Is Doctor Doom the key to saving the MCU and restoring it to prominence?
It was recently reported that Loki creator and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer, Michael Waldron, will be scripting both Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, following the departure of Jeff Loveness as the writer for the former project earlier this year. This, of course, doesn’t come in a vacuum: even putting aside Marvel’s recent creative misfires, Jonathan Majors, the actor who was once set to anchor the second Saga in the MCU as the main villain, is currently on trial for domestic violence charges.
Marvel is reportedly considering a wide range of options, many of which will depend on the outcome of the trial. However, even if Majors is completely vindicated and found non-guilty, they will still have to face the PR nightmare of having an actor who went to court accused of a violent crime and was the centerpiece of a Rolling Stone piece reporting that he had up to 30 people, on and off the record, point to him as a negative influence in their past and someone, and in the best cases, they don’t feel comfortable talking about him. It’s not a great situation for Majors and Marvel Studios.
Another option that’s been floated around is pivoting to another villain to take Majors’ place as Kang, with Doctor Doom appearing as the most logical candidate. Doctor Doom has a large comic history and a beloved fanbase behind him, arguing that if someone can save the MCU from total collapse, that’s him. He’s heavily rumored to be appearing in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, though only as a post-credits tease that could set up future appearances, most notably in Secret Wars.
The Loki finale, which aired on Disney+ in early November, set the stage for Marvel to go wherever they want. They could either change course and decide Kang was a major threat they were able to contain in the early phases of The Multiverse Saga, but now a bigger threat has picked up the baton. Doom’s introduction, especially within Marvel’s flexible plots, is far from set in stone.
If nothing else, Waldron’s hiring seems to point out that Marvel is setting a path for the future and they have an end in sight. Tapping the screenwriter for the two-part Avengers finale and having him write the story that will probably not be released for a number of years indicates they want to plan ahead, and by extension, they must have some sort of plan. But does that plan involve Doctor Doom becoming a central villain of the MCU?
Can Doctor Doom Save the MCU?
There is no easy way of answering this question because Doctor Doom’s MCU introduction will not have a direct correlation with the MCU being “saved”. I am not going to pretend like I have all the comic knowledge there is about the character (you can let me know all about it via our social media), but I know quite a bit about stories and how they are constructed. The fact that putting Doctor Doom in a future story has nothing to do with how it’s carried out has already been proven by the two abominations that were the previous incarnations of the Fantastic Four under the 20th Century Fox logo.
Yes, Marvel now has the rights. It is a similar case to Spider-Man back in 2016, but it wasn’t Spider-Man that uplifted the Marvel Universe from 2016 to 2019. It was his story. And that’s what it comes down to. Doctor Doom alone cannot save or, dare I say, doom the MCU; the writers and directors can.
It’s the same logic we apply to figuring out why it started to crack in the first place. Was it Shang-Chi’s or She-Hulk’s introduction that tanked the MCU in the first place? No. It was the misconception behind some of the stories and the fact that the studio’s brain trust was all over the place to pay attention to what was going on with the projects because they were already focused on something else.
Where Did Marvel’s Failures Come From? Examining Iger’s Recent Comments
Bob Iger may have gotten the heat for saying The Marvels failed because it didn’t have proper supervision from executives, but he’s probably right. First of all, he knows a lot more about why a movie works or doesn’t work than anyone on social media claims to have, including myself. To think that he’s saying that Nia DaCosta needed a babysitter on set is a complete misunderstanding of how these movies work in the first place.
All Marvel movies, all studio movies, are supervised by executives we don’t hear much from. The problem is that when a movie succeeds we hail the director and the writer (and, more often than not, the actors), not the executive who greenlit the story decisions or perhaps suggested new directions.
When a movie fails it’s because the studio interfered and didn’t let the creatives run with their glorious vision. Are we that naïve, 15 years into this, to think that Marvel doesn’t interfere with every single decision their filmmakers make?
But Iger wasn’t saying that The Marvels didn’t succeed because it was Nia DaCosta’s vision. What he was saying is that there were a lot of behind-the-scenes troubles with that production, as the final film attests to, and had Marvel executives been able to pay closer attention to it they probably would have caught them earlier and taken care of them in advance.
Looking at the Future
It seems clear by now Kevin Feige has taken note of everything that happened in 2023. Will he be able to turn things around and deliver a great second half of The Multiverse Saga? I think so because he did it before, and he can do it again. These past couple of years have served as a reality check for the once-thought-unstoppable Marvel Studios, and they probably needed that. It’s time to take things easier and stop releasing 9 projects a year, not only because audiences won’t care, but the people at Marvel Studios themselves will stop caring.
Will Doctor Doom save the MCU? No. But hiring good writers will. Loki season 2 didn’t fire on all cylinders because of the character it focused on; it was because of Eric Martin and his writers, because of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, and because of the entire cast who perfectly understood the assignment.
But what do you think? Do you disagree, and think that Doctor Doom has the potential to single-handedly save the MCU from collapsing? How do you see Doctor Doom fitting into the MCU? Any cool Doctor Doom casting ideas? Let me know your thoughts on our social media, and stay tuned for more!