Kang the Conqueror is set up to be the face of the Multiverse Saga and the big bad for “Avengers: Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars.” Yet, while fans argue about whether Marvel Studios should recast the role to oust Jonathan Majors, “Loki” season 2 just proved why Ravonna Renslayer would be a much better fit as the leading villain.
There’s been a lot of debate online, both in good and bad faith, about whether the role of Kang the Conqueror should be recast following the arrest of Jonathan Majors this past March. This article does not touch on that issue. Instead, it posits that Kang the Conqueror was never the right choice to be the main villain of the Multiverse Saga. Instead, it should be Ravonna Renslayer.
Jonathan Majors has always had one strength as an actor: portraying the sensitive masculine. From his breakout part in A24’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” to his leading role as Atticus Freeman in “Lovecraft Country,” Majors has proven that he knows how to play a strong outer presence with complex emotional layers beneath the surface.
The issue with this, when it comes to his role as Kang the Conqueror, is that it’s a role fans have already seen before in the MCU with how it reinvented Thanos. If his role as Victor Timely in “Loki” season 2 is anything to go by, Jonathan Majors seems to struggle to stray from that archetype, hindering the possibility of giving fans something truly “new” for the Avengers to face.
Contrast this to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who has already shown more range in her filmography than Jonathan Majors, with roles that range from the harrowingly dramatic (“Surface,” “The Morning Show”) to more lighthearted (“Beauty and The Beast,” “Misbehaviour”) and everything in between. “Loki” season 2, episode 4 alone has proven Ravonna Renslayer as powerful enough of a personality to stand in a leading role.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s range provides Marvel Studios a chance to do something it’s struggled to do over the course of the Multiverse Saga: speak on the topic with purpose. A purpose that Kang the Conqueror specifically lacks in the MCU, with the most charitable interpretation of his view being that he must cull life to restore order, which once more retreads the ground of Thanos in the prior Avengers films.
Unlike Kang, Ravonna Renslayer is a woman scorned by the existence of the Multiverse. In a system where she should have endless possibilities, she was cursed by Kang to live with none, tricked by Miss Minutes to fulfill his final wishes, which would put into motion the cycle that trapped her in the first place.
This would also give Ravonna Renslayer an actual purpose to attack the Multiverse, potentially even using an army of Kangs, outside of the warped utilitarianism used to justify the creation of “A Sacred Timeline.” Ravonna would instead be tearing down the systems she views as restricting freedom in the Multiverse, only to end up making the same mistakes as Kang in her pursuit of free will. It’s just as she said in “Loki” season 1: “Only one person gets free will. The one in charge.”
While this article will avoid potential spoilers for the upcoming Avengers projects, it should be noted that leaks about the plot of “Kang Dynasty” have appeared online. Some fans who have seen the leaks have taken issue with certain parallels to prior MCU movies, all of which would be fixed by substituting Kang the Conqueror for Ravonna Renslayer.
This suggestion is also one with a basis in Marvel Comics. Ravonna Renslayer has taken on the identity of Kang the Conqueror in the comics to conduct her own schemes against the Avengers and Fantastic Four. She even did so to trick the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, the comic in which she did so having already been referenced in the MCU in “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.”
Speaking of “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” one can’t deny it plays a factor in this conversation. As much praise as Jonathan Majors got for his role in “Loki,” Kang’s character has been tainted in broader discourse by acting as the leading villain of that film. Replacing him with Ravonna would allow Marvel to have a fresh start going into the endgame of the Multiverse Saga.
In truth, it’s extremely unlikely that Marvel would replace Kang as the headlining villain for the upcoming Avengers films. Most likely, they’ll either recast Jonathan Majors or do nothing at all. However, Marvel also has a unique opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking with the MCU. Fans can only hope they realize, at least to some extent, the gold they have in their hands with Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer.