Heading into Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, we expected Marvel Studios to establish Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror as the MCU's new big bad. It seemed a little odd for him to be introduced in an Ant-Man movie, but the villain being tied to the Quantum Realm went some way in explaining that.
Instead, Kang ended up being killed off in short order and a mid-credits scene introduced a Council of Kangs led by Immortus, Rama-Tut, and a Centurion.
Marvel Studios not heading down the expected route isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's still a little frustrating to walk away from Phase 5's opening chapter with more questions than answers. It's also fair to say there's a lot about Kang that still doesn't make sense, and it's those issues we're taking a closer look at here...all while attempting to figure them out!
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5. Does He Travel Time Or The Multiverse?
Marvel Studios has done a poor job of establishing a clear difference between travelling through time and the Multiverse. On the one hand, it appears that doing the former creates new timelines, but on the other, we've seen how different worlds are home to almost unrecognisable Variants (such as Loki being female instead of male).
In the comic books, Kang has always been a time-traveller, with his exploits creating new versions of himself who have battled Earth's Mighties Heroes on countless occasions.
The MCU's Conqueror, however, appears to just hop from reality to reality on a mission to destroy all other timelines and every single one of his alternate selves, and that's a far cry from what we've seen on the page. Based on the evidence we've seen thus far, it appears this Kang and his Variants are more interested in the Multiverse than time travel.
4. Is He Who Remains Who He Was Or Who He Becomes?
In Loki, we learned that He Who Remains was a Variant who unleashed the power of Alioth during the Multiversal War to destroy every other reality and ensure he was the last Kang standing. Creating the Sacred Timeline, he was then left to exist outside of time and ensure his Variants would never return by using the TVA to prune timelines.
In many ways, He Who Remains was the Kang who won, but his story ended with a dagger to the heart courtesy of Sylvie. The villain seemed confident he would find himself back there but is that how time and the Multiverse work in the MCU?
As He Who Remains created Earth-616, we have to assume that was once his world (or an approximation of it). Whether history is doomed to repeat itself with that world's Kang helping The Avengers and becoming the last remaining Kang at the end of time remains to be seen. However, the only way to stop Kang may be to destroy every one of him...
3. What Became Of The Conqueror?
An earlier cut of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumnaia saw Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne trapped in the Quantum Realm, with Kang the Conqueror escaping. That was clearly meant to set the stage for him to return, but the threequel instead ended with the villain's apparent demise after he was knocked into his Multiverse engine.
It was a weird moment and one that saw Kang pulled into a device that was powerful enough to help him travel from timeline to timeline and destroy them. While it would be easy enough to assume he was obliterated, this was a somewhat bizarre way to end the Conqueror's story.
It's been rumoured that Avengers: Secret Wars' big bad will be The Beyonder, though he'll be a Kang Variant in the MCU. That actually makes sense on a number of levels, and we're hoping the Conqueror being imbued with that immense power source is what transforms him into a being capable of rewriting reality itself...
2. What's The Deal With The Council Of Kangs?
What should have been an exciting tease in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania's mid-credits scene has instead left us more confused than anything. The Council of Kangs is a concept from the comic books, but one that was never particularly well-defined or used beyond a handful of issues.
Their main goal was to destroy any divergent Kangs that threatened the Prime Variant's eventual transformation into Immortus, but as the MCU's Multiverse is full of Variants, we'd assume the endgame isn't the same here. They know what Ant-Man did and now appear to be taking aim at Earth's Mightiest Heroes, so that could be The Kang Dynasty's premise.
We're not sure what sort of a movie The Avengers assembling to fight Immortus, Rama-Tut, and The Centurion will be, but with countless Variants waiting in the wings, it feels like a one-sided battle. Oh, and is there a Kang on Earth-616 or was that the Conqueror?
1. Is There A Prime Kang?
Despite how many Kangs there have been over the years, it always comes down to the Conqueror. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that fans expected Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania to establish him as the MCU's new big bad.
That didn't happen, of course, and we're no closer to knowing who the Prime Kang is. That appeared to be He Who Remains last time around, but if he was Earth-616's Nathaniel Richards, then every other Kang may now be a Variant...unless that world's Kang will be reborn after his demise? It's really confusing and something Marvel Studios has limited time to address.
In many ways, there needs to be a Prime Kang, but if time travel is taking a back seat to his story, perhaps not. The closest we get to an all-powerful, all-important Kang could be the Variant who returns as The Beyonder...as of right now, they all feel pretty disposable, unfortunately.