MCU Phase 5’s first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be properly introducing Kang the Conqueror — played by Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors — who first appeared as Kang variant He Who Remains in Loki. Who is Kang the Conqueror, the time-traveling Marvel villain? Beginning in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania until Phase 6 finishes with the next two new Avengers movies, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, Kang will be the next MCU Big Bad. How he’ll escape the Quantum Realm to threaten the Multiverse, however, won’t be revealed until Ant-Man 3 releases on February 17, 2023.
The comic-book Kang first appeared in Fantastic Four #19 way back in 1963, making him one of Marvel’s longest-standing villains. After his more benevolent variant appeared in Loki, Ant-Man 3 will be the first look audiences get at the MCU Kang the Conqueror. As the post-Infinity Saga MCU Thanos replacement, Kang will be the overarching main villain of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be meeting Kang in the Quantum Realm in what could be the next biggest Marvel movie in the wake of Avengers: Endgame. Whatever happens between Scott and Kang in Ant-Man 3, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is already dawning on the MCU’s horizon — here’s everything to know about Kang the Conqueror before it does.
Kang Made His MCU Debut In Loki
Disney+’s Loki stars Tom Hiddleston as the titular God of Mischief, and in the show Loki meets a mysterious individual, He Who Remains, who is Kang the Conqueror (or a variant of him, at least). Captured by the Time Variance Authority and tried for crimes against the “Sacred Timeline,” Loki eventually learned the timeline was naturally chaotic; any moment has the potential to create a so-called “Nexus Event,” a branched reality. The result was a Multiversal war, and the winners of that conflict imposed order upon the timeline, establishing the TVA to prune branches before another Multiverse could spawn. Naturally, that particular strategy didn’t last long when the Lokis arrived and caused mayhem.
Who is Kang the Conqueror variant He Who Remains? Loki officially introduced viewers to Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains, who revealed the Multiversal conflict had been triggered by different variants of himself. His death meant the restoration of the Multiverse — and, inevitably, the emergence of more variants of He Who Remains, all of whom would vie for supremacy. For He Who Remains is actually a variant of a classic time-traveling villain from the comics, Kang the Conqueror, and now all creation is in jeopardy. The events of Loki led to speculation that Kang would be the next chief antagonist in the MCU, and sure enough, it was soon confirmed Kang would appear in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania and Avengers 5 would be based on Kurt Busiek’s 2001 comic The Kang Dynasty. As for whether the MCU will stay true to Kang’s comic-book origins, this remains to be seen.
Kang’s Origins in Marvel Comics
Time travel is a tricky business, and unfortunately, that means many time-traveling characters have complex backstories. In the comics, Kang the Conqueror started out as Nathaniel Richards, a descendant of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. He was born in the 30th century, a time when the world was consumed with violence, and Kang brought about peace by conquering the planet. When he gained access to a time machine, Kang began to expand his conquest throughout history, frequently taking other identities such as Immortus, the Scarlet Centurion, or Pharaoh Rama-Tut. All of these are potential Kang variants for the MCU. The MCU Kang the Conqueror will likely have multiple variants, and there are plenty of them in the comics, even just in Earth-616
Kang’s time travel essentially turns him into a complex space-time event in his own right, and the timelines have changed around him many times. He cares little for the laws of time and has frequently interacted with his own personal history. On one occasion, this went badly wrong, because his teenage self was appalled at his future, and attempted to erase it by traveling back in time and founding the Young Avengers as Iron Lad. All the different identities of Kang — Immortus, Rama-Tut, and so on — have splintered off and become almost different beings in their own right. It’s not unusual for a Kang story to see two versions of the time traveler going up against one another. Ant-Man 3‘s Kang may not even be the same Kang the Conqueror in Secret Wars or The Kang Dynasty.
Kang’s Powers & Time Travel Abilities In Marvel Comics
Kang the Conqueror originates from the 30th century, a time when humanity had learned to enhance its physical qualities such as strength and speed. As such, he is beyond peak human, easily operating at the kind of level seen by modern-day super-soldiers such as Captain America, as well as being an unparalleled genius and a tremendously skilled tactician. He was able to conquer the entire 30th century and extend his conquest through time into a dimension known as Limbo, which may be an analog for the Quantum Realm in the MCU. Unfortunately, Kang’s greatest strength — his relentless determination and indomitable will — often serves as his greatest weakness.
