Recent Marvel rumors have pointed to the idea that Kang the Conqueror will use the Loki TV series on Disney+ his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. That rumor builds on theories about Kang in the MCU that started with Avengers: Endgame's release, as the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse seemed like a pathway that leads straight to Kang's introduction as the next Thanos of the franchise. Given the ambitious new storylines Marvel Studios is planning for Phase 4, and the bigger reveals we still have yet to see, it's hard to dispute that Kang the Conqueror is the perfect villain for everything fans want in Phase 4 of the MCU (and beyond), including the introduction of the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Young Avengers teams.
Let's start with the obvious: With Kang, we get a villain that's a perfect fit for this bold new Marvel Cinematic Multiverse!
The Thanos of Time
With the MCU Infinity Saga we got Thanos as our big bad - a cosmic villain whose presence touched everything from Captain America: The First Avenger's Tesseract, to Guardians of the Galaxy's orb, and the events of the first two Avengers movies (which were very much focused on Earth). However, in Phase 4 of the MCU that "bad bad" position gets a lot harder to fill, as the MCU has literally and figuratively gotten more fantastical and convoluted with concepts like time travel and alternate dimensions.
The question now is what kind of Marvel villain can pull together the Earth-bound events in projects like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Shang-Chi with the more cosmic/time/alternate dimension events of Loki, WandaVision, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Eternals? Well, if various heroes and/or villains are going to start playing fast and loose with time and reality, then there's only one best answer to that question: Kang the Conqueror.
As an imperial warlord who can either hop through time with an entire army at his back, or manipulate events in time by disguising himself and influencing key points in history, Kang is a villain that can literally be wreaking havoc on Earth and posing a bigger threat to the entire cosmos and timeline - often at the same time.
The Man Who is Many
If you don't know Kang's history, this particular Marvel villain is truly unique in the fact that he's actually transformed himself into several different characters in Marvel lore - each pivotal in shaping key events or character destinies. That lineup of Kang's alter-egos includes:
- Rama-Tut - The ancient Egyptian ruler was actually Kang, who took on the role early in his time travels, and has returned to it at key points.
- Immortus - An older version of Kang who eventually tires of conquering and instead becomes a scholar of time, appointed by the guardians of time, the Time Keepers. Immortus exists in Limbo, the place outside of time, watching over events in the Marvel Multiverse.
- Iron Lad - When the young man who will become Kang learns of his dark destiny, he rebels against it, traveling back in time to the modern Marvel Universe to become the armored hero, Iron Lad.
- Victor Timely - the mayor of a small town in northern Illinois, circa 1910.
Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who don't know the extensive history of Kang the Conqueror wouldn't know that all these characters are one and the same. Therefore, "Kang" could appear in various places in the Phase 4 (or Phase 5) saga without casual viewers ever knowing what was taking shape - until those big reveals came later. However, hardcore Marvel fans would clearly see what's taking shape, and would reasonably be buzzing about all exciting connections that come with it...
X-Men, F4, Young Avengers & More
The biggest reason why Kang is a perfect choice for the next MCU big bad villain? His influence opens the door on important connections to some highly-anticipated new teams that fans want (and predict) will soon be coming to the franchise.
Fantastic Four - Kang's true identity is "Nathaniel Richards," who is a suspected descendant of Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic. Nathaniel's obsession with history and the time travel tech of Doctor Doom is what inspires him to first become a time traveler, and leads to him first arriving in ancient Egypt and taking on the Rama-Tut persona. So if there's a way to explain how the Fantastic Four suddenly appear in the MCU continuity, the manipulations of their descendant from an alternate timeline could certainly help explain that major retcon.
X-Men - It's been a big point of controversy that Marvel Studios wasn't legally allowed to use the term "mutants" while 20th Century Fox still owned the X-Men, which is why there's no mention of them anywhere in the MCU. However, in Marvel lore the appearance of the first mutant came in Ancient Egypt with the emergence of En Sabah Nur, the man who would eventually become Apocalypse. En Sabah Nur manifested his mutant powers during Rama-Tut / Kang's reign; it was Kang's knowledge of the future and mutantkind that led him to try and murder En Sabah Nur, only to end up causing the creation of Apocalypse, "The First Mutant." So if MCU Kang follows the Rama-Tut origin story, it would also retcon the franchise's past so that mutants are now a part of it. The X-Men could then be easily retconned into the modern MCU.2comments
Young Avengers - When young Kang comes to the modern Marvel Universe and takes on the Iron Lad persona, he also forms the team known as the Young Avengers. That series already has foundations forming in the MCU, with the Ms. Marvel, WandaVision and Hawkeye Disney+ series all introducing key characters that could fill out a Young Avengers team. The Iron Lad story would definitely need to be a part of that, as it tells a tragic tale of time travel causality, which would serve as the perfect finale to the next big MCU Saga. Basically, Iron Lad eventually kills his older self, Kang, but because Kanga is such a pivotal figure in key historical events, he must exist. Iron Lad ends up having to let himself become Kang to set things right - which would, again, blow fans minds as the ending to the next big MCU crossover event.
Avengers Forever - As for what the next big MCU crossover event would be? Well, if Kang is the big bad in question, then his time travel and various personas make the "Avengers Forever" storyline a prime choice. That series sees an elite team of Avengers get built from various members plucked out Marvel's past, present, and future, to fight the "Destiny War" against a future where the Avengers became a galactic threat. Kang, Rama-Tut and Immortus are all key players in that story, and if the premise were applied to the MCU, it would allow for stars like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Chris Evans' Captain America to eventually return for the big crossover event film(s). Who wouldn't love that?
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1st, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier August 20th, The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision on December 20th, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.