There’s no denying that Kang the Conqueror was pivotal to the MCU’s Phase 5 success. The MCU needed another huge cosmic threat now that Thanos is gone, and Kang stepped up to the challenge thanks to Jonathan Majors’ performance. But now, we find the MCU potentially looking at villain alternatives in lieu of Majors’ sexual assault charges.
The MCU doesn’t often find itself in bad luck with its casting choices (at least compared to the DCEU), but this one was a major blow to their plans. The even bigger question is, will the MCU replace Kang?
As of now, there is no official statement from Marvel regarding the change of direction or what they plan to do with Jonathan Majors’s Kang role at the time of writing. However, that isn’t to say that the MCU is inflexible.
In fact, the original plans for Phases 5 and 6 didn’t involve Kang as the Thanos-level villain at all. Jonathan Majors, however, gave a stellar performance as Kang in the Loki Disney+ series that the MCU changed their plans to highlight him as the big bad, which is fitting since Kang in the comic books was such a huge menace that he could even dwarf Thanos—figuratively.
But just as the MCU changed their plans for Phases 5 and 6 to revolve around Kang, they could also retract the decision and pick another villain for the role of the cosmic big bad evil guy. It just so happens that there’s a rich pool of villain alternatives to choose from in the comic books. We’ll go over the strongest candidates while we wait for the verdict on ‘Will the MCU replace Kang?’
Just throw an inevitable planet eater into the mix and call it a day. No need for a special A-lister since Galactus can take any shape or form depending on the beholder’s perception. Galactus is practically a sentient black hole that only lives to devour planets in the universe like a buffet not unlike certain villains in Guardians of the Galaxy.
So it’s easy to give it a believable motivation– something that’s thankful not as clunky or as questionable as Thanos’ faux-idealist plans. It would definitely take the biggest brains in the Avengers and some heartbreaking defeats just to find a solution against Galactus.
Most of the big MCU villains thus far have been methodical and scientific juggernauts who either use technology or their brains to defeat the Avengers.
He’s also a demon and the resident “Satan” of the Marvel mythos. Mephisto calls his realm “Hell” in order to take advantage of humans’ fear. It’s actually hard to pinpoint the true nature of his being or what he is exactly, and that’s one of the few things that makes him an interesting villain.
Disney+ series like Wandavision have already toyed with the concept of Mephisto, and a good actor can make him a worthwhile villain. Perhaps even Doctor Strange’s film series could act as some kind of introduction for Mephisto now that the MCU is struggling with its major villain.
In many ways, Doctor Doom was the ultimate likable villain of the Marvel universe. He was once a human and the bitter nemesis of Fantastic 4’s Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic).
Victor Von Doom rose to power on his own merit and combined both science and magic as his weapons, eventually becoming a reality-altering god-being that pulled Thanos’s spine effortlessly in the Marvel comic books during his peak. That’s what makes him one of the most impressive characters in the Marvel universe– there’s no limit to his ambition.
Of course, integrating Doom into the MCU will take a lot of work and build-up; but seeing as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness already introduced Reed Richards, it could be feasible.
Thanks to Peter Parker in his latest film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, we now know that there’s a leftover strain of the Venom symbiote running amok in some beach resort in the MCU’s main universe.
That post-credits sequence opens up plenty of doors for symbiotes in the MCU, but since Sony has already covered the prominent ones, such as Carnage or Riot, what’s left for the MCU is Knull, the symbiote god.
He’s a relatively new face in the Marvel villain gallery though he has already caused a huge commotion and quickly became a popular villain. His power is the primordial darkness itself, making his appearance in the MCU far from the usual cookie-cutter evil science villain.
Imagine an insect that was supposed to be a seed to a civilization growing up into a hateful and dominating warlord who knows nothing else but wiping out anything he can’t conquer. That’s Annihilus, and he can also replace Kang.
He’s been a thorn in many Marvel superheroes’ sides for decades now since he’s practically impossible to kill without resurrecting into an even more powerful and angrier version of himself.
On-screen, there’s a big chance that he’ll be a bit too bland if they stay too faithful to the comic book version, but a bit of screenwriting magic and adaptation can change that and turn him into a more interesting villain.
One of the few things that made Thanos unstoppable was the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones. This allowed him to control the universe in all its aspects. What if there was a villain who didn’t even need the Gauntlet and Stones to do that? Well, there is in the comic books, and he’s called Molecule Man.
He can do pretty much anything, from bending reality to his whims to being an immortal being. However, his story was actually somewhat tragic since his powers weren’t given out of goodwill or due to a cosmic accident. Molecule Man was supposed to be a living bomb that higher beings would later use in order to wipe out and reset the Marvel Multiverse.
That angle of his story has good potential to transform him into a memorable MCU villain– under the right hands, of course.
The higher beings that “gave” power to Moleculre Man? None other than the Beyonders. The so-called The Beyonder is one of the most powerful and troublesome among them. He could control anything, and the universe is essentially his diorama.
Think of him as a child that sees the Avengers and even the biggest and baddest villains in the Marvel universe as nothing more than action figures to toy with. He even once created a “Battleworld” domain in the universe where he pitted the strongest metahumans and superheroes in a grand battle arena.
As you can expect, defeating something like The Beyonder is way beyond the Avengers, and it might even be too early for the MCU to introduce something like this without knotting the brains of their viewers with all the necessary characters and exposition. But if they do it elegantly, it might very well just become an even grander crossover event than any Avengers movie prior.