Marvel's firing of Kang actor Jonathan Majors caps a unheroic year for the MCU

A sad Kang the Conqueror sits in his Time Chair in Ant-Man 3
Jonathan Majors has been ousted as Kang by Marvel Studios. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel has fired Jonathan Majors after the actor was convicted of domestically abusing his ex-girlfriend.

Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter (THR) were among the outlets to confirm Majors' axing by the Disney subsidiary yesterday (December 18) after he was found guilty of reckless assault in the third degree and harassment in the second degree. Marvel reportedly dropped the star, who was set to continue portraying Kang the Conqueror and his many variants across the Multiverse Saga, soon after the verdict was announced.

Majors was arrested on March 25 following reports of a domestic disturbance involving the actor and his ex-partner Grace Jabbari. He was later charged with numerous offenses, including strangulation, assault, and harassment – allegations Majors denied. After his trial was delayed multiple times, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) actor's court hearing began on December 4 and, just two weeks later a six-person jury found Majors guilty of two of the four charges leveled against him. 

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The jury acquitted Majors on the other charges – intentional assault in the third degree and aggravated assault in the second degree – but the Creed 3 and Lovecraft Country star still faces up to a year in prison as part of his sentence. He'll be sentenced for at a later date.

When asked for comment by THR, a Marvel spokesperson confirmed it had severed ties with Majors. However, the studio declined to say whether it would recast the role of Kang, whose numerous variants – many of whom appeared in one of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's post-credits scenes – were positioned as the archvillains of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. That film duo will bring the Multiverse Saga to a close, but it's unclear if Kang will remain the MCU's new big bad.

Before his sacking, Majors had appeared in two Marvel projects – the aforementioned MCU movie Quantumania, as well as Loki seasons 1 and 2 on Disney Plus. As mentioned, he was also set to star in Avengers 5 and Avengers 6, with possible cameos in other upcoming films and TV series, too, ahead of being dropped.

Marvel's Multiverse of Madness

Sylvie, OB, Mobius, Loki, and Victor Timely discuss matters in Loki season 2

Majors (far right) played Victor Timely in Loki season 2. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Majors' firing caps an extremely difficult year for Marvel, with the star's removal as Kang becoming the latest addition to the whirlwind of negative press the studio has faced over the past 12 months.

In fact, Marvel's problems can be traced back to the Multiverse Saga's beginning, and its MCU Phase 4 lineup of movies and TV shows. Marvel's scattershot approach to its post-Avengers: Endgame plan, which saw an explosion of MCU TV shows as the studio looked to capitalize on the MCU's popularity, saw Marvel favor quantity over quality. With some of its TV offerings failing to capture audiences' imagination (What If...?), being largely forgettable (Falcon and the Winter Soldier), or downright bad (Secret Invasion), Marvel spread itself too thin as it churned out project after project.

Things haven't been much better on the movie front. With films, including 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder, delivering diminishing returns – from critical and/or commercial perspectives – Marvel has found itself battling to reignite interest in its cinematic juggernaut. Indeed, two of its three new movies of 2023 in Ant-Man 3 and The Marvels were panned by fans and critics alike – only Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was well received, and made a tidy profit for the studio.

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There have been plenty of off-screen issues for the studio to contend with, too. The 2023 Hollywood actors and writers strikes meant Marvel had to delay multiple movies throughout 2023, with the latest release schedule update confirming that Deadpool 3 will be the only MCU movie that'll debut in theaters next year. Marvel's TV lineup has been significantly impacted as well, with only three MCU TV shows debuting on Disney Plus in 2024, and the studio reworking its entire blueprint for the highly anticipated Daredevil: Born Again after it failed to meet internal standards.

Throw in other problems, such as the reportedly poor working conditions its visual effects artists have to deal with – something one of Loki season 2's directors called a "systemic" issue – and Marvel is under real pressure to turn its flagship franchise around. 

Nobody knows just how big of an impact Majors' conviction will have on the MCU. There's lots of speculation flying around about whether Marvel will recast Kang, focus on a new multiversal villain, change Avengers 5's title, and push back development on the next two Avengers films again to overhaul aspects of the Multiverse Saga's endgame. We'll find out the answers to these queries and more in the coming months, but one thing's for certain: Marvel has endured its own Multiverse of Madness in 2023, and it won't want a repeat performance next year.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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