Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige promised that the upcoming slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe series for Disney+ will be significant extensions of various storylines of the movies, while also helping set the stage for the large storyline of Phase 4. Well, that claims looks more and more true with every new piece of information we get about these Disney+ MCU shows - and now a new rumor suggests that the upcoming Loki Disney+ series could actually set up the next big villain of the MCU! As the rumor goes, Loki's run through timelines of the MCU will open the door to Kang The Conqueror's debut!
Marvel scooper Daniel RPK dropped the rumor that Loki will be introducing Kang, who has long been speculated by fans industry insiders to be a big villain coming in Phase 4. Marvel Studios has never even hinted at Kang's MCU debut (let alone confirmed it), but fans have been taking careful note of all the breadcrumbs being dropped, which seem to lead that way.
As soon as Avengers: Endgame hit theaters and broken open the doors to an entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, theories started dropping that Endgame was setting the stage for Kang to be the next Thanos. Loki's sequence in Endgame was especially curious, as his escape with the Tesseract in the alternate "Battle of New York" timeline meant that the Loki series would be set in an alternate version of the MCU. When the Marvel Disney+ trailer dropped during the Super Bowl, fans instantly spotted that Loki teased the premise of the trickster god being arrested by the Time Variance Authority - a Marvel Comics organization that (in simplest terms) makes sure that rouge variants in the Marvel Multiverse (like this alternate 2012 Loki) are strategically removed.
Kang The Conquer is the figurehead of time travel villainy in the Marvel Universe. He not only is a time-traveling warlord conqueror who has repeatedly threatened The Avengers, Earth, and time itself - he's also actually multiple different key characters in the Marvel Universe. During his own lifetime of time travels, Kang is at once "Kang the Conqueror"; the ancient Egyptian Pharoh Rama-Tut (while on break from his Kang persona); as a young man he becomes the leader of the Young Avengers, Iron Lad; the mayor of a quiet early 20th century town in Illinois, Victor Timely (just as a vacation spot); and in his older, wiser years, a scholar and protector of the timestream, known as Immortus.
The timey-wimey story of Kang has repeated crossovers with the Time Variance Authority. One big example in Marvel lore is the The End of Time itself, when the last director of the TVA creates the Time Keepers as the last beings in the final timeline. The Time Keepers in turn transform Kang into Immortus, but in doing so inspire a younger version of that same man to commit to his kife as Kang The Conqueror.
So in other words: If Loki is setting the stage for Phase 4's big storyline about the Marvel Multiverse (see also: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), there's no better time or way to introduce Kang, and tie all these events together with one big villain.
...And since Kang's true origin is being a descendant of Reed Richards, who gets his time travel tech from Doctor Doom's research, let's also get the Phase 4 Fantastic Four while we're at it!
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.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.