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Who’s Kang the Conqueror? All you need to learn about Marvels latest Big Bad

He Who Remains in Loki season 1

(Image credit: Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

A long time ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a reputation for near-perfect interpretations of its comic-book heroes, but approaching short when it found the villains. Recently, however, famous brands Black Panthers Erik Killmonger, Thor: Ragnaroks Hela and, needless to say, Avengers antagonist Thanos have gone a way to redressing the total amount. And today, in Kang the Conqueror, the MCU could be going to unveil its biggest theif yet.

Played by Lovecraft Countrys Jonathan Majors, Kang is ready to enter the microscopic world of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, before aiming to conquer the wider Marvel multiverse. These efforts will presumably culminate in 2025s superhero team-up Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.

Majors has recently appeared as He Who Remains in Loki, but there are many questions about how exactly that (reportedly entirely different) character fits in along with his dangerous doppelganger.

In this explainer, weve pulled together all you need to learn about Kang the Conqueror, from his comic-book origins to how he could match the wider MCU. This being Marvel, concrete factual statements about his involvement in the films and Television shows are thin on the floor. However when youre considering a character with nearly six decades of backstory, the clues are on the market

He Who Remains in Loki season 1

Jonathan Majors already has MCU experience after appearing as He Who Remains in Loki. (Image credit: Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

Who’s Kang and just why is he a problem?

Kang the Conqueror might not be children name yet, but we are able to expect his familiarity to start out rocketing soon in the same way #Thanos became a subject of conversation after his brief cameo through the end credits of The Avengers.

Because the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves into Phase 5, Kang is poised to end up being the MCUs Biggest Bad, creating a lot of multiverse-spanning headaches for Earths Mightiest Heroes. To begin with, however, hell be making his official big-screen debut in February 2023s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Kang the Conqueror in Marvel's comics.

Kang the Conqueror in his comic-book incarnation. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Whats Kangs history in the Marvel comics?

Kang the Conqueror is really a genuine Marvel Comics veteran, dating back to to the glory days of the first 60s once the company was churning out iconic superheroes and supervillains at an awe-inspiring rate. Just like the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and Thor, Kang was the brainchild of the writer/artist dream team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and he made his debut in 1964s The Avengers #8.

Kang was originally Nathaniel Richards, a genius scientist born in the 30th century of Earth-6311, aka Other-Earth. This version of reality was more complex compared to the Earth-616 of the prime MCU timeline basically, the Dark Ages never happened but was also extremely susceptible to war. Nevertheless, a ceasefire was established following the arrival of another Nathaniel Richards, a time-traveler from Earth-616 who just been the dad of Fantastic Four founder Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic and could likewise have been an ancestor of his Earth-6311 namesake.

Richards-6311 wasnt a fan of peacetime, however, and after discovering time travel tech invented by perennial Fantastic Four antagonist Victor von Doom (another potential ancestor), made a decision to experience history for himself. He subsequently used his understanding of the near future and mastery of advanced technology to as his name suggests conquer numerous worlds.

Richards original destination was ancient Egypt, where he ruled as Pharoah Rama-Tut. Actually, Marvels Rama-Tut first appeared in 1963s Fantastic Four #19, before being retconned to become a youthful incarnation of Kang. (Other aliases the type has adopted during his timeline-hopping misadventures include Iron Lad, Scarlet Centurion, Victor Timely and Immortus.)

Rama-Tut eventually made a decision to go back to his original time frame, but his journey back again to the 30th century was disrupted by way of a time storm that carried him to a war-ravaged 40th century Earth. With the planets residents now unsure how exactly to utilize the past tech that has been still loaded in their world, Richards seized a chance to assume control. Assuming the Kang the Conqueror moniker, he subsequently became the ruler of Earth, prior to making moves on all of those other galaxy a training course of action that repeatedly brought him into conflict with the Avengers.

As befits a character with a brief history of traversing universes, you can find multiple Kang variants in the comics. The initial Prime Kang even established a Council of Kangs with two of his most ruthless alternative selves, plus they go about eliminating almost every other lesser Kang in the multiverse. Prime Kang then replaced the deposed Kangs with robot duplicates so he could rule their realms remotely.

Other notable Kang variants include Kangaroo the Conqueror from Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham, and a lady Kang from Marvels alternative Ultimate universe.

He Who Remains in Loki season 1

He Who Remains might not be Kang but he definitely looks nearly the same as him… (Image credit: Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

What exactly are Kangs superpowers?

Like Batman or Iron Man, Kang does not have any superhuman attributes beyond his genius-level intellect. To be able to travel through time holds true the foundation of his power, and he navigates the space-time continuum in a time-ship with the capacity of shifting between limitless schedules and realities.

Kang also walks around in super-advanced battle armor and contains access to probably the most powerful weapons imaginable. Quite simply, theres a solid chance he may have even an Infinity Stone-powered Thanos for breakfast.

