Avengers: Endgame may have concluded the Infinity Saga, but as those of you reading know all too well, the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t going anywhere. There are plenty of MCU movies to look forward to in the coming years, including Ant-Man 3 expected to drop sometime during Phase 5. Today, we finally have our first indication of what might be in store for Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne’s next adventure, as Lovecraft Country and Da 5 Bloods star Jonathan Majors has reportedly been cast as Kang the Conqueror.
Debuting in the comics nearly six decades ago, Kang the Conqueror is one of the more powerful villains in the Marvel universe. So while he may be introduced in Ant-Man 3, rest assured, this guy could end up having a Thanos-sized impact across the entire MCU. But before we delve into how Kang could affect the franchise, let’s delve into the characters background for those unfamiliar with him.
Who Is Kang The Conqueror?
Born Nathaniel Richards, Kang the Conqueror hails from the 31st century, and upon discovering time travel technology invented by Doctor Doom, he went back to ancient Egypt to rule the land as Pharaoh Rama-Tut. However, Kang was overthrown by time-displaced Fantastic Four, and after meeting Doctor Doom in the 20th century, Nathaniel tried to return to his native 31st century, but overshot by a millennium and ended up on an apocalyptic Earth where its denizens fought with advanced weapons they no longer understood. Taking advantage of the situation, Nathaniel conquered this Earth, rebranded himself as Kang the Conqueror and then went back in time to take over Earth at a time when it was less war-torn.
From there, Kang the Conqueror became a regular opponent of The Avengers, though he would antagonize the Fantastic Four several times and has also crossed paths with characters like Adam Warlock and Black Bolt. Because of Kang’s time-traveling, it’s harder to keep track of his personal history, namely because there are multiple versions of him existing at the same time (more on that in a bit), but because of all the incredible technology at his disposal and his own scientific and historic knowledge, it goes without saying he’s not to be underestimated.
He Can Take Time Travel To A New Level
Although Doctor Strange introduced time manipulation into the MCU, Avengers: Endgame brought in proper time travel, with the heroes who survived Thanos’ snap going through the Quantum Realm to retrieve the Infinity Stones from the past and using them to undo the Mad Titan’s genocide. Bringing in Kang the Conqueror allows the MCU to do even more with time travel, especially if the way that Jonathan Majors’ Kang travels through time results has direct implications on the franchise’s main timeline.
When one uses the Quantum Realm to time travel into the past, they end up in an alternate reality, so any major changes made will only impact said alternate reality, not the reality the traveller originated from. While it’s possible Kang the Conqueror’s time travel could work the same way in the MCU, if he’s only traveling through the main timeline, then he has the potential to change the franchise’s history, which would obviously have devastating ramifications.
That being said, it’s possible the MCU might go a different route with Kang the Conqueror. With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, WandaVision and Loki all exploring other realities, perhaps Jonathan Majors’ Kang hails from one of these universes, and has made the jump to the main MCU reality to carry out his mysterious plan. Even if that is the case, hopefully time travel is still involved with whatever he’s plotting.
Multiple Versions Of Him Could Appear In The MCU
Alternate versions of characters is nothing new within the superhero genre, particularly thanks to the multiverse concept. With Kang the Conqueror though, it’s way more complicated, as there are various past and future versions of him carrying out their own activities under different guises. As mentioned earlier, Kang originally caused trouble as Rama-Tut, and a future version of Kang briefly returned to this identity to aid the Avengers, but then resumed his normal Kang duties. There was also a period where Kang lived a quiet life in 1910 as Victor Timely, during which time he met and inspired a young scientist named Phineas Horton, the man who would go on to create the Human Torch android in the late 1930s.
Arguably the most well-known alternate version of Kang the Conqueror is Immortus, a future Kang who becomes an agent of the Time Keepers and rededicates his life to preserving timelines rather than taking them over, resulting in Immortus both working and clashing with the Avengers on several occasions. There’s also an adolescent version of Kang known as Iron Lad who’s been prominent over the last decade and a half, but we’ll touch on him. The point being, along with playing the main Kang in Ant-Man 3 and beyond, there’s a chance Jonathan Majors could play other versions of the character in different corners of the MCU.
He Could Set Up The Fantastic Four
As mentioned earlier, Kang the Conqueror fought the Fantastic Four in his Rama-Tut guise, but what I didn’t mention was this happened in his first comic book appearance: 1963’s Fantastic Four #19. Furthermore, as the last name Richards indicates, Kang might be a descendant of Mister Fantastic himself, Reed Richards. Although there is some confusion about this, as it’s also possible that Kang could be part of Doctor Doom’s lineage; the matter has yet to be resolved.
In any case, thanks to Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios has its hands on the Fantastic Four property and plans to introduce Marvel’s First Family into the MCU at some point. Using Kang’s familial connections to the team or its greatest adversary could be an interesting way to bring them into the fold. Even if the MCU’s Kang doesn’t end up being related to Reed Richards or Victor von Doom, his temporal manipulations could somehow lead to the superhero team and its associated characters being thrown into the modern-day MCU saga.
He Could Set Up The Young Avengers
The younger version of Nathaniel Richards mentioned earlier became Iron Lad after learning about how he was destined to become the sinister Kang the Conqueror directly from Kang himself. Wishing to avoid his villainous future, the young Nathaniel takes the time travel technology his older self gives him and transports himself to the present day to seek the Avengers’ help, only to discover that the team has disbanded. However, due to downloading The Vision’s operating system into his armor, Nathaniel initiates a chain of events that lead to him assembling the Young Avengers, and during that time, he becomes romantically involved with teammate Stature.
If you don’t know who Stature is, her real name is Cassie Lang. That’s right, Scott Lang’s daughter, who is now being played by Katherine Langford as of Avengers: Endgame. One can reasonably assume that Cassie will be back for Ant-Man 3, and more importantly, it’s been rumored over the last year that the threequelcould include the Young Avengers. Granted, Jonathan Majors is over a decade older than Nathaniel Richards was when he formed the Young Avengers as Iron Lad, but nevertheless, if Kang’s presence in Ant-Man 3 somehow results in the MCU iteration of that team coming together, that would make Ant-Man 3 an event-type film comparable to Captain America: Civil War. Even better, the Young Avengers could easily lead its own film series or Disney+ show.
With Ant-Man 3 still early into development and not having an assigned release date yet, it will likely be a while until we learn concrete details about how Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror will be used. Nevertheless, keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on the threequel, and learn what other Marvel movies are coming up with our handy guide.