Kang the Conqueror has been unleashed. The powerful comics villain made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut (of sorts) in the Loki Season 1 finale this week, and it didn’t take long for him to make an impression.
Following the death of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), a Kang variant who had been maintaining the stability of the time stream, the Loki finale concluded with the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston) stranded in an alternate reality already ruled by the conqueror himself.
The episode left fans reeling and prompted numerous questions about how Kang’s presence in the MCU will be felt across upcoming Marvel films and TV shows. Even more importantly, the Loki Season 1 finale may have also offered some much-needed insight into Kang’s upcoming role in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Kang’s Future in the MCU
It was revealed late last year that Jonathan Majors would star as Kang in Quantumania, and fans have been speculating ever since about what the villain’s role in the sequel might be. Considering how powerful Kang is, it had seemed strange for his first major MCU appearance to be in an Ant-Man sequel rather than a larger crossover project (like, say, Avengers 5).
Coming off the Loki finale, though, it’s starting to make sense why Marvel chose Quantumania as its first Kang-centric vehicle. As Loki confirms, Kang might very well be the most powerful time traveler the MCU has seen, which makes fighting him in the material plane seem like a foolhardy endeavor. What’s the point, if he can just send himself back in time and rewrite the timeline (as he appears to do at the end of Loki Episode 6)?
That means the only way to conceivably have a chance at going toe-to-toe with Kang is to meet him in a different dimension — one freed from the laws and constraints of time. You know, like the Quantum Realm.
Kang and Ant-Man 3
Avengers: Endgame establishes that navigating the Quantum Realm is the key to time travel within the MCU. It’s how the Avengers complete their time heist and is likely how Kang travels through time as well. So it makes sense that the character, now that he exists in the multiverse again, would show up in the next Marvel film that’s journeying into the Quantum Realm.
And to that end, no characters in the MCU are better equipped to take on Kang in the Quantum Realm than Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Those four have more experience with and knowledge of the Quantum Realm than anyone.
This means they may not only run into Kang in the Quantum Realm but also stand a real chance of fighting him. After all, what better way to neutralize a time traveler than to fight him outside of time?
The Inverse Analysis — How exactly the conflict between Kang and the Ant-Man team comes about in Quantumania is still a bit of a mystery. It’s the only upcoming MCU title that Kang is confirmed to appear in, but there’s no telling whether he’ll make surprise appearances in other films or TV shows before then, which could affect how his story plays out in Quantumania.
But whether Ant-Man’s heroes go to the Quantum Realm in pursuit of Kang or stumble upon him accidentally while conducting their own experiments, its central quartet would be well-advised to take him on while away from the material plane. Loki Episode 6 is indisputable proof of this.
Loki is streaming now on Disney+.