Phase 5 of the MCU has kicked off with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
Kang, played by Jonathan Majors, is the Multiverse Saga's answer to Thanos
The fan favourite character has been a big part of the comics for decades
But what threat does he pose to Earth, the Avengers, and the multiverse?
Introducing the Conqueror
Although Majors appeared as a Kang variant in Loki Season 1, Quantumania sows the seeds for the next two Avengers movies and introduces the villainous Council of Cross-Time Kangs.
The origin of Kang the Conqueror is a typically complicated one for a time-travelling supervillain. He first appeared on the pages of Marvel Comics in 1963’s Fantastic Four #19.
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Here, he faced off against Marvel’s First Family under the alias of Pharoah Rama-Tut: a futuristic scholar who travelled from the 31st Century to conquer Egypt. He later emerged as Kang in 1964's The Avengers #8.
Kang is really called Nathaniel Richards and is a possible descendant of Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic. Rama-Tut was forced into the 20th Century by the Fantastic Four, and by using Doctor Doom's armour, created a persona called the Scarlet Centurion in 1968's The Avengers Annual #2.
If you're keeping up, the character of Immortus was retroactively established as Kang's future self in 1975's Giant-Size Avengers #3.
Richards' younger self is part of the Young Avengers as Iron Lad, there's a version that works for the Time Variance Authority as Chronomonitor #616, and there's Victor Timely: a Kang variant who gives up on conquering the 21st Century and places himself in 1901 as the mayor of his own town.
Several of the above appear in Quantumania, and before Ant-Man 3 set up Majors as Timely for Loki season 2, the first post-credit scene introduced a plethora of Kang variants known as the Council of Cross-Time Kangs.
Who are the Council of Cross-Time Kangs?
Quantumania's first post-credit scene replecated the iconic Council of Cross-Time Kangs panel from 1988’s Avengers #292. The big three of Rama-Tut, Immortus, and (we assume) Scarlet Centurion are leading the others, saying that "they" have started to "touch the Multiverse" and threaten to take it away. This is seemingly a nod toward our Earth-616 Avengers lineup, but remember, Quantumania's Kang claimed to have killed plenty of Earth's Mightiest Heroes over the years.
We met He Who Remains (also played by Majors) appeared in the Loki Season 1 finale, with this Kang at the end of time saying he won the Multiversal War to become the "Prime Kang" and wrangle the Sacred Timeline.
By killing He Who Remains, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) inadvertently triggered the Multiverse and allowed the other Kangs to mobilise. It's this infinite number of variants who have now formed the Council of Cross-Time Kangs.
Most thought the Kang of Quantumania would be the Prime Kang, however, his apparent death in the Quantum Realm cast doubt over this. The bearded Immortus looks like the de facto lead because he summoned the Council of Cross-Time Kangs.
As this version of Kang is the oldest and the one all others are destined to become, it makes sense he’s in charge here. How many Kangs will make it through to the Avengers ensemble of 2025's The Kang Dynasty remains to be seen.
When will Kang return to the MCU?
It's unclear when we'll next see Kang after Quantumania, but following a reveal that his likeness had taken over the TVA in the Loki finale — and the Timely tease — Loki Season 2 looks like a solid bet. Beyond that, the space-based adventures of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Secret Invasion's Skrull-based conflict seemingly counts him out. Then again, the Skrull Kang we see in Quantumania's colosseum is a potential link.
Speaking to EW, MCU overlord Kevin Feige warned that not every Phase 5 outing will be tied to Kang, telling fans: "Not every film in the Infinity Saga focused on the Infinity Stones or Thanos, and it'll be the same across 5 and 6.
"But we're gearing up. People will get a taste of this in a big way in Quantumania as we lead to Avengers: Secret Wars, which I'm extremely excited for."
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Let’s remember Thanos was first teased via an uncredited cameo appearance in 2012's The Avengers and became a looming presence until Infinity War in 2018. Even though things are being streamlined so Kang can become the big bad of The Kang Dynasty in just two years' time, we're expecting some cameos.
Just like Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) made a surprise appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Kang variants could be peppered throughout any of the upcoming movies and shows.
Majors has hyped the future of Kang and his variants, telling Digital Spy how he'll have similar importance to Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) as a Nexus being who can traverse the Multiverse. As for wrapping up Kang's story, Major's added, "Who is Kang? I think that is a question that we will all be answering for a very long time."
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Despite Disney holding back on announcing any cast members for the next two Avengers movies, The Kang Dynasty looks like a certainty for Majors.
2026's Secret Wars isn't locked in, however, we imagine it'll be similar to Thanos' two-movie arc for Infinity War/Endgame. Kang and his variants may be ruling the roost for now, but with other goliaths like Mephisto, Galactus, and Doctor Doom presumably waiting in the wings, we’re sure there will be a new Kang as soon as there was a new Thanos.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is on Disney+ now.