Could things be turning around at Marvel? Probably not, but in lieu of some recent debacles, they may be cleaning house and preparing to clean a bit more should the need arise. First, on The Hot Mic, Jeff Sneider said that he has heard that Jeff Loveness is no longer writing Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and that “he fell off before the strike,” meaning the WGA writers’ strike. Loveness wrote Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the highest-profile bomb Marvel’s had in the last few years, one so bad they couldn’t even try to spin it in a positive direction the way they did with some of Phase 4’s offerings.
RUMOR: Hearing that screenwriter Jeff Loveness is off AVENGERS: KANG DYNASTY… and that he fell off prior to the strike.
— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) May 19, 2023
If this is true, it makes sense. Somebody’s head had to roll for Quantumania not only bombing but turning Marvel into a joke. You can say they already were, but this is the movie where even the entertainment media turned on them, and nobody seemed interested in helping Disney save face. What’s unfortunate is, though Loveness is undoubtedly part of the problem, it’s not just him. I suspect the Marvel and Disney higher-ups had a heavy hand in Quantumania turning out the way it did, and if they’re making Loveness the scapegoat, they probably haven’t learned much from their own mistakes.
Another possible development comes from Joanna Robinson, a writer for The Ringer and formerly Vanity Fair, who co-wrote the upcoming book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios. According to the description on Amazon, the book is based on “more than a hundred interviews with actors, producers, directors, and writers.” With that background, Robinson said on a podcast called The Big Picture she’s heard from insiders that Kang was not always meant to be the focal point of Phases 4-6 until relatively recently:
“I was told by someone who works at Marvel that it was not the plan to make Kang the center of everything until they saw the dailies [from] Quantumania and after his performance in Loki, which was so strong that they were like, ‘This is it; this is our way forward.’”
I don’t believe that for a second. Loki firmly established Kang as the new big threat and the multiverse as the franchise-wide storyline. Marvel is trying to push this because not only is the audience rejecting this new “saga,” but Kang’s actor, Jonathan Majors, is in serious legal trouble, and while Marvel has stuck by him, it’s looking grim. They’re hedging their bets, preparing to pivot should Majors’ situation not go his way or if they can’t get audiences back on board with Kang and the multiverse. On that note, Robinson has also heard some rumblings about how Marvel will deal with Majors, and they all contradict each other:
“I’ve heard conflicting stories about, they are gonna replace him, they’re not even considering replacing him, etc. etc. We don’t know.”
Again, Marvel is giving itself some options and perhaps even putting both scenarios out there to see which plays better with audiences. If the response favors cutting ties with Majors, Kang can get Poochied, and they’ll start another thread. Alternatively, they could stick with him for now and see what happens, with that option still available if Majors is found guilty and they ditch him. As always, the real-life drama surrounding The Multiverse Saga is much more interesting than the actual movies (except Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is excellent).