Is the MCU Pivoting Away From Kang? It’s Complicated
The Marvel Cinematic Universe may be shifting away from its main villain, Kang the Conqueror. First revealed in the season 1 finale of Loki, Kang, also known as He Who Remains, has been built up as the main antagonist for the next Avengers movies. One of the upcoming Avengers films is even (currently) called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
So, why is Marvel potentially moving away from the Kang storyline?
In March 2023, Kang’s actor, Jonathan Majors, was arrested for a domestic dispute. This dispute reported that Majors harassed, assaulted, and strangled his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. The trial is ongoing, but Majors’ actions have not helped his defense, with many accusing him of attempting to shift the narrative to make Jabbari the perpetrator and himself the victim.
Marvel and Disney’s response
However, the Loki finale and Marvel’s recent restructuring seem to indicate that change is coming. At the very least, the Loki season 2 finale has provided an opportunity for a monumental shift in strategy.
The Loki finale revealed that the TVA is keeping an eye on all Kang variants to prevent Kang from rising again. Loki has also taken Kang’s place as “He Who Remains,” meaning he could potentially influence Kang’s appearance, providing a reason for the role to be recast—if he appears again at all.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty has parted ways with its director, Destin Daniel Cretton. Cretton is still working on Shang-Chi 2 and Wonder Man with Marvel, however, which indicates that the working relationship between Cretton and the company is still strong. This loss implies that Marvel Studios and Disney may be taking the future Avengers movies in a different direction—away from Kang and Majors. The original writer for The Kang Dynasty, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s Jeff Loveness, was also taken off the project, which podcaster and Marvel insider Joanna Robinson claims is because of the MCU’s narrative shift away from Kang.
Marvel, on the whole, appears to be delaying many projects, with Deadpool 3 the only Marvel Studios film currently slated for release in 2024. This is partially due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, both of which were only recently resolved, but also because the company is returning to the drawing board on some of its upcoming projects. Whether this is because of Majors or because of other critiques of the MCU’s recent output, we do not know. It’s likely a combination of both.
If there were ever a time to change strategy, it would be now. The MCU needs to slow down, take a breath, and come back stronger than ever.
(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
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