Marvel Minimizing Kang’s Role and Retooling Scripts in Attempt to Revive MCU

Shannen Ace

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Marvel Minimizing Kang’s Role and Retooling Scripts in Attempt to Revive MCU

A new report from The Hollywood Reporter details some shake-ups at Marvel Studios in the wake of Jonathan Majors being found guilty of assault and various Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) projects underperforming.

Avengers 5 and the Future of the MCU

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Majors portrayed Kang the Conquerer in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” and various versions of him in the “Loki” series. After his guilty verdict, Marvel quickly fired him and reportedly began calling the fifth Avengers film just “Avengers 5” instead of the previously announced “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.”

According to THR, Marvel was already planning to minimize the role of Kang in the MCU after “Quantumania” didn’t meet box office expectations with a gross of $476 million. THR also confirmed that “Avengers 5” will get a new title without the Kang name. It’s not clear yet if the character is being cut entirely or just minimized.

Fantastic Four

MCU Fantastic Four Valentine's Day poster

In the wake of a successful release of the “Deadpool & Wolverine” trailer during the Super Bowl, Marvel announced the cast of their new “Fantastic Four” film. The third adaptation of Marvel’s first family will be set in the 1960s and stars Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Joseph Quinn.

THR states Marvel has hired Eric Pearson to polish the film’s script before it starts production in London this summer. Pearson has previously worked on “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Widow.” Marvel is relying on “Fantastic Four” to be a major film for the franchise.

Disney+

X-Men '97 characters

Marvel also released the trailer for “X-Men ’97,” a revival of the 1990s animated series which will premiere on Disney+ in March.

Other upcoming Disney+ Marvel shows include “Agatha: Darkhold Diaries,” a spinoff of “WandaVision” starring Kathryn Hahn. This is the third name for the series, which is expected to premiere this fall. Marvel completed reshoots in one day in early February, which has reportedly given Marvel a “sunny outlook” about the show.

THR also reports that, following a poor response to “Secret Invasion” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Marvel is reorganizing operations to give showrunners greater control. “Daredevil: Born Again” got a major creative overhaul in the wake of “Secret Invasion” and production recently resumed on the show.

Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts characters
Source: IGN

Marvel hired Joanna Calo to retool the script for “Thunderbolts,” which will begin production in Atlanta this March. It was originally scheduled to start filming last spring but work was halted amid the Hollywood strikes.

“Thunderbolts” stars Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, a role she reprises from “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye.” Other Marvel villains, anti-heroes, and morally ambiguous characters are set to appear. Artwork released when the film was announced also features Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian (David Harbour in “Black Widow”), Antonia Dreykov / Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko in “Black Widow”), John Walker / Captain America / U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”), Ava Starr / Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”), and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Black Widow” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”).

Steven Yeun was also cast in the film and was expected to play a major role; he dropped out of the project due to the delays resulting from last year’s strikes. Harrison Ford would likely appear as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, the namesake of the team. Ford is taking over the role from William Hurt, who passed away in 2022 after appearances in several MCU films. Ford is confirmed to play Ross in “Captain America: Brave New World.”

According to a THR source, “The focus is internal this year” when it comes to Marvel’s changes. Disney CEO Bob Iger has indicated continued plans to reduce how much all Disney studios, but particularly Marvel, put out so they can focus more on quality.

“They’re not going to give up,” a source said. “They want to make something great.” 

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