Marvel was generally very lucky when it came to the long-term continuity interconnected cinematic universe for many years. With few exceptions, actors who were cast in key roles stuck around for movie after movie. Until Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020, Marvel had never had to rework part of a major storyline because of the death or unavailability of an actor. Things generally just went according to Kevin Feige’s grand plan. It all worked itself out, often quite cleverly and powerfully.

So perhaps what is unfolding now was only a matter of time. Marvel has staked most of their current cinematic universe on the villainy of one Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors. But just as Majors’ role was ramping up, the actor was getting into serious legal trouble. He will soon go to trial in New York over an incident earlier this year that led to his arrest on charges of assault, harassment, and strangulation. So far, Marvel has allowed Majors to continue on in his role; he is currently appearing in Season 2 of the Disney+ series Loki in a key supporting part.

But even if Marvel wanted to keep Majors after all of this controversy, they may not have a choice, depending on the outcome of his trial. And according to Variety, at a recent corporate retreat, studio executives did discuss “backup plans, including pivoting to another comic book adversary, like Dr. Doom.”


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Majors’ Kang officially debuted in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, a movie that did disappointing numbers at the box office and on Rotten Tomatoes. Other options on the table for Marvel include recasting Kang with another actor. That’s a tactic Marvel has used a few times in the past. (They replaced Terrence Howard as War Machine with Don Cheadle after the first Iron Man, subbed Mark Ruffalo for Edward Norton between The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers, and recently cast Harrison Ford as the new “Thunderbolt” Ross following the death of actor William Hurt.)

But Variety’s piece also notes that whatever Marvel decides to do with Kang, it will have to happen after Loki, where the time-traveling villain apparently plays a huge role in the show’s second season finale. They quoted one anonymous “dealmaker” who had seen the episode thusly: “Marvel is truly f—ed 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.”

The best solution may be to pivot to the debut of Doctor Doom. In Marvel Comics, it was Doom, not Kang, who was the baddie who instigated the events of Secret Wars, the comic book that serves as the inspiration for the upcoming MCU blockbuster Avengers: Secret Wars. Perhaps Marvel can make a more faithful version of that story, and reveal Doom as the power behind Kang?

New episodes of Loki premiere weekly on Thursdays on Disney+.

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