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It sounds like Marvel Studios also thinks they messed up with Kang as the MCU's next big villain

Before real-life drama happened.

Kang in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania
Image credit: Marvel Studios

If you thought what killed Kang the Conqueror's chances as the next big baddie of the sore Marvel Cinematic Universe were Jonathan Majors' misdeeds, think again, as new reports claim Marvel Studios was already pivoting away from him after Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania cratered in early 2023.

The new tidbit on the matter comes from The Hollywood Reporter's latest piece on the ongoing "creative retooling" happening at Marvel Studios this year, following its worst-ever streak of misfires and PR nightmares in 2023. It's a fantastic read for anyone keeping tabs on what's happening with the MCU, but it also confirms what fans and critics had been expecting for months now. Even without Majors in the role, Kang is pretty much cooked.

For those who can't remember or are unaware of this real-life saga: Marvel dropped the actor, despite his large on-screen presence in Quantumania and Loki season 2, as soon as he was found guilty of reckless assault and harassment back in December. That icky development already spelt trouble for Kang's role as the unifying glue of the Infinity Saga moving forward, but most people still expected a recast. According to THR, even if that happens, Marvel "will either minimize the character or excise him entirely" when Avengers 5 (previously titled The Kang Dynasty) finally arrives.

The first writing on the wall came shortly before Majors' conviction, when Marvel Studios tapped Loki and Doctor Strange 2 scribe Michael Waldron to rewrite the fifth Avengers movie on top of the sixth, which is still set to be Secret Wars. The accursed movie's previous writer was Jeff Loveness, the man behind Quantumania's script. Yup, we can connect the dots.

MODOK in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The 'shocking' bit, at least for those who thought Marvel Studios wouldn't change their massive plans, of THR's piece is the one that says the studio "was making moves to minimize the character after Quantumania underperformed, grossing $476 million," which happened before the late-March 2023 event that put Majors in the firing line. We're gonna take a wild guess and say that Quantumania's 46% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, coupled with all the online chatter about how weird it was to have Ant-Man belittle a supposedly dangerous variant of the 'next Thanos' of the franchise, probably played a role in forcing Marvel's hand too.

So, what's the play here then? Is Marvel Studios bringing Doctor Doom into the fold with its Fantastic Four reboot to 'save' the day and mess up the multiverse in a slightly different way? We'll have to wait a bit longer to find out, but maybe Deadpool & Wolverine, the studio's sole movie for 2024, already holds some answers.

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