There are worse things than having to abandon a title and shift in overall creative direction. (Especially since many MCU fans are assuming that someone else — Doctor Doom, most likely — would usurp Loki’s big bad role for the film after that, Avengers: Secret Wars.)

In this case, that Loki finale again provides an escape hatch. By letting He Who Remains stay dead, and by taking over the sacred timeline job, Loki has made Kang, in any form, a cosmic redundancy. In one of that episode’s final scenes, two Time Variance Authority agents talk about rounding up all the Kang variants — including the one from Quantumania — like they’re a minor nuisance that will be easily handled.

You can understand why Marvel decided to bet big on Majors. He’s a charismatic, talented actor. For all the justified complaints people had about Quantumania, his performance there was universally praised. But whatever the various branches of the sacred timeline have to show about the MCU’s future, it will be a future without Majors.

From Rolling Stone US