The original Avengers could come back for another film - a plan that is currently the subject of heated discussion at Marvel. Whether Jonathan Majors will stick around as the supervillain Kang, however, seems highly doubtful at the moment, as there is a lot of unrest happening behind the scenes.
The MCU is in trouble - in serious trouble. The quality of the movies and series has been on the decline for years, and the interest of viewers is also dwindling. The people in charge are noticing this, too: Last September, studio chief Kevin Feige and his colleagues discussed the situation at an annual meeting in Palm Springs. There were three major topics, according to Variety: The many flops of late, the overwhelming workload of streaming projects and the legal scandals surrounding Jonathan Majors.
Marvel's Kang Problem
Due to the situation around the Kang actor, Marvel is locked in stalemate: Since "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" at the latest, he has been established as a new major antagonist around which the following movies and series are to revolve. According to insiders, this is also to be made clear once and for all in the final episode of "Loki" on November 9. Not to mention his titular role in the next Avengers movie: "The Kang Dynasty." When the first allegations of abuse made against Majors emerged in spring, Marvel was still playing for time, as work on the Avengers movie wasn't scheduled to start until early 2024 anyway.
Unfortunately, the situation continued to worsen and the writers' strike prevented the company from adjusting its plans for future projects. According to internal sources, the idea of giving up Majors already came up when "Ant-Man 3" flopped at the box office. At the meeting in Palm Springs, various alternatives have now been discussed, according to Variety - including an alternate villain: none other than Doctor Doom, best known as the antagonist of the Fantastic Four. Even a recasting of the Kang role is not entirely ruled out, after all, a recasting has already happened a couple of times in the history of the MCU - albeit only for supporting roles.
The MCU Expanded Too Fast
The other two points of criticism are closely related and can be summed up as follows: Marvel has taken on too much. After the end of Phase 3, the strategy was to never have a gap in superhero content, and to always have at least one feature film or series running. The result was chaotic conditions behind the scenes, poor organization of projects and overtaxing of CGI teams due to impossible deadlines. Movies and series were released with unfinished effects, people in charge like Victoria Alonso were fired, and the CGI teams joined together in a union to fight back against the working conditions.
Viewers were also overwhelmed and tired of the amount of content, some of which could only be comprehended if they had seen everything else. The MCU's only theatrical hit was "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" by James Gunn in 2023 - and he is now the new head of Marvel's biggest competitor, DC, of all places.
Here's How Marvel Plans to Save the MCU
Now the question is: What is Marvel planning on doing to turn around the negative trend? Some measures are already noticeable: The reboot of "Blade" with Mahershala Ali was initially supposed to be released in 2023, but was repeatedly postponed and rewritten due to Kevin Feige's dissatisfaction with the project. In addition, its budget was lowered significantly. Also, the series "Daredevil: Born Again" was recently set back to the start - even though most of it had already been shot.
Less money, less pressure, more time: That seems to be the new MCU approach for more quality and reduced losses, at least for some projects. But what about the really huge projects? The big Kang story is pending and the new superheroes are having a rather rough start with fans. According to various sources, there are thoughts of bringing back the old Avengers - including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. If Marvel were to take this step, it would definitely not be a cheap move.
There is another glimmer of hope: Following the takeover of 21st Century Fox, the X-Men and the "Fantastic Four" can finally be integrated into the MCU. Thus, Marvel has some popular characters up its sleeve that fans are interested in - without having to trouble any other heroes for a major hit. We're eager to find out whether Marvel can turn things around.