Marvel has allegedly contemplated replacing Jonathan Majors’ Kang character with a new villain, pivoting to the comics baddie Dr. Doom, according to a new report.
The detail, which was reportedly floated at Marvel’s annual retreat in Palm Springs back in September amid Majors’ ongoing legal woes, is just one among a larger investigation by Variety that alleges other recent challenges and disarray at Marvel Studios despite the studio’s history of box office dominance.
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Representatives for Marvel and Disney did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request for comment.
In the case of Majors, Variety’s report says that recasting Majors is an option. The actor’s bid to have his case dismissed was rejected, meaning he will stand trial later in November. Complicating the issue of whether to recast the character or replace Kang as the villain is the finale of the second season of “Loki” that airs on Nov. 9. Variety quotes a top dealmaker who says Marvel is “truly fucked with the whole Kang angle” based on how the series concludes, and that the writers strike has prevented the studio from rewriting until recently.
But issues extend beyond Majors. The report says at least one single episode of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” cost as much as $25 million to produce, which rivals epics such as “Game of Thrones,” and that visual effects improvements were added into the show after it and other MCU series had already begun streaming on Disney+.
The “She-Hulk” detail adds a new layer to the drama surrounding the exit of longtime post-production executive Victoria Alonso, who was let go from Marvel after violating the company’s policy on promotion for her Oscar-nominated passion project “Argentina, 1985” for a rival studio. The report claims “She-Hulk” had other script challenges that needed to be fixed in the editing room, resulting in the added strain on the VFX team. Frustration over Marvel’s VFX pipeline challenges have been well-documented, and it led to the formation of an unprecedented labor union for VFX workers. Marvel is already in the works on overhauling its TV development process, including adding more traditional showrunners and pilots as a means of quality control.
Next on the slate for Marvel is “The Marvels,” featuring the return of Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” character. Variety’s report says Marvel took the rare step of hosting a test screening with fans that underperformed, and that the movie also underwent costly reshoots. It claims director Nia DaCosta began prep on her next film “Hedda” starring Tessa Thompson while “The Marvels” was still in post-production. “The Marvels” cost a reported $250 million to make, and it is currently tracking to a domestic opening between $75-80 million.
Other speculation in the report includes the fate of “Blade” starring Mahershala Ali, which has gone through numerous writers and was shut down because of the writers strike weeks before production was slated to begin. One version of the script reportedly saw Ali’s character relegated to the fourth lead behind several female characters, with the story being heavy on life lessons. The film is now slated for a February 2025 release, and the report cites speculation from around town that it could now be produced for as little as $100 million, which would be a dramatic change of pace for Marvel in terms of budget.
The piece concludes by saying that the studio has considered reviving the original “Avengers” characters, including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, but that it has not committed to such a plan. Instead, with the writers strike concluded, the piece claims that the studio has begun talking with writers about how to bring the X-Men into the MCU fold, characters Marvel and Disney acquired from Fox in 2017.
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