Avengers 5 Theory: A Villain Deadlier Than Kang Turns Jon Bernthal Into Cosmic Ghost Rider

An MCU theory suggests Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle could be in for an upgrade that's both cosmic and mystical in nature, as his Punisher character could become the hugely popular Cosmic Ghost Rider.

avengers 5 theory: a villain deadlier than kang turns jon bernthal into cosmic ghost rider


  • Jonathan Majors' departure from the MCU leaves the fifth Avengers movie up in the air regarding its villain.
  • One theory suggests the mighty King Thanos from Earth-TRN666 in the comic books may be the replacement for Majors' Kang.
  • If that's the case, Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle could be in for a major upgrade in the MCU, potentially becoming the powerful Cosmic Ghost Rider.
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Jonathan Majors’ conviction for reckless assault and harassment means he’s leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Majors has played several variants of Kang in the MCU, in the Loki series on Disney+ and 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and was in place to be the main villain of Avengers 5 – the title of which was supposed to be Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.


Majors’ departure means that the fifth Avengers movie is now in turmoil, at least regarding its antagonist. There’s still a chance that another actor will step into Kang’s boots, but even that could mean a more minor role for Kang. If Kang disappears from the franchise or his role is minimized in Majors’ absence, Avengers 5 will need a new villain.

Victor Timely in Loki
Victor Timely in Loki – One of several Kang variants Majors portrayed.

One theory suggests that said villain could be King Thanos. Comic Book Cast put out a video on the theory, which explains how it might happen. It could have significant repercussions for certain existing MCU characters if it does.


Who Is King Thanos?

In the comic books, King Thanos comes from a reality known as Earth-TRN666. He’s an older version of the Mad Titan who has conquered the universe, defeating almost every hero in it and presiding over the nearly empty cosmos in his quest to impress Mistress Death.

This theory suggests that King Thanos comes from another reality in the MCU’s multiverse. In that reality, Thanos wins the battle in Avengers: Endgame and conquers it before targeting others, including the primary MCU reality and its sacred timeline, which he accesses through an incursion created by all the recent activity in Loki and films like 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It’s a theory that fits perfectly with the multiverse saga.

It will mean assembling a team from the Marvel movie multiverse to combat him, including the likes of Deadpool, Wolverine, and other characters from non-MCU Marvel films. It will also mean Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and, in particular, Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle could be in for significant character development.


That’s because King Thanos has two prominent characters under his control: an older, feral version of the Hulk is his chained pet, and Frank Castle is his own personal Ghost Rider endowed with the Power Cosmic.

King Thanos, his feral Hulk, and Cosmic Ghost Rider
King Thanos with his feral Hulk pet and Cosmic Ghost Rider.

If the character is the main villain for Avengers 5 and brings a pet Hulk and Cosmic Ghost Rider with him – or turns the MCU’s Hulk and Frank Castle that we’ve already met into his lackeys – it would be a massively exciting development.

There’s also a theory that King Thanos will have a team of multiversal “Incursion Avengers” at his disposal, including the likes of Superior Iron Man, which would be a shocking twist, as the characters so familiar to us would have to go up against a team composed of alternate versions of themselves.


What Will Happen To Kang?

As for Kang, it doesn’t make much sense to forget about him, so a recast actor may still play a part – it wouldn’t be the first time a character was played by multiple actors in the MCU – and the theory extends to Kang’s potential role in this scenario. Perhaps King Thanos will turn out to be an alternate version of Kang. Maybe the Council of Kangs will be revealed to have been working for King Thanos all along. Perhaps King Thanos will destroy the Council of Kangs in his quest to conquer the multiverse. Regardless, given how much build-up he’s received in the MCU, there should be a place for the character.

The Council of Kangs
The Council of Kangs

If this theory is true, it will mean a return to the MCU for Josh Brolin, who made Thanos an iconic villain of modern cinema. While some fans will rejoice at his potential return, others will see it as Marvel Studios running out of ideas. So many other great characters could replace Kang as the MCU’s “big bad,” like Doctor Doom, the Beyonder, and Galactus. Fans of the franchise will have to be patient and wait to see what happens.


Written by Kevin Stewart

Articles Published: 77

Kevin Stewart is a full-time professional freelance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the industry. He's produced more than 2000 pieces of published work on sports and entertainment topics - work that includes listicles, news articles, feature articles, voice-over scripts, quizzes, opinion pieces, and more. He's worked for the likes of NBC SYFY, Paste Magazine, FourFourTwo, Screen Rant, Digital Spy, CBR, WhatCulture, College Humor, The Richest, SportsKeeda, The Sportsman, and SugarScape. As an editor, he's managed the work of teams of up to 45 writers. He's a former business owner who's educated to degree level and has a BA Hons in Business Management. He loves movies (especially horror, 80s films, and superhero flicks), football (Tottenham Hotspur fan), keeping fit, and travelling the world.