The High Evolutionary was a great villain and Iwuji’s performance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 stood out as one of the most memorable that we’ve seen in the MCU for a while. In fact, his performance was so good that it outshone even Major’s role as the aforementioned multiversal big bad of the MCU. This is in part due to how the Conqueror was completely misused in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; his grand debut was squandered by the film’s poor plot and writing.
Although that’s not the only reason Kang needs replacing. Of course, I probably don’t need to tell you about the controversy surrounding Majors right now. But it’s looking more and more likely that he won’t be returning to the MCU in the immediate future. This has left Marvel in a tight spot, as it needs an actor to step in and fill the big boots of their predecessor.
Naturally eyes have turned to Iwuji due to the impression he made in the last MCU outing. However, as one user pointed out in the Marvel Studios subreddit “Just because we had a good villain portrayed by a black actor doesn’t mean he should be interchangeable with another villain played by a black actor.” The user went on to explain their view further:
“Doing this would dilute what made this character and its performance special. The Kang problem because of Majors is its own problem that needs to be addressed, whether that’s a recast or writing him out. But all these comments suggesting that HE should be retconned into a Kang variant are based on nothing other than both actors being black. Kang could even be recast by someone of any race if they decide to keep him in a helmet or make him a non-human variant.”
They have a valid point there. The thought process behind these fan castings do seem come from the problematic thinking of simply swapping one Black actor for another. The High Evolutionary is his own character and changing him into a Kang variant would be a bit of a cop-out. When you think about it it wouldn’t even really work as the HE has completely different goals to Kang.
Although Iwuji did a fantastic job and it would be great to see him in a bigger role in the MCU it’s not the best way forward. Fans on the subreddit agreed that it should be a completely new actor in the role. Forcing the HE to be a Kang variant kind of feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole; they just don’t fit, as much as you may want them to.