Kang The Conqueror's MCU Origin Explained
Loki's season finale revealed who the real power behind the Time Variance Authority was, and it turns out it wasn't so much the godly entities known as the Time-Keepers, so much as it was a single man: He Who Remains. Played by Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors, He Who Remains came with the tease of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next big bad - the evil variants of He Who Remains, who seek conquest of the entire Marvel Multiverse. While Loki episode 6 didn't drop any official name for Majors' character beyond the "He Who Remains" reference, Marvel fans know this was set up for none other than Kang The Conqueror.
However, the MCU version of Kang has a very different origin story than his Marvel Comics counterpart. Here is Kang's MCU origin explained:
MCU Kang's Origin Story
Loki's finale episode "For All Time. Always." reveals that He Who Remains is a 31st-century scientist who discovered the multiverse, and began to interact with variant selves, sharing knowledge and technology from all realities.
However, the variations in the scientist included imperial-minded variants who wanted to conquer each reality, resulting in the Multiverse War between the Scientist's variant selves, with He Who Remains emerging victorious by streamlining reality into one single "Sacred Timeline" that keeps his evil variants as at bay. Those evil variants are first hints about "Kang The Conqueror", the Marvel Comics villain who is clearly the next big bad of the MCU. The final shot of Loki shows a statue of Jonathan Majors as Kang, giving us a first look at the villain's MCU design (sans his iconic helmet).
Who Is Kang?
In Marvel Comics, Kang The Conqueror is like his MCU counterpart in that he's a 31st-century scientist. However, in the comics, that scientist doesn't discover a multiverse - he's the alleged descendant of Fantastic Four's Reed Richards, who uses time-travel technology developed by Dr. Doom to travel to different points in time, and assert his rule through different personas - including a helmeted warlord named Kang, who comes to modern-day to challenge the Avengers in battle.
Eventually when Kang ages into an old man he becomes tired of conquering and becomes more of a scholar of the timelines; eventually he's tapped by actual aliens called the Time-Keepers to watch over the timelines of the multiverse as Immortus, Master of Time. Immortus had a major hand in steering the lives of key Avengers characters (like Scarlet Witch and Vision) in order to stop Kang and guarantee certain nexus events unfold. Loki's version of He Who Remains is pretty much Immortus by another name.
The MCU also seems to be borrowing from the era of Kang's comic history where the "Council of Kangs" or "Kang Collective" was a big aspect of the character's story. That group was led by "Prime Kang" and started out being used by Immortus to eliminate other variant Kangs before eventually becoming a group of Kangs all aligned in their purpose of conquest.
What Does Kang Mean For The MCU?
Kang (and the Kang Collective) are now set up to be the next big bad villain of the MCU. Loki made it clear that Kang's power over time and alternate realities make Thanos' Infinity Stones look like paperweights - and there is an entire cabal (if not army) armed with that level of power. This is going to be an entirely different level of battle for the heroes of the MCU.
Behind the scenes, the cool thing about Kang is that the villain's comic book concept allows for a lot of fun opportunities to slide Jonathan Majors into all kinds of MCU appearances - on TV and in film. Kang has had several major personas and variants in comics lore, so the franchises Majors could appear in range from Fantastic Four and X-Men to Spider-Man: No Way Home. In fact, Majors' first official appearance as "Kang" will be Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - literally every franchise is viable for a Kang or Kang variant role. Jonathan Majors could become a living "Where's Waldo?"!
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.