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Jonathan Major Dropped as Kang, But These 5 Recasts Show Marvel Can Nail The Problem

Jonathan Major Dropped as Kang, But These 5 Recasts Show Marvel Can Nail The Problem

Marvel Studios had big plans for the MCU’s next “big villain,” Kang the Conqueror, as a key figure in the ambitious Multiverse Saga. 

However, Jonathan Majors, the actor portraying Kang, was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend and subsequently dropped by Disney from his Marvel role. 

Although no official adjustments to the Multiverse Saga’s storyline have been announced – aside from the removal “The Kang Dynasty” from Avengers 5; this does not necessarily mean that Kang will be replaced.

That is because previously: Marvel has faced several similar situations before and often opted to recast characters. 

Below, we explore notable instances of recasting within Marvel and discuss the potential implications for Kang the Conqueror’s role.

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Colonel James Rhodes (War Machine)

One of the most noticeable changes in the MCU, evident to fans since “Iron Man” (2008), involves Colonel James Rhodes, or War Machine in subsequent sequels.

James “Rhodey” Rhodes first appeared in the MCU in “Iron Man” (2008), portrayed by actor Terrence Howard

Tony Stark & Rhodey - "Wheels up, Rock and Roll" Scene | Iron Man (2008) Movie Clip HD 4K

However, due to failed salary negotiations and behind-the-scenes drama, the character was recast in “Iron Man 2” (2010). Don Cheadle then took over the role of James Rhodes from Terrence Howard and continued to portray him in subsequent MCU films.

Iron-Man 2 | Rhodey Checks Up On Tony Scene | Disney+ [2010]

While it’s undeniable that Terrence Howard delivered a great performance, Don Cheadle’s portrayal brought a different energy to Rhodey, particularly with his humorous tone.

Moreover, in franchise superhero movies, commitment is crucial—not only for the producers but for the audience as well. 

"Why Don't We Just Find Baby Thanos" Scene | Avengers Endgame (2019) IMAX Movie Clip HD 4K

Fans have appreciated Cheadle’s chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark) and his dedication to the role.

It’s quite unfortunate that Howard never had another opportunity to wear the War Machine suit, echoing his line from the first film, “next time, baby,” which sadly never came to fruition, pal!

Iron Man (2008) - Next time, baby!

Bruce Banner (Hulk)

The next case, although quite low-key, was still noticeable: Doctor Bruce Banner himself.

Bruce Banner first appeared in the MCU in “The Incredible Hulk” (2008), portrayed by actor Edward Norton. 

THE INCREDIBLE HULK Clip - Antidote (2008) Edward Norton Marvel

However, in the “The Avengers” (2012), the character was recast: Mark Ruffalo took over the role of Bruce Banner from Edward Norton and has continued to portray him in subsequent MCU films.

Hulk - "I'm Always Angry" 1080p

Marvel Studios explained the recasting not as a financial decision but as a need for “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” 

This decision may have been influenced by rumors that Edward Norton often involved himself in the creative aspects of his projects, including adjustments to the script concerning his character.

Mark Ruffalo has been praised for his portrayal of Bruce Banner, emphasizing the character’s intelligence and inner struggles (with a little bit of humor as well). 

Hulk: "I See This As An Absolute Win" - Time Travel Test Scene - Avengers: Endgame (2019)


Visually, Ruffalo’s Banner differs slightly, with softer features and a more relatable demeanor, leaving the hulky aspects to the VFX department.

Bonus: Before Edward Norton, Eric Bana took on the role of Bruce Banner in “Hulk” (2003). Although the film did not achieve mainstream success, it laid the groundwork for the character’s portrayal on the silver screen.


Thanos is considered the most perfect villain of the MCU so far. Despite only officially emerging in the latest two Avengers movies, the Mad Titan also earns a spot on this list.

Thanos made his first appearance in the MCU during the mid-credits scene of “The Avengers” (2012), portrayed briefly by actor Damion Poitier.

Thanos & The Other (Mid-Credits Scene) The Avengers (2012) Movie Clip HD

However, starting from “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) onwards, the formidable villain was portrayed by Josh Brolin via motion capture.

This change in actors was not due to conflicts or scheduling issues but was a creative decision by Marvel Studios. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Thanos (Mid Credits Scene) HD

Additionally, since Thanos is a heavy CGI character, his appearance varies throughout the franchise, including changes in facial look, costume, skin tone, and even his blood color! 

(It seems Marvel should provide a detailed description of their character to their VFX agencies).

As Thanos’ narrative arc evolved, so did his physical appearance. In his early MCU appearances, the villain’s skin tone was a richer shade of purple, and his eyes glowed blue.

