In news that felt inevitable after recent evidence came to light, Jonathan Majors was found guilty of reckless assault in the third degree and guilty of harassment.
And thankfully, Marvel did the right thing and immediately dropped Majors from the role of Kang the Conqueror. Given that other superhero studios have not done the right thing in recent years when it comes to dropping actors who have committed unacceptable behavior, it should be commended that Marvel did the right thing, even though ideally these studios would always choose to stand with victims over bottom lines.
But with that all said, we do still have to examine the fallout for the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that Kang is without an actor and the next Avengers team-up movie was supposed to be centered around this villain — especially since that movie was already dealing with some problems outside of its lead being guilty of criminal behavior.
I’ve landed on three options for Marvel going forward, not all of which require consigning Kang to the wasteland of the multiverse. However, I do think that there is a clear best choice of these three options, which I’ll get to after we examine the other options.
Option 1: Marvel recasts Kang
Marvel could simply just recast Kang the Conqueror and pretend like nothing happened. In fact, there are multiple precedents for them doing exactly that. Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Iron Man 2 and Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, aka Hulk in the first Avengers movie.
Both were done with relatively little fanfare on Marvel’s part and at this point, I’m sure some people don’t even remember that Cheadle wasn’t always Rhodes or that Ruffalo wasn’t always Hulk. Regardless, we simply moved on as soon as the next movie was successful.
So Marvel could easily follow its playbook yet again, though finding the right replacement could prove tricky on short notice. Still, I have a short list of candidates: John David Washington, John Boyega, LaKeith Stanfield and Ncuti Gatwa.
Washington or Boyega are the most logical candidates. While I think Stanfield could do an incredible take on Kang, I’m not sure artistically that a Marvel movie is what he wants to do — though he did just do Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Gatwa, similarly, would do a great job but just started his run as Doctor Who and probably couldn’t do both. Washington and Boyega both have the ability and the availability to handle the role as long as Boyega isn’t permanently scarred from having done Star Wars.
Option 2: Marvel ignores Kang
Marvel could honestly just ignore Kang going forward (P.S. spoilers are coming). With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ending with Kang’s death and Loki ending with the Asgardian taking the mantle of lord of the multiverse from He Who Remains, we could effectively just go “Well the TVA is handling Kang” (spoilers are over).
And Marvel isn’t as committed to Kang going forward as you’d think. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty isn’t coming until 2026 and it now has no director or lead actor attached. Additionally, Michael Waldron is already working on a completely new draft of the movie, which is now reportedly being referred to as Avengers 5 rather than Kang Dynasty.
The other movies and shows are equally uncommitted to Kang the Conqueror. Between now and when Kang Dynasty was supposed to arrive, Marvel has five movies and eight TV shows, none of which are currently projected to directly tie into the existing Kang storyline. While things with Kang would feel unresolved, all Marvel needs to do is have Waldron write a Kang-free Avengers 5 and it will be like it was all on a pruned timeline.
Heck, you could even bring in Doctor Doom instead.
Option 3: Marvel shuffles their movies and moves up Secret Wars
Okay, here’s what Marvel should do. Instead of going into Kang Dynasty before Secret Wars, go into Secret Wars first.
Secret Wars is currently slated to be the sixth Avengers film and the next movie immediately following what is now Avengers 5. While Majors was intended to be in this movie as Kang, there’s no inherent need to have Kang in Secret Wars in terms of properly adapting either the 1984-85 Secret Wars Marvel Comics run or the 2015 comics miniseries. You’d need a multiverse for the 2015 Hickman comic, but we already have that.
So with no lead actor and no director, why force things? You already have Waldron writing the screenplays for Secret Wars and Avengers 5, so just make Avengers 5 Avengers 6 instead and move Secret Wars up. Then, in the aftermath of the multiverse-shattering event, Marvel can reboot the MCU as it sees fit, with a newly cast Kang as its next big bad for a sixth Avengers team-up.
Conclusion: Marvel already made the right choice
There is one wrinkle to my plan of a Marvel reshuffle, and it's why Marvel may ultimately just recast Kang. While you don’t need Kang anymore to facilitate the multiverse’s existence in Secret Wars, the multiverse is key to some of Kang’s storyline as a Marvel character. His powers come from his ability to travel through time, not multiverses, but the existence of Kang variants is a key element of the character.
But we already know that, because we already did that. You don’t need to do Kang variants again. You don’t even need to do more than one movie with this new Kang. Just have this Kang be “Prime Kang” and wipe out the other Kangs off-screen or in a cold open of Avengers 6. You still get a conclusion to the Kang saga, and maybe if you wait this long you can cast exactly the right person since they’ll only need to commit to one movie.
Regardless of what Marvel decides, they already made the right decision when they fired Majors. And while I think there’s a clear best decision, honestly any of these three options will work as long as the next few MCU movies are good. We’ve seen Marvel recast an actor with ease before, so I won’t be surprised if they do it again.
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Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.
Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.