In Loki, the creators of the Marvel Cinematic Universe found a way to have their cake and eat it too: The appearance of Jonathan Majors. We already knew that the actor would play the multiversal villain Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and yet he appeared a little sooner than we had expected — in the Loki finale no less.
Majors doesn’t play Kang the Conqueror in Loki, however. Instead, he is He Who Remains, a Kang variant, and the creators of the MCU can congratulate themselves on a well-played sleight of hand.
Kang the Conqueror will still debut in Quantumania. The question is, could this gimmick work again in Eternals?
The list of Kang Variants is longer than the TVA’s records, but there’s one that crops up over and over again in the comics: Rama-Tut, a time-traveling pharaoh from Ancient Egypt. Eternals is the perfect opportunity to introduce Rama-Tut into the MCU ahead of introducing Kang himself.
First appearing in Fantastic Four #16 all the way back in 1963, Rama-Tut has a prolific villainous career. When the character of Kang the Conqueror is established, Rama-Tut is retroactively revealed to be one of his alter-egos. He even fights Kang in Giant-Size Avengers #2.
Marvel movies tend to take place in the present (Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain Marvel being the obvious exceptions). But Eternals — supposed to explore the fall-out of Avengers: Endgame — will span 7,000 years of human history.
It’s more than likely the Eternals will encounter at least one ancient civilization. Why not use the opportunity to establish one of the comics’ most iconic villains firmly in the MCU?
Even if Rama-Tut isn’t the main antagonist of the film, a well-placed, walk-on appearance could fuel anticipation for Kang’s own debut in 2023.
At stake is the whole point of the MCU. If Kang really is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next Big Bad, the franchise has to keep fans interested in the looming threat for at least the next two years. The MCU’s creators did this successfully in Loki, and the challenge now is finding a way to repeat the trick and keep fans on their toes.
By including Rama-Tut in Eternals, Marvel can plant the seeds for an evil villain within its existing history, thousands of years in the past. That way, when Kang the Conqueror eventually makes his first real appearance, his reputation will precede him by millennia.
Eternals premieres in theaters on November 5, 2021.