Who Is Kang? A Guide to the MCU’s New Thanos

Jonathan Majors’ character plays a major role in the next “Avengers” movie

Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Kang has arrived.

At Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige made official what many fans had been theorizing for some time: Kang the Conqueror is the MCU’s next Thanos-like villain. The character was kind of introduced in the Disney+ series “Loki” – we say “kind of” because the version of the character in that show was actually a variant of Kang, but not Kang himself.

Regardless, Jonathan Majors is stepping into the shoes of Josh Brolin and will be causing all kinds of havoc for our favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes, as evidenced by the title of “Avengers 5” – “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.” His first official appearance is in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

But who is Kang, how does he fit into the MCU, and what exactly is the Kang Dynasty? All your questions answered below.

Who Is Kang?

The character of Kang the Conqueror first appeared in Marvel Comics way back in 1963, in an issue of “Fantastic Four.” That iteration wasn’t quite Kang either, but a variant known as Rama-Tut, while “Kang” debuted in an issue of “The Avengers” in 1964.

He is a time-traveling entity who has many different past and future selves, which poses a problem for those trying to pin him down. In the comics, he’s most frequently a baddie for the Fantastic Four, so it’s no wonder that Marvel has a “Fantastic Four” movie set for release in 2024.

In the comics biography of the character, he begins as Nathaniel Richards – a descendent of Fantastic Four member Reed Richards – who is doing some research in the 31st century and travels back in time to ancient Egypt, where he becomes known as the pharaoh Rama-Tut. After a battle with the Fantastic Four, he attempts to retreat back to the 31st century but ends up in the 41st century instead, where he asserts dominion over the planet and becomes known as Kang the Conqueror.

While Kang has no superhuman abilities to speak of, he is a next-level genius (as seen in “Loki”) and utilizes advanced tech to fend off would-be enemies.

How Does Kang the Conqueror Fit into the MCU?

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kang is played by Jonathan Majors of “Lovecraft Country” and “Da 5 Bloods” fame. Majors made his debut in the Season 1 finale of “Loki,” in which Tom Hiddleston’s character made it to the Citadel at the End of Time and confronted a character named He Who Remains. A Kang variant, He Who Remains explained that several different versions of himself discovered alternate universes and confronted one another, resulting in a multiversal war. He put an end to it, created the TVA (Time Variance Authority) and instilled the “Sacred Timeline” which he has watched over for… a long time.

Because he can foresee the past, present and future he can anticipate what’s going to happen and the outcome of each possible action, and he has grown weary. So he offers Loki and Slyvie (Sophia Di Martino) a choice: They can kill him, ending the Sacred Timeline and risking chaos and another multiversal war sparked by his variants; or they can take over for him and lead the TVA and watch over the Sacred Timeline. Sylvie kills him, and Loki ends up in an alternate timeline where Kang the Conqueror is in charge of the TVA, all of which will likely be covered in “Loki” Season 2.

We finally meet Kang in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which kicks off Marvel’s Phase 5 and finds Kang squaring off with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly’s heroes. After that, all bets are off.

What Is “The Kang Dynasty?”

"Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" (Marvel)
“Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” (Marvel)

“The Kang Dynasty” – the title of the next “Avengers” movie – is also the name of a 16-part “Avengers” storyline that was written by Kurt Busiek, which ran from 2001-2002. That storyline found Kang returning from the future and taking over the entire planet Earth, with the Avengers assembling to try and stop him.

Whereas Thanos aimed to wipe out half the population of the universe, we could very well see Earth come under the control of Kang in the next major “Avengers” movie.

Will Kang Be in “Secret Wars”?

“Avengers 6” is titled “Secret Wars” and is itself based on an iconic comics run that found all the Marvel heroes and villains transported to a planet called “the battleworld” where they’re forced to fight to the death by a cosmic entity.

In the comics, the entity responsible is The Beyonder. But if “The Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars” are intended to work together as a two-part Avengers storyline like “Infinity War” and “endgame,” we can reasonably assume that Kang will be the one who transports all the heroes to “the battleworld” – and oh yes, there will be blood.

Stay tuned, folks. Phase 4 is just the beginning of the next major storyline — “The Multiverse Saga” — in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.