Many have been stating that Marvel Studios was in a predicament on how they will go on after the phenomenal Infinity Saga that was Phases 1-3. How do they top Thanos? How do they go forward without Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and even Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, not to mention that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers was also off the table?
They needed new players on the board. Also, they needed a new ‘big bad’.
With the characters that ended their run after Phase 3, they had to introduce new ones that would fill the spot they had vacated. For a time, they took advantage of Disney’s new streaming service Disney Plus to start ushering in the new generation of heroes.
The series WandaVision, Hawkeye, Loki and Falcon and the Winter Soldier came and went being bridges to what was and what was to be. Putting a foot into the door eventually led to the currently running Multiverse Saga of the MCU.
It was in Loki where a potential ‘big bad’ was truly introduced. At the time, there wasn’t much noise about Kang the Conqueror. In the series, Jonathan Majors debuted in the MCU as He Who Remains at the end of the Sacred Timeline.
Afterwards, Marvel Studios made the move to announce that Majors is set to carry the MCU on his shoulders. President Kevin Feige was all praises for Majors not four months ago prior to the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which kicked off Phase 5 of the MCU.
Then the momentous Saturday evening of March 25, 2023, happened when the Loki and Creed actor got arrested in Manhattan on charges of misdemeanour, strangulation, assault, and harassment brought about by an alleged domestic dispute with his partner. The actor is now scheduled on June 13 to appear in court in person after showing up via Zoom last May 9.
The whole situation not only puts the actor’s entire career in a bind but also endangers what Marvel Studio has planned for its entire narrative revolving around his character in the MCU. However, an industry insider reveals that Kang in the MCU wasn’t always the main villain as it now appears.
Jonathan Majors’ In Loki And Ant-Man Gave The MCU The Vision Forward
In a report from Collider, industry insider Joanna Robinson talked about how Jonathan Majors’ performance in Loki as He Who Remains and in Ant-Man 3 as Kang gave the studio sort of a lightbulb moment on how to move forward with the MCU.
Robinson spoke on The Ringer’s The Big Picture podcast. The insider is also the writer and author of the upcoming book titled MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios. During the podcast, Robinson stated that Marvel never intended to make Kang the next ‘big bad’ of the MCU. It was only after they saw Majors’s performance and audiences’ reactions to his performance that they considered the idea.
Upcoming book author Robinson said:
I was told by someone who works for Marvel, it was not the plan to make Kang the center of everything until they saw the dailies from ‘Quantumania’ and after his performance in ‘Loki,’ which was so strong they were like,
‘This is it. This is our way forward. We’ve lost our varsity hero team, but let’s set up around this guy Kang and this performer that so many people are reacting to.’
Thus at the time, the studio clung to the supposed story anchor that was to be Kang. A character that was to be delivered by Majors. Back then, it was undoubtedly going smoothly with Majors career moving at an upward trajectory. And then the charges happened. Robinson commented:
We know this is a huge problem for them that they are facing and grappling with right now.
And what’s unprecedented in this for Marvel is, I would argue they have never hung so much of a franchise on one actor, as they tried to hang it on Jonathan Majors after his ‘Loki’’performance and his ‘Ant-Man: Quantumania’ performance.
For the studio to put an entire saga to rely on one actor is truly unprecedented. She continued:
I would argue more than Downey as Iron Man, more than Brolin as Thanos, that hanging everything on this guy is then going to pop up in all of their properties leading up to something called ‘The Kang Dynasty’ has put them in a very unusual position.
Indeed, Robert Downey Jr. may have Tony Stark as a huge jewel in his actor crown, but the Infinity War narrative did not entirely depend on Tony Stark. Neither did the success of the three phases of the MCU depend on Josh Brolin’s Thanos. Every actor who appeared in the Infinity Saga had every bit of importance to the arc, making it so remarkable and phenomenal.
But the entire Multiverse Saga depends on Kang the Conqueror, thereby depending on Majors? That is truly a ‘Major’ thing. Robinson pointed out:
They don’t usually hang this much on one person in the way that they did here. And that has put them in the bind. We do not know what they are going to do. I’ve hear conflicting stories about they are going to replace him, they’re not even considering replacing him etc etc. But it’s just one more thing.
Jonathan Majors’ Situation Puts MCU In a Bind
Indeed this sounds like Marvel has taken such a huge risk on betting on Jonathan Majors. Even if the assault charges did not happen, say it were in another universe, that is still a considerable risk for the studio. It also says a lot about how much faith Marvel Studios has in Majors on seeing this role and arc through.
While Majors still has a hearing to attend, he is innocent until proven guilty. However, online judgement towards his character outside his profession is already painting an unfavourable image of the actor. Majors has since lost projects and company affiliates, and it seems that people are losing faith in him.
The good thing going for him is that Marvel and Disney appear to have no plans on making any move for now. Although, there may already be specific measures taken to limit his connection to future titles, just in case. Still, at least Majors has Marvel and Disney still appearing to be believing in him and his talent.
What do you make of the MCU only determining how to move forward after seeing Jonathan Majors perform as Kang? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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