The rollercoaster ride that is Marvel‘s Multiverse Saga keeps on turning. For, although it looked like the MCU was sticking by Jonathan Majors given his integral role in Loki season 2, it now appears his days as Kang the Conqueror are numbered.
According to a startling Variety report, Marvel execs and creatives recently hotly debated what to do with Majors and Kang at the studio’s annual Palm Springs retreat. Interestingly, despite fans assuming the most likely outcome would be the character getting recast, Marvel is known to be debating removing Kang as the Multiverse Saga’s big bad period and switching him out for a different villain.
If that is the road the studio decides to go down, luckily for Marvel, this universe isn’t short of iconic and/or powerful bad guys to pick from as Kang’s replacement. Here’s a few of the most compelling options.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. As has naturally got fans talking, Variety confirmed that one of the characters Marvel is considering replacing Kang with is none other than the Fantastic Four’s eternal nemesis, the ruler of Latveria himself, Victor Von Doom. After Fox managed to screw him up twice over, the MCU certainly needs to do Doom justice at long last, and yes, casting him as the all-important chief threat of the Multiverse Saga would be one way to do that. Of course, there’s even comic book precedence for this, given that Victor is the big bad of 2015’s Secret Wars event, in his God Emperor Doom form.
The big bad of 1984’s original Secret Wars event, meanwhile, is the Beyonder. With everything pointing to Avengers: Secret Wars being a soft reboot of the MCU, it’s likely the movie will borrow from the 2015 storyline (which likewise hit the reset button of continuity) more than the ’84 version. Still, the Beyonder would still easily slip into the MCU’s mythos, given that it’s been introducing more and more cosmic entities of late (e.g. the Watcher and Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Eternity). We even just got a — highly camp and comedic — adaptation of the Beyonder in Disney’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur cartoon.
Marvel has developed a bit of an obsession with Dark Doctor Stranges, with the very similar but distinct variants Strange Supreme and Sinister Strange appearing in What If…? and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, respectively. In the latter, we discovered that every Strange across reality is destined to break bad except for the 616 model. Giving Benedict Cumberbatch a pay rise and asking him to step into Majors’ shoes as the Multiverse Saga’s big bad would be a simple way of fixing the Kang problem by making use of pre-established continuity. Alternatively, how about Charlize Theron’s Clea turning out to be the bad’un?
OK, so if Marvel is tempted to use a Fantastic Four villain that Fox failed to adapt properly as a Kang replacement, then why couldn’t they do the same with an X-Men villain? One who’s certainly powerful enough to pose a widespread thread is Apocalypse — you don’t get a name like that by being a mere nuisance. As tempting as it would be to have Oscar Isaac pull double duty as Moon Knight and En-Sabah-Nur, an all-new variant of Apocalypse, to distance him from the Fox version, would definitely be the way to go if the ancient mutant did rise up to steal Kang’s spotlight.
It’s easy to mix up Annihilus with Apocalypse for those not too familiar with the comics characters, due to their similar names and character designs, but actually Annihilus has a lot in common with the MCU’s Kang, which could make him a neat choice to fill his boots. Like Kang is the ruler of the Quantum Realm, Annihilus is the ruler of the Negative Zone and craves total domination of the universe. They even both have a thing for purple and green! Marvel could easily retcon him as a Kang variant, perhaps the deadliest of them all, and set him loose on the Avengers in Avengers:
Kang Dynasty Annihilation.
Again, What If…? really could hold the secret to rescuing the Multiverse Saga, thanks to its various multiversal plotlines. We’ve already met Infinity Ultron, a variant of the android who was far more ambitious than Thanos in wielding the Infinity Stones. Get James Spader back, bring him into live-action and, boom, job done — a powerful villain who would hark back to the nostalgia of the MCU’s first two phases. He’d be especially deadly if Miss Minutes ever evolved into Jocasta, the Bride of Ultron, as Loki season 2 has suggested could happen.
Speaking of Loki season 2, maybe we’re thinking too hard about this when a totally creditable choice to replace Kang as big bad has already been threaded into the Multiverse Saga’s narrative. In Loki, we’ve learned that Ravonna Renslayer was once Kang’s partner in war, multiverse conquest, and love, until he wiped her memories and trapped her in a TVA desk job. She’s now more furious, vengeful, and power-hungry than ever. Given we’re told she was instrumental in winning the Multiverse War for He Who Remains, she should theoretically be a challenge for the Avengers to beat.
Thinking along similar lines, who else is there already knocking around the Multiverse Saga who could easily step up in Kang’s stead? Well, how about the villain of Phase Five’s most acclaimed movie so far, the High Evolutionary? James Gunn has confirmed that the evil scientist is still alive at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Seeing how obsessed he was with playing God in the threequel, imagine how much more dangerous the High Evolutionary would get if he discovered the multiverse and teamed up with his variants to make himself ruler of all reality?
Weirdly enough, it feels like the shadow of Mephisto has been hanging over the Multiverse Saga as much as Kang, even though he has yet to appear on screen. Starting with WandaVision, folks have been convinced Marvel’s answer to the devil can’t be far away. And it is heavily rumored that Sacha Baron Cohen’s mystery character in Ironheart could be the horned hell lord himself. It would be a seriously impressive example of the power of fandom if everyone’s hunger for the character resulted in Mephisto becoming the big bad of the whole saga.
No, I’m serious. Hear me out…
We know Marvel’s desperate to recapture the glory days of the Infinity Saga, yes? It’s even tempted to bring back Robert Downey Jr. and the other OG Avengers. But let’s extend that line of thinking for a moment and ponder the question… What if Thanos replaced Kang as big bad? Either bring in an even deadlier variant or reveal that he never actually died when Iron Man dusted him, as has been heavily theorized.
There’s a reason Star Wars keeps coming back to Darth Vader over and over. Try as Lucasfilm might, he’s impossible to top. Likewise, Thanos is Marvel’s greatest villain and it’s not going to be able to recapture the impact he made on audiences and pop culture alike. So maybe it’s time to stop fighting that and embrace it.
– Armessa Movie News