According to one insider, Marvel Studios changed its Phase 6 plan all because of Loki's Jonathan Majors.
Majors made his MCU debut in the Multiversal streaming series, popping up as the villainous Kang the Conqueror, a name that is seemingly set to become the next big bad of the franchise.
However, all that is in question after the actor was arrested and charged with assault, an investigation that remains ongoing. Because of this, Marvel Studios' Majors-centric plan may be in flux, but word remains that the studio "hasn't made any decisions" on the star's future as of yet.
A lot seems to be resting on the Kang actors' shoulders, but it looks as though it may not have always been that way.
A Major Change to Phase 6 of the MCU
According to a new report, Phase 5 & 6 of the MCU was not always as Kang-focused as currently looks to be.
Speaking on The Ringer's The Big Picture podcast, writer and author of the upcoming MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios book Joanna Robinson claimed that she heard "it was not the plan to make Kang the center of everything" in the latter phases of the Multiverse Saga, but after Marvel Studios brass saw "the dailies from [Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania] and after [Jonathan Majors'] performance in Loki" that they decided to focus on the actor and his Kang character more heavily:
"I was told by someone who works for Marvel, it was not the plan to make Kang the center of everything until they saw the dailies from 'Quantumania' and after his performance in 'Loki,' which was so strong they were like, 'This is it. This is our way forward. We’ve lost our varsity hero team, but let’s set up around this guy Kang and this performer that so many people are reacting to.'"
Robinson is a reputable senior writer for Vanity Fair who has written pieces including a cover story regarding the history of Marvel Studios that led to her authoring of the upcoming MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, demonstrating her acute awareness of the inner workings of the company.
The writer added that she would argue Marvel has "never hung so much of a franchise on one actor" as they have on Jonathan Majors, which puts the studio in a hard place given the actor's recent legal troubles:
"I don’t think you or I are very interested in saying what Marvel should or shouldn’t do going forward, but we know this is a huge problem for them that they are facing and grappling with right now. And what’s unprecedented in this for Marvel is, I would argue they have never hung so much of a franchise on one actor, as they tried to hang it on Jonathan Majors after his 'Loki’'performance and his 'Ant-Man: Quantumania' performance."
Robinson mentioned that she believes Marvel's "unusual position" is largely because of "hang[ing] this much on one person in the way that they [have]:"
"I would argue more than Downey as Iron Man, more than Brolin as Thanos, that hanging everything on this guys is then going to pop up in all of their properties leading up to something called 'The Kang Dynasty' has put them in a very unusual position. They don’t usually hang this much on one person in the way that they did here."
The big question remains if Majors will be recast, seeing as Phase 6 is so Kang-centric, to which Robinson noted "[she's heard] conflicting stories:"
"And that has put them in the bind. We do not know what they are going to do. I’ve hear conflicting stories about they are going to replace him, they’re not even considering replacing him etc etc. But it’s just one more thing.”
Kang Was Not Always the Plan
With such a major focus having been put on Jonathan Majors and his Multiversal Marvel villain, this is the first indication that he was not initially going to have as much of the Phase 6 spotlight as it looks like he is supposed to (at least with plans as they currently stand).
But what could that original Phase 6 plan have looked like?
Well, the most likely answer was Marvel Studios simply did not have a plan. Not to say they were completely directionless after the Infinity Saga came to a close, with the idea of Multiversal storytelling feeling like a natural next step for the franchise.
The early days of the post-Endgame MCU included some time to work on smaller character stories, giving the Marvel Studios' creative team breathing room before they had to lock down on a concrete direction.
And then after seeing Majors' Loki performance and some early footage from Quantumania, it would make sense they would want to invest as heavily as they did.
However, all could be for naught if the studio is forced to recast the actor that they "hung" the future of the franchise on because of his alleged off-the-screen antics.