Marvel is not going through its best moment at the image level, and the arrest of Jonathan Majors has been the final straw for a few days in which the company is having to see how its immaculate image as a family entertainment factory is tainted by a succession of problems that could tarnish the future of their productions. From the departure of one of its most important executives to an announcement of massive layoffs, through the arrest of a key player for the future of the MCU.
The Jonathan Majors case. Last Saturday, Majors was arrested, accused of assaulting a 30-year-old woman. The woman was taken to the hospital, where minor injuries to her neck and head were detected, and a preliminary report determined that it was an incident of domestic violence. The actor was released shortly after.
Majors was charged hours later with three counts of attempted assault in the third degree, one count of aggravated stalking in the second degree and one count of stalking in the second degree. His lawyer defends that Majors is innocent and that “he is possibly the victim in this case.” Either way, this ugly incident raises questions about the actor’s future at Marvel.
Kang’s role. Majors is (or was) one of the youngest actors with the most projection of the moment. His revelation was almost simultaneous as the lead in the memorable ‘Lovecraft County’ for HBO and in ‘Da 5 Bloods: Brothers in Arms’ by Spike Lee. After starring in ‘Harder the Fall’ he had broken into the Marvel Universe as Kang in the surprising conclusion to the first season of ‘Loki’ and as a nemesis in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp. Quantumania’. Added to this good moment in his career was his role in the highly successful ‘Creed III’, where he had had the opportunity to display his excellent physical condition.
Kang’s role could be key to the future of Marvel. The next phases of the MCU remain as usual under wraps, but the movie equivalent of Thanos on the horizon had yet to be revealed. There were bets about whether the multiverses we’ve seen in movies like ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ or ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ would become the new narrative key to future phases. If so, it was clear that Kang had a place reserved, especially after the post-credits scene of ‘Quantumania’.
Kang vs. Thanos. Marvel had already stated that Kang was important to their plans: Vice President of Production and Development Stephen Broussard commented on the March episode of the D23 Inside Disney podcast that it was only natural for fans to expect more appearances from Kang now that it was known that one of the Avengers movies would carry the subtitle ‘The Kang Dynasty’. He recalled that “when we look back at the end of the Infinity Saga, in which Thanos was the big villain, we have to keep in mind that we didn’t really know where the first three phases were going.”
Broussard says that Marvel does not want the presence of Kang and Thanos to follow similar lines, and that for this reason, the interpretation of Majors was going to be “very different” from that of previous villains. Still, and despite his key presence in the multiverse saga, he says “I don’t think he’s going to appear in every movie.” And he remembers that Thanos was only seen twice before the clash of ‘Infinity War’.
Marvel’s options. Marvel has not yet made any statements, as usual, about the future of Majors in the franchise. Possibly until we have a firm sentence or until Disney considers how public opinion reacts (at the moment unfriendly statements from the actor’s ex-colleagues are beginning to come out) no decisions will be made. But if they decide to change it, it is very possible that the plot context of the multiverse itself allows them to change the actor without changing the character.
Let’s remember that it is not the first time that Marvel has done something similar. The most remembered case is that of Terrence Howard, a conflicting actor who gave life to War Machine in ‘Iron Man’. His interpreter (more secondary at that time than Majors’, yes) was exchanged without further complications for another actor, Don Cheadle, from ‘Iron Man 2’. Edward Norton, interpreter of the Hulk in the second MCU film, was also replaced by Mark Ruffalo due to creative differences with Marvel. The options are almost endless, like the multiverse.
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