Later, his skin tone was lightened, possibly to make him appear more natural and relatable, despite his cosmic ambitions.

There’s an intriguing behind-the-scenes fact: Thanos’s first brief appearance was the most natural, relying solely on makeup and costume design. However, due to the heavy use of CGI in later portrayals, fans easily overlooked this initial recasting.

MCU: How & Why Thanos Looks Different In Each Movie

Josh Brolin’s nuanced performance resonated deeply with viewers, cementing his version of Thanos as a key figure in popular culture.

Johann Schmidt (Red Skull)

The fourth case involves Johann Schmidt, also known as Red Skull. This character made his first appearance in the MCU in “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011), portrayed by actor Hugo Weaving

Red Skull Mask ''OFF'' Clip | Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Movie HD

At the end of the movie, Red Skull was transported to a different space by the Tesseract, which later revealed that he was “punished” and sent to Vormir to become the keeper of the Soul Stone.

Then, we had the chance to see him again in subsequent MCU films, including “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019). However, the character was recast. 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Clip - Red Skull (2018) Marvel

Ross Marquand took over the role of Red Skull from Hugo Weaving in these later appearances, following Weaving’s public expression of disinterest in reprising the role.

Despite the change behind the scenes, Red Skull’s appearance did not look too different—perhaps he was just much less aggressive than before. 

Visually, the character’s appearance remained consistent due to heavy reliance on CGI and prosthetics. 

Ross Marquand skillfully channeled Hugo Weaving’s portrayal, maintaining the eerie and imposing presence of Red Skull.

Cassandra “Cassie” Lang

The last case introduces a new generation of the next Avengers: Cassandra “Cassie” Lang, the daughter of Ant-Man, Scott Lang. 

Cassie first appeared as a child in “Ant-Man” (2015), portrayed by Abby Ryder Fortson. Later, Emma Fuhrmann took on the role of an older Cassie in “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) after a five-year time jump within the storyline.

Scott Lang Meets His Daughter - Ant-Man Meets Cassie Lang - Avengers: Endgame (2019) Movie Clip

As we shift our focus to the “grown-up” Cassie, in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (2023), Kathryn Newton was cast to portray this character. 

This recasting resulted in a slight change in the character’s appearance, primarily due to the different physical characteristics of the new actress—a change that surprised many fans.

Family Reunion | Ant Man & the Wasp Quantumania [HD]

Newton brought a vibrant and dynamic presence to the role, embodying Cassie as a young, budding superhero. 

In contrast, Fuhrmann portrayed Cassie with a more reserved and mature demeanor. However, it is not a competition; both portrayals suit their respective storylines effectively.

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania | Introducing Cassie

With Cassie poised to succeed in the Ant-Man mantle, Newton’s debut has sparked considerable discussion among fans and critics, particularly regarding her potential future as a superhero in the MCU.

Bonus: Goose

The last one and also an interesting case: Goose, the unique alien cat known as a Flerken, first made its appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in “Captain Marvel” (2019).

Initially, Goose was portrayed by a team of 4 cats—Reggie, Archie, Rizzo, and Gonzo. Each cat specialized in different actions required for the film (yes, you heard right: four backups for one cat!).

Captain Marvel Cat - Goose - All Scenes 2019

In the sequel, “The Marvels” (2023), Goose was portrayed by two cats: 11-year-old Tango and 4-year-old Nemo, both selected by cat trainer Jo Vaughan. 

The appearance of Goose remained “quite” consistent across Captain Marvel’s sequels, maintaining the look of an ordinary house cat with the hidden, extraordinary alien abilities of a Flerken.

goose scenepack [4k] (the marvels)

Audience reactions to Goose in both films were overwhelmingly positive, largely due to the humorous moments brought by these adorable “cats.” 

For me, at least, that was the only reason why I kept watching “The Marvels” till the end—if you know, you know…

Last Words: Will Kang Be Replaced?

Going through the cases, it seems obvious that the MCU often opts for recasting characters as a common solution. 

However, Kang the Conqueror is a unique case. This character relies less on CGI and predominantly shows his face in both the Loki series and the latest Ant-Man sequel.

Furthermore, his role as the main villain is widely discussed in the Marvel fandom, especially with the introduction of “The Kang Council” in the MCU in the post-credit scene of Ant-Man 3.

Council of Kangs - Mid Credits Scene - Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) Movie Clip

A change in casting might seem like a simple switch, but right now, it is hard to entirely erase Jonathan Majors’ legacy in Marvel’s Multiverse Saga.

What do you guys think? Should Kang the Conqueror be recast? Share your thoughts!

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