Some Brief Major Thoughts

By | Wednesday, December 20, 2023 Leave a Comment
I generally try to focus on actual comics and not movies/film that those comics inspired but, for lack of a decent topic today, I'll drop a few quick words on the Jonathan Majors stuff.

For a quick background, Jonathan Majors was cast to play Kang the Conqueror back in 2021. He was the primary antaognist in the Loki series as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The end scredits scene to that movie set the character up as the overarching villain for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, in fact, one of the movies announced in 2022 was even called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. However, back in March, Majors was arrested on charges of assault and harassment, charges which he was found guilty of earlier this week. Later that same day, it was officially announced that Marvel fired him based on the guilty verdict.

First, given how much of the next slate of Marvel movies and TV shows revolved around Kang and how Majors has been central to the character's portrayal, I will say that I respect the decision to fire him in lieu of the situation. Clearly, Marvel had been deliberating that for a while before the verdict was handed down, but Hollywood does have a long history of letting big name actors get away with that kind of behavior, especially in light of whatever plans they've got lined up.

Although, frankly, as the way Marvel has set up their movie franchise, they've got quite a bit of room to manuever. Firstly, recasting the role wouldn't be unheard of. Replacing Ed Norton with Mark Ruffalo kind of flew under the radar -- there was even a minor, but extended debate for a few years whether The Incredible Hulk even counted as a part of the MCU -- and replacing Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle was also early enough in the franchise that it wasn't considered that significant. But even Thanos has been portrayed by three different actors at this point, so Majors wouldn't be the first change-up in that regard.

In the second place, the first season of Loki focused around how different changes in parallel universes led to radicallly different outcomes in characters. We saw five different actors portray a version of Loki and a sixth version was just a computer-rendered alligator! And when Kang finally appeared on screen (as "He Who Remains"), he explained how he had already spent a great deal of time actively fighting all of his variants. And while the variants we did see (in the end credits scene of Quantumania) were all portrayed by Majors, Marvel has already established this built-in "trap door" that they could throw literally any other actor -- or even a CGI animal! -- into the role and it would already have had a precedent. Within the context of what they've already established, they wouldn't need an additional explanation and, even if they wanted one, it wouldn't need to be more than a line or two of dialogue.

Depending on the precise nature of how Marvel Studios had mapped out the ongoing Kang plot, they could also potentially switch to another overarching villain. With the upcoming Fantastic Four film, there's a wealth of great villain opportunities even beyond the obviousness of Dr. Doom. Mole Man and some massive kaiju, Annihilus, Galactus, the Frightful Four, the Mad Thinker... lots of interesting directions they could go.

Ultimately, as just an audience memeber for the whole MCU, there's nothing of note here. It's not like the guilty verdict will have massive repercussions within the MCU. Marvel will have to make a few creative decisions, but there's nothing so radical as to completely throw them off track. So I'll just wait until the next piece rolls out, and just appreciate that they didn't just give a pass on Major's assault because he was a key player in their upcoming work.
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