Marvel Studios Considers Replacing Star Jonathan Majors Amid Actor’s Legal Struggles and MCU’s Box Office Disappointments

Marvel Studios Considers Replacing Star Jonathan Majors Amid Actor’s Legal Struggles and MCU’s Box Office Disappointments

Amid his recent controversial legal struggles, actor Jonathan Majors’ future with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) remains unclear. However, according to a new report from Variety, Marvel Studios may have already begun the process of replacing his role of Kang the Conqueror, which he debuted in last year’s sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, with Doctor Doom.

In the report, Variety stated that, regardless of the outcome of the legal issues Majors is facing, Marvel is allegedly already been considering moving away from him being a major focus in the MCU. Their decision is also influenced by the final entry in the original solo Ant-Man trilogy, which struggled to make a profit.

The film earned just over $470 million at the box office, against a budget of $200 million, which didn’t include its marketing costs. The figure is considered to be low for an MCU film.

If Majors face more legal issues and Marvels replaces his role of Kang the Conqueror, it wouldn’t be the first time a major character had to be recast in the MCU. Terrence Howard was previously replaced in Iron Man 2 with Don Cheadle in the role of James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine.

Majors is currently facing three counts of third-degree assault, second-degree aggravated harassment, three counts of third-degree attempted assault and second-degree harassment. The charges stem from an incident in March in which he was accused of assaulting a 30-year-old woman.

Police stated that the Loki star allegedly struck the victim “about the face with an open hand, causing substantial pain and a laceration behind her ear.” Additionally, he allegedly grabbed her hand and neck, “causing bruising and substantial pain.”

A previous report from ABC News notes that Majors made the 911 call himself, which police responded to. The call was “purportedly over concerns about his girlfriend, whom he lives with in a penthouse apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood” of New York City.

After police arrived on the scene, Major’s girlfriend told officers they were in a taxi together after returning from a bar, which is when she alleges that Majors physically attacked her. The actor was then arrested after police noticed marks on the woman.

Majors’ criminal defense lawyer previously stated the actor is “provably innocent.” The actor’s attorney expects the charges to be dropped due to multiple witnesses and written retractions from the victim, followed by a later claim that there is video evidence of Majors’ innocence.

The report of Marvel considering moving away from their collaboration with Majors comes after company executives, including chief Kevin Feige, met in Palm Springs last month for the studio’s annual retreat. While there, the executives discussed how to handle Kang the Conqueror, a character who was supposed to be the MCU’s next major adversary but whose future is now in doubt, due to the actor’s upcoming trial.

If Marvel’s executives do decide to replace Kang in the next phase of the MCU with Doctor Doom, a notorious Fantastic Four villain, may prove to be difficult. Besides Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Majors’ character has also already been introduced and established in the Loki television series.

The show’s second season, particularly its finale, which airs on Nov. 9, sets up Kang as the main titular villain in the fifth Avengers movie, The Kang Dynasty. The sequel is currently scheduled to be released in 2026.

Marvel hasn’t made any officials decisions about Kang yet, and how he’ll fit into the MCU’s next phase of interlocking slate of sequels, spinoffs and series. The studio hasn’t had an opportunity to rewrite until very recently because of the months-long WGA strike.

Also, Doctor Doom hasn’t been introduced into the MCU yet, as no actor is attached to play the character. However, the character’s casting is expected to be announced soon, as the MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot is currently scheduled to be released on May 2, 2025.

Beyond the bad press for Majors, Marvel’s executives are also grappling with this month’s release of The Marvels, which serves as a follow-up to the 2019 blockbuster Captain Marvel. The sequel has been plagued with lengthy reshoots. It also now appears likely to underwhelm at the box office, due to its advance box office ticket sales being down approximately 50% from its predecessor.

This is all an unprecedented turn of fortune for a company that has enjoyed a nearly uninterrupted string of hits ever since it started independently producing its movies with 2008’s Iron Man. The franchise’s wildly profitable run culminated in the $2.8 billion success of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. That film marked the end of several of the original Avengers actors’ tenures in the franchise, including Robert John Downey Jr. as Iron Man.

Marvel has earned nearly $30 billion over 32 films since Iron Man‘s theatrical release 15 years ago. Replicating that success has become more difficult in recent years, however, especially since the start of COVID-19 in late 2019.

The pandemic ushered in a mandate to help boost Disney’s stock price with an endless torrent of interconnected Marvel content for the studio’s fledgling streaming platform, Disney+. According to the plan, there would never be a lapse in superhero fare, with either a movie in theaters or a new television series streaming at any given moment.

But the endless release of so much programming, especially introducing interwoven storyline over so many disparate shows, movies and platforms created a muddled narrative that has baffled viewers. For example, The Marvels, which was directed by Nia DaCosta, unites Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson’s heroine Carol Danvers /Captain Marvel with two superpowered allies: Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, who was introduced in the 2021 Disney+ show WandaVision, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, who was introduced in last year’s Disney+ miniseries, Ms. Marvel.

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