Quantumania

Kang the Conqueror: New MCU image reveals how Marvel will replace Thanos

In an interview, Ant-Man 3 director Peyton Reed explains the appeal of Kang.

There’s a Thanos-sized hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s about to get filled. After a brief appearance in Loki, Jonathan Majors will return as Kang the Conqueror in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ahead of an even bigger role in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2025). But in the meantime, a new report from Empire could reveal how Kang will compare to Thanos as the MCU’s new big bad.

Kang the Conqueror’s new look

While we’ve seen Kang before — both as “He Who Remains” in Loki and in trailers for Ant-Man 3 — this is perhaps our best look yet at the new Marvel villain.

Awesome purple super-suit and green cape aside, the most interesting detail about Kang the Conqueror here is the striking scar across the left side of his face. As you may recall, the character we met in Loki did not have the same scar, which confirms we’re dealing with a very different variant.

It’s possible that as more and more Kang variants show up, they could be distinguished by scars and other notable facial features. We expect to see plenty of other Kangs in the MCU, especially once he’s ready to take on the Avengers. So this could be a clever way to clue in the audience and also plant the seeds for future reveals. (Keep a close eye on Kang’s face in Ant-Man 3 just in case that scar ever disappears.)

But as interesting as that image is, the quotes from director Peyton Reed that come with it are even more illuminating, especially when it comes to how Kang will succeed Thanos in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.

Kang vs. Thanos

Kang defeats Thanos in a 2021 comic.Marvel

Let’s review some of these quotes.

For one thing, there’s a clear line between Ant-Man 3 and The Kang Dynasty in the form of screenwriter Jeff Loveness.

“I think it has a profound impact on the MCU,” Reed told Empire. “Jeff Loveness, who wrote this movie, is writing The Kang Dynasty as well, so there’s been a lot of discussion about the impact that this appearance of Kang The Conqueror makes. There are big things in store.”

Reed also notes that the Kang we meet in his movie will be a totally different character from the energetic weirdo we met in Loki: “Kang The Conqueror in our movie is a very different character. He’s someone who has dominion over time, and he’s a warrior and a strategist.”

Finally, the director calls Kang the Conqueror an “all-timer antagonist” and adds that it’s exciting to put one of Marvel’s least powerful Avengers up against what could be the most dangerous character in the MCU to date.

Overall, it seems clear that Ant-Man 3 will do a lot to set the stakes for Marvel’s next few phases. It could also deliver some major clues about Kang’s larger plans for the MCU. And, most important of all, it should finally give us an antagonist who can measure up to Thanos and bring back the one thing Marvel’s been missing: a truly epic villain.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania premieres February 17, 2023.