While there are a few directions Marvel Studios could go following Kang (one has to do with a particularly important Marvel Comics doctor), the most likely plan of action is to simply recast Kang the Conqueror for future appearances.
The villain still has plenty of juice behind him in the MCU, and there are still a few things that need to be narratively addressed.
So, even if Kang is not some Thanos-like figure looming big on the horizon, the character will still need some closure on either the big or small screen, and a recast will be the way to do this.
Luckily, Kang is Multiversal in nature. There have been teases of thousands of Variants of the character across the Marvel Multiverse.
That means narratively justifying a recast would not be the hardest thing in the world. Introducing a new version of the villain would not need some extensive explanation, as Marvel could bring a new actor in, say he is from some other reality, and that is about all the audience would need here.
As for who could play this Variant of Kang, there are a few names that have come up in conversation so far.
A-list actors like John Boyega, Damson Idris, and Aldis Hodge are all popular suggestions amongst fans, and, whether it would be for one movie or the rest of the Multiverse Saga, any of them could do a fantastic job.
After a recast, the most likely next step will be moving the focus of the MCU story going forward away from Kang.
Earlier this year, it was reported that it was Jonathan Majors as Kang that was “the center of everything” for Marvel Studios MCU plans, and not simply Kang alone.
According to author and journalist Joanna Robinson, after a few years of waywardness following Avengers: Endgame, it was not until Marvel saw Majors as Kang that they decided to put such a heavy focus on the character.
However, now that Majors is gone, those plans will need to change.
If the strategy was so heavily centered on a particular actor as the character, then it would be smart to perhaps scale things back a tad now that that actor is gone.
That is not to say Kang cannot appear in Marvel Studios projects going forward – he will almost have to.
But following the recast, a broader audit of the MCU strategy for Phase 5 and Phase 6 and how it relates to the Multiversal villain will almost certainly be done.
This will likely come in the form of Kang being recast, showing up in another project or two (likely Avengers 5), only to move aside for a different villain to take the reins for the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars event film.