Marvel Studios’ quiet reset is a perfect chance to act like Doctor Doom was always the plan

A Doctor Doom cosplayer
A Doctor Doom cosplayer

Marvel Studios finally announced the cast for its new, highly anticipated Fantastic Four movie last week—with Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm—and everyone seems to agree that the movie could be/should be a perfect opportunity to gently reset the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, it’s about an iconic superhero team and it might be a period piece, both of which should give it some freedom to move around without worrying too much about established MCU canon (which, while the movie was fun, did drag down The Marvels quite a bit).

But it’s not just us who think that, as The Hollywood Reporter published a piece today suggesting that Marvel is “quietly retooling” its MCU plans after the box office struggles of Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels, plus the reckless assault conviction of Kang actor Jonathan Majors, who had been set up to be the main villain in future MCU movies. According to this THR piece, though, Marvel had planned to “minimize” Majors and Kang even before the conviction, presumably as part of this “retooling,” and 2026’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will now be getting a new name.

We have no way of knowing if it’s true that this was always the plan, but it’s certainly convenient either way. With the Fantastic Four cast confirmed and—as far as we can tell—being generally well-received, Marvel is in a position to recenter its plans around that team, which also means it has a good excuse to introduce a character who is arguably the most famous villain in Marvel Comics history: Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four’s nemesis, who pointedly has not been cast yet (again, as far as we can tell).

If Fantastic Four is really a period piece set in the ‘60s, then Marvel can give him some kind of humanizing origin in that movie and then bring Doctor Doom in as a fully-formed supervillain wherever and whenever it wants—like, say, in the movie that was once called The Kang Dynasty. Plus, the next Avengers movie after that will reportedly still be called Secret Wars, which was a comics event closely tied to Doom anyway, so it might be an even easier fit to make that movie all about him fighting the Fantastic Four and the Avengers (unless Marvel follows the second Secret Wars event, where Doom was more or less a good guy, which would be a lot of fun).

Hell, Doom is even a megalomaniac time traveler in the comics, which was Kang’s big hook, so Marvel could clear out several issues with one line of dialogue, something like “a future version of Doctor Doom erased all of the versions of Kang from the multiverse to eliminate the competition.” Boom, your old villain is gone and your new villain is clearly bigger and badder than he ever was.

Whether or not this was always the plan, Marvel is in a perfect spot to make it seem like it was, and that might be the most important thing anyway.