Have we already seen Kang in the MCU?

It depends. Jonathan Majors, the Lovecraft Country/The Harder They Fall actor whos always been registered to star as Kang in the MCU, did come in the growing season finale of Loki, but he was playing a completely different character pretty much.

In Loki, Majors arrived as He Who Remains, the founder of that time period Variance Authority (TVA), the bureaucratic organization with a remit of keeping the space-time continuum on the right track. He resides in the so-called the Citadel by the end of Time, and its own here that Loki and Sylvie (the trickster gods variant from another timeline) confront him concerning the TVAs ongoing efforts to suppress free will.

In a lengthy and incredibly talky exposition scene, He Who Remains reveals a variant of himself was once a scientist on the planet in the 31st century. He found that there have been multiple parallel universes stacked along with his own, in the same way other variants in other realities stumbled on a single Earth 616-shattering revelation. They subsequently made connection with each other and shared knowledge that could enhance their respective worlds, but peace didnt last for long. Soon, multiversal war erupted as each variant fought to preserve their very own universe.

He Who Remains ended the conflict through the use of Alioth (an enormous creature that consumes time and space) to isolate an individual Sacred Timeline. Then established the TVA to control the flow of time and ensure it didnt stray from the pre-determined playbook.

In the end those lifetimes living alone by the end of time, however, He Who Remains is tired and searching for you to definitely fill his shoes in the Citadel. He sees Loki and Sylvie as ideal candidates however they dont fancy the gig so much in order that Sylvie kills He Who Remains, and plunges the timeline(s) into chaos.

He Who Remains had warned that his death would leave the Sacred Timeline exposed, and invite for countless other variants of himself to come back the majority of whom, he claims, are a lot more dangerous than he could be. This prediction is seemingly borne out by the end of the Loki finale, when Loki lands in a subtly altered version of the TVA that has an enormous statue of He Who Remains as its centerpiece.

Whether this new management at the TVA is Kang or another variant is unconfirmed, nonetheless it seems likely that Kang was unleashed when Sylvie killed He Who Remains.

He Who Remains in Loki season 1

Did He Who Remains lengthy speech supply any clues about Kangs MCU origins? (Image credit: Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.)

When are we likely to start to see the actual Kang?

Kang is definitely confirmed being an antagonist in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the initial movie released in the MCUs Phase 5 (due in theaters February 17, 2023). Appearing on stage at this years NORTH PARK Comic-Con, Majors teased that you will see conquering, while director Peyton Reed told the thousands in the audience that the movie will explore the Quantum Realm, that is not always everything you believe that it is. Footage screened at SDCC (though not yet released publicly) also hinted strongly that sub-microscopic world that famously made time travel possible in Avengers: Endgame will undoubtedly be where Ant-Man, the Wasp and co cross paths with Kang.

The initial poster released for the movie revealed that the appearance of Majors Kang will undoubtedly be heavily influenced by his comic-book counterpart:

1ST look at ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA! Poster I illustrated for @MarvelStudios @Comic_Con Honored to work again w/ @MrPeytonReed #PaulRudd @EvangelineLilly & 1st time Cassie @kathrynnewton & KANG #JonathanMajors #antmanandthewaspquantumania #Quantumania #antmanwasp #kang 23, 2022

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Kangs involvement in the MCU wont you need to be limited by one-off villain duties in Quantumania, however. Considering that a statue of his likeness featured heavily in the initial season finale, theres a solid chance that Kang (or another variant of He Who Remains) will appear in Loki season 2 especially as former TVA boss Ravonna Renslayer (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was romantically associated with Kang in the comics.

Meanwhile, the truth that Kangs namechecked in the title of the fifth Avengers movie, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (due in 2025, directed by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Destin Daniel Cretton), implies very heavily that hell be Phase 6s multiverse-threatening response to Thanos indeed, the usage of the term dynasty implies multiple Kangs could possibly be involved. Wed also expect Kangs malign influence to transport over into Avengers: Secret Wars, the final outcome of the existing cycle of MCU storytelling.

And dont be surprised if the villain makes an appearance in the MCUs new undertake the great Four (due in November 2024) in the end, his original incarnation in the comics, Nathaniel Richards, is distantly linked to the FFs Reed Richards. Could Marvels first family be establishing Kangs bid for multiversal domination?

Needless to say, given that Loki, Spider-Man: NO CHANCE Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have opened the doors of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse beyond the well-established Earth-616, theres potentially no limit to the places (and times) Kang, He Who Remains and their variants could pop-up.

Richard Edwards

Richard is really a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early on encounter with a particular galaxy far, a long way away started a lifelong romance with space, and nowadays Richard’s happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel along with other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, wherehe got tointerview most of the biggest names available though he’ll will have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard’s name was Winter.

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