We’ve Gotten Our First Look at Kang in ‘Quantumania,’ and I Already Stan Him
What a king
Now that the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer has dropped, the public finally has its first glimpse of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), and I’m already a fan.
Kang first appeared in Loki Season 1 as He Who Remains, the unsettlingly goofy secret head of the Time Variance Authority. In Loki, He Who Remains explains the origins of the TVA. After He Who Remains’s variants tried to destroy each other’s realities in a multiversal war, He Who Remains turned his own reality into the Sacred Timeline in order to prevent those variants from rising to power again. He warns Loki and Sylvie that unless they take over the TVA and prune all possible realities into one timeline, his variants in other universes will start their war again, eventually destroying the multiverse. “If you think I’m evil,” he says to Loki and Sylvie, “well, just wait till you meet my variants.”
Now we’ve finally met the guy he was talking about.
In the Quantumania Trailer, Kang appears wearing his costume from the comics, and seems to be the ruler of the Quantum Realm. He offers Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) a deal: He’ll help Scott get home if Scott does something for him in return. Although the public trailer doesn’t show us much of Kang, the trailer shown at Disney’s D23 Expo in September revealed a longer exchange between Kang and Scott, with Kang trying to remember if Scott was one of the many Avengers he’d already killed.
Quantumania is, of course, the first entry in Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when the Multiverse Saga will really start ramping up. One of the fun things about a multiverse is that you can play with different versions of a character, with an actor going in wildly different directions based on which variant they’re playing. We’re already seeing that at work with Majors’s portrayal of Kang.
Kang is not here to play games
Even though Loki’s Kang variant had a silly streak—and an altruistic one, in his own twisted way—we still saw the supervillain lurking underneath the exterior. He Who Remains was clearly terrified of his variants, having seen what they could do to the multiverse in their lust for power and domination, but he couldn’t escape the fact that he was the same person as those variants. This wasn’t even a Spider-Man: No Way Home situation, in which three different people all ended up wearing the same costume. No, He Who Remains and his variants are literally the same guy.
That means that He Who Remains was perfectly capable of starting a multiversal war himself, but for whatever reason, he was able to pull himself back from the brink of annihilation. Of course, you could also argue that He Who Remains won that multiversal war—after all, “pruning a timeline” is just a genteel way of saying “destroy a universe,” and He Who Remains made it his life’s work to destroy all other universes. He just dressed his victory up as a service he performed for the residents of his own universe.
Now, in Quantumania, it looks like we’re going to see Kang’s ruthlessness with the last vestiges of He Who Remains’s conscience stripped away. If the D23 footage makes it into the film’s final cut (and maybe even appears in the next trailer), then we may see Kang already well into his multiversal war, with a sizable body count behind him.
In an interview with Men’s Health Magazine earlier this month, Majors said that what drew him to the role “was the character and dimensions of Kang. And the potential that it had. I thought, I’ll take a chance on that.” The best villains are the complicated ones—the ones whose motivations you understand, even if you’re horrified by their actions—and Majors gets to explore Kang’s psyche by portraying literally separate versions of him.
Plus, there may be even more Kang variants to come. In the comics universe, there are infinite Kang variants, including Kang Prime, Immortus, and even the hero Iron-Lad. With Majors very likely to reprise the role in Loki Season 2 and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, we may see the same Kang that we meet in Quantumania, or we may see new iterations.
Whatever happens in Quantumania and beyond, one thing is for sure: It’s Kang’s MCU now, and I love it.
(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)
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