Updated December 19th, 2023 at 10:47 IST
Jonathan Majors guilty verdict in assault case throws Marvel Phase 5 plans into disarray
Marvel has dropped Jonathan Majors from all of their future projects after he was convicted of assaulting and harrasing his ex-girlfriend Grace Jabbari.
As Marvel reels from a string of box office setbacks, a legal dispute involving one of its biggest stars, Jonathan Majors, has planted the seeds of doubts about the studio's audacious plan to take the brand into its next phase. The actor who was supposed to lead the next chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently got convicted of assaulting and harassing his then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari.
Soon after the verdict became public, AP reported that Marvel had dropped Majors from their future projects. With his exit, Marvel’s plans to base Kang the Conqueror, the antagonistic character portrayed by Majors, in an interconnected slate of sequels, spinoffs, and series have been forced to reevaluate in light of the verdict.
MCU’s phase five to change its course
The swift move by Disney marked a stunning about-face for an actor who had been one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising stars. A Manhattan jury on Monday found the 34-year-old Majors guilty of one misdemeanour assault charge and one harassment violation for a March altercation with his then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari.
Majors, who was acquitted of a different assault charge and of aggravated harassment, will be sentenced on Feb. 6. He declined to comment as he left the courthouse. Majors’ attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said in a statement that “it is clear that the jury did not believe Grace Jabbari’s story of what happened in the SUV because they found that Mr. Majors did not intentionally cause any injuries to her.”
As the superhero studio prepared phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it cast the highly acclaimed Majors as the antagonist Kang the Conqueror. The character was to span several films and series as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next-phase answer to Thanos, the villain of Avengers: Endgame.
Majors had already appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the first two seasons of Loki. He was to star in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, dated for release in May 2026. The future of The Kang Dynasty is now unclear. Disney declined to comment on whether it will recast the role of Kang or pivot in a new direction.
Jonathan Majors’ exit to setback Marvel
The studio has been preparing for the possibility of Majors’ exit from the franchise. But Marvel was limited in its ability to fashion rewrites due to the screenwriters strike that ran from May to late September. The studio recently hired screenwriter Michael Waldron to rework The Kang Dynasty.
For Marvel, Majors’ departure adds to a series of recent setbacks. Though its box-office success — nearly $30 billion worldwide from 33 films — is unsurpassed in movie history, the superhero factory has recently seen some atypical struggles. The Marvels, released in November, has been the MCU’s worst performer in theatres, with $204 million in worldwide ticket sales.
(with inputs from AP)
Published December 19th, 2023 at 10:46 IST