MarvelBlog News for January 7th, 2024
Yes, we have a new week in a new year, but some things remain the same.
Marvel just experienced another unplanned reset. Let’s talk about the latest unexpected twist in the latest edition of MarvelBlog News.
Whither The Sentry?
Toward the end of 2023, Marvel fired an actor who had desperately struggled to remain the MCU.
Of course, once a jury convicted Jonathan Majors of assaulting his then-girlfriend, Marvel had no choice. Really, they should have done it sooner.
Marvel presumably delayed until Majors’ conviction, at which point he likely violated a morals clause in his contract.
During the writer and actor strikes in Hollywood, Marvel experienced plenty of unexpected downtime to weigh its options about the best strategies for 2024 and beyond.
One of those strategies centered on the plot for Thunderbolts, a 2025 release, that at least somewhat ties into Captain America: Brave New World.
At least, that had been the plan. Marvel will perform reshoots for the fourth Captain America feature film, as it apparently lacked enough action.
Revered actor Harrison Ford will appear in both films as Thunderbolt Ross, guaranteeing at least some connective tissue.
Reports had suggested that the films would share a setting, the island with a Celestial that died in Eternals.
As part of these plans, Thunderbolts would introduce the most powerful human of all-time in the MCU, The Sentry.
Early 21st century comic book fans remember what a big deal it was when Marvel introduced The Sentry.
If you think about Superman with Two-Face’s split personality, you get the gist.
As a human, Bob Reynolds is a middle-aged man who remembers two dark secrets. The first is that he’s a nearly omnipotent being named The Sentry.
A more pressing problem is that he has an archenemy, The Void, whom we later learn is the repressed part of Reynolds’ subconscious.
The Void has returned, and Reynolds tries to warn his fellow Avengers, only to learn that none of them remember him or The Void.
A Daring Choice for the Role
The idea for Thunderbolts is that The Sentry begins as one of the team members but eventually goes rogue, or at least, The Void part does.
Marvel engaged in a lengthy casting process for this role and eventually settled on a dynamic actor with an everyman quality.
While the studio never officially confirmed Steven Yeun in the role of The Sentry or even as part of the film, someone else had.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead, explicitly stated that his dead friend had won the gig.
Kirkman definitely would know, as the two developed a close relationship while Yeun worked as pop culture favorite Glenn on The Walking Dead.
I had discussed the odd details of this casting confirmation a few weeks ago. However, it had been an open secret throughout the year.
Here’s the article I wrote about Yeun’s casting in March 2023. So, this news was out there for a while.
These statements no longer apply as Yeun has dropped out of the project. I detailed the incident on MickeyBlog the other day.
At the time, nobody was quite sure whether Yeun had left, or Marvel had gone in a different direction.
Yeun’s Risky Decision
Due to the lack of clarity, Yeun has since updated to explain why he willingly walked away from what’s potentially the role of a lifetime.
After all, there’s a reason why we all know who Hugh Jackman is but most people are clueless about the talented Dougray Scott.
While filming a scene as the villain in Mission: Impossible II, Scott suffered an injury that required rehab and thereby caused him to skip his next film.
That title was X-Men, and Fox’s backup choice for Wolverine was Hugh Jackman. So, yeah, this is a fascinating turn of events.
Why did Yeun take such a risk? Well, it circles back to the strikes.
As I mentioned at the time, the months of delays caused a backlog for film productions.
As we enter 2024, we’re about to witness the most crowded filming schedule in at least a decade.
Popular actors like Yeun have lined up plenty of work for the coming year…and 2025 as well.
Marvel requires a hefty commitment from its actors, and it sounds like Yeun simply couldn’t fit his scheduling demands with their own.
In fact, Yeun sounds pretty torn up about having to drop out of the MCU.
Yeun appeared at a scheduled pop-up event and some Variety reporters attended. They pressed him on what happened.
According to Yeun, he agonized over the decision and ultimately wrote several different drafts of the email he eventually sent to Marvel executives.
From the sound of things, they didn’t take it well. Yeun stressed that he would love to work on a Marvel project at some point.
The timing simply didn’t work out for him to portray The Sentry.
What’s the New Plan?
Marvel now finds itself in a challenging position…again. The studio just can’t seem to catch a break right now.
As I just mentioned, the actors in the industry have already lined up their work for the next two years.
Marvel suddenly finds itself without the cast member it had carefully chosen to portray The Sentry, the heavy in Thunderbolts.
For his part, Yeun is acting as if he has burned a bridge. Here’s a quote from Variety:
“I think it’s too early to say (which character I could play in the MCU).
“I probably pissed off too many people leaving, so I’m just gonna say, ‘Thank you for having me.’” Eek!
The likeliest outcome here is eerily similar to what happened with Wolverine back in the day.
Marvel will probably need to take a chance on a relative newcomer, somebody so obscure that they don’t have an acting job in 2024.
That is a VERY short list of people at the moment. Then again, since most actors are like Yeun and want to join the MCU, something else could happen.
Somebody might ditch a less heralded project in favor of playing The Sentry.
I suspect that the end of this week has involved plenty of discreet phone calls to talents who are ostensibly unavailable, but for Marvel…
That’s where we stand after a fascinating week. Also, let’s be realistic that this probably won’t be the last time this happens in 2024.
Casting schedules are the tightest anyone can ever recall.
So, something’s gonna give. And if you work in digital special effects, you’re gonna have 80-hour weeks this year.
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