Kang cannot see a challenge without wanting to overcome it, and on one occasion (constantly traveling back to re-fight the same battle against Ultron), his persistence almost destroyed the entire Multiverse by fracturing time and space — reminiscent of the Scarlet Witch’s fate in MCU Phase 4. Kang wears powerful battle armor and can access every weapon in history, including some of those created beyond the 30th century – through time travel. He has incorporated summoning technology into his armor, allowing him to summon any weapon he deems necessary from the time-stream. In addition, Kang travels through history to recruit the greatest warriors, defeating them in combat and recruiting them into his army. Naturally, he prefers to lead from the front.
Jonathan Majors Is Kang In The MCU
Jonathan Majors will be stepping into the MCU with the highest of audience expectations as he brings to life — for the first time in live-action movies — the beloved Silver Age villain, Kang the Conqueror. Marvel Studios’ approach appears to be a little more straightforward than the comics, because it sounds as though countless alternate timelines will have their own variants of Kang who battle for control of all time and space. Apart from Quantumania‘s Kang the Conqueror, Majors could potentially play Immortus, the Scarlet Centurion, the Warlord, and countless other versions of Kang. MCU audiences will have much more of Majors as Kang to look forward to after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Majors is a rising star right now, appearing in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods as well as Lovecraft Country. Marvel is no doubt pleased to add the increasingly respected actor to the MCU family.
Kang Is The Confirmed Big Bad Of The Multiverse Saga
Kang is the new Big Bad in the MCU, after constant speculation he would be throughout MCU Phase 4. It’s already clear Kang the Conqueror is a major force to be reckoned with in Marvel’s developing Multiverse Saga. According to He Who Remains, variants of Kang caused the first Multiversal war. Following Loki, the MCU’s Multiverse story was expanded through Marvel’s What If..?, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, although none contained a Kang appearance. MCU Phase 5 begins with Ant-Man 3, which features Kang as the main antagonist. Since Phases 4, 5, and 6 are dubbed The Multiverse Saga, the movies and Disney+ shows in Phase 5 are likely to have much more Kang as the MCU builds towards his showdown with the Avengers in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
The MCU Kang the Conqueror is different from his comic counterpart, but in ways that have set him up as the MCU’s perfect Thanos replacement. He is, quite simply, the most dangerous person in the Multiverse. Kang variants are literally the reason the first Multiverse was culled down to a single timeline. If multiple Kangs are allowed to exist, they will literally destroy existence. Not only is this a perfect way to set up an Avengers: Secret Wars inspired by the 2015 Secret Wars comic, but it also demonstrates just how powerful the MCU Kang is. As What If…? proved, Thanos variants are a threat in their own universe but not much to worry about outside them (as evidenced by what happened when a Thanos met Ultron in What If…?).
Kang the Conqueror is a threat to every version of reality, so much so that the TVA exists with the singular purpose of preventing Kang duplicates from emerging. The Multiverse has no issues with an endless supply of Thanos variants, but more than one Kang risks, in no uncertain terms, everything, everywhere, ever. Loki undoubtedly set the stage for the biggest threat ever seen in the MCU, but fans will get their first taste of how powerful Kang truly is on February 17, 2023 — the release date of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
What Kang Will Do In Ant-Man 3
Ant-Man 3’s Kang the Conqueror, based on the Marvel trailers, will corner Scott Lang into a deal that will force Scott to choose between Cassie and the fate of the Multiverse. It would seem that, despite his near-omnipotence, Kang still somehow needs Ant-Man to escape the Quantum Realm. As Kang is set to become MCU Phase 5’s main villain, the likelihood of Ant-Man and the Wasp beating Kang in his MCU debut is very low. In fact, with Scott telling Kang in the trailer that he can ensure that they both lose, there’s a real possibility that Scott Lang could die in Ant-Man 3.
As for Kang the Conqueror’s long-term plans, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is bound to further expand on the specific goals and ideology espoused by this particular variant of Kang. For all that’s been revealed about Scott and Kang’s ill-fated deal, not much else is known about what the deal entails. In any case, it’s likely that what Ant-Man 3‘s Kang wants is simple: complete control over time and the fate of the Multiverse. With the powers and technology at Kang the Conqueror’s disposal, the overarching plot of MCU Phase 5 could be about Kang eventually reaching this lofty goal. Because of whatever Kang does in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the MCU could be very different in MCU Phase 6.