One of the first things audiences thought about when Avengers: Endgame came to a close was: what’s next? What could possibly come after Josh Brolin’s Thanos and his Infinity Stones? The world didn’t have to wait long to know the answer: Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror.
The villain is a time-traveling menace that is a master of his craft; his strategic knowledge puts him in the perfect place to guide and manipulate timelines. Needless to say, Marvel feels confident that he’ll be able to stand against Thanos and become a bigger threat than he ever was.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed the titles of the next two Avengers films: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. It seems that Kang will officially be a massive threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time to come.
So now, the big question is what exactly about Kang could make for a bigger threat than The Mad Titan? Well, there are a few reasons why the time-traveling baddie could rival Thanos’ villainous role in the MCU.
The Rise of Kang the Conqueror
One of the aspects of Thanos that made him so successful was how his threat was built up over the course of the entire Infinity Saga. He debuted in several post-credits scenes and also had a notable appearance during Guardians of the Galaxy.
But looking at the grand scheme of everything, Kang is always way ahead of the game. While Thanos had bits and pieces of set-up, Jonathan Majors’ villain has already gotten an entire episode of Loki devoted to setting the stage for his threat to take hold of the MCU.
Next, he’ll be appearing in Ant-Man: Quantumania as the film’s villain, and it wouldn’t be too shocking if a Variant of the same character played a role in Loki Season 2. So, that would make three significant appearances so far, all before his big Avengers film. Thanos never truly showed up until 2018’s Infinity War, despite being first teased in 2012.
The takeaway from that is how the buildup Kang has received to this point has already dwarfed Josh Brolin’s Thanos. But what about the actual threat he’ll pose?
The Scope of Kang’s Grip
The Infinity Stones, and their Gauntlet, were a big deal. They could do whatever the user wanted—even reshape all of existence, if desired. In fact, that’s exactly what Thanos threatened to do towards the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Those stones, and the big purple man wielding them, were easily the biggest threats the MCU has ever seen. Though, arguably, Kang’s Dynasty could be even bigger.
But how does one go larger than those iconic stones? Well, Kang controls the entire Multiverse. He Who Remains had every timeline in the MCU’s Multiverse under his thumb; he was pulling the strings and kept the Sacred Timeline together—until Sylvie messed that up.
Now, imagine that another of his Variants with a more sinister motive had the same power. He could end timelines out of spite if he wanted. Kang would be nigh unstoppable. Given how the character is even able to go outside of the Multiverse itself, it seems he could double, or even triple, the threat that Thanos was to all of existence.
Kang Reigns Supreme
In the comics, Kang Dynasty is an event that sees Kang and his son arrive in the present day to take over Earth in order to protect it from horrific futures. He’s actually successful in his endeavors for a time, but does end up being defeated by the Avengers.
Given the title, there’s no denying that Jonathan Majors will be the film’s big bad. Even better is how by the time the movie is released, he will almost certainly already have a handful of appearances to establish himself to the audience.
Maybe the MCU’s version of this story will be fairly contained to planet Earth and not on a cosmic or Multiversal threat just yet. Though, it’s hard to believe that the Multiverse wouldn’t be involved at all, given how this movie is one of the biggest events of the Multiverse Saga.
One theory could be that Kang will want to reign supreme over the Multiverse in order to protect existence from the destruction awaiting it in Secret Wars.
But What About After His Dynasty?
Now, when it comes to Secret Wars, there’s an interesting dilemma: none of the original stories have anything to do with Kang the Conqueror. He is far removed from those threats, so will Kang even be the big bad there?
Maybe the villain’s defeat at the end of Kang’s Dynasty could be the last straw for the Multiverse. An event so cataclysmic that it either starts off an endless domino effect of Incursions, or it triggers the final one, which will end all of existence.
The most popular version of the Secret Wars storyline sees the entire Multiverse break down and the end of all life—only to be saved at the bell thanks to a patchwork planet created by Doctor Doom. Given all the Multiverse focus, it would be a good bet that this is the direction the story is leaning towards.
So if Kang is defeated and the apocalyptic events of Secret Wars come to pass, maybe Majors won’t be the true villain of that film. This could pave the way for Doctor Doom to take his place as the God residing over Battleworld, the last slice of existence, as he does in the source material.
Even if Kang isn’t the big bad for the sixth Avengers movie, he is likely to play some sort of role still. With these two projects being announced so close together, it’s almost a guarantee that they’re intrinsically connected—in the same way that Infinity War is to Endgame.
Kang is the Future
With all the content that Marvel Studios is able to pump out these days, it’s allowed them to build Kang up in a way that simply wasn’t feasible for Thanos at the time. Hopefully, all of the development the character has going for him will pay off spectacularly. He’ll also have to live up to the threat Thanos was—which is pretty hard to achieve.
As big as Kang is, though, how will he connect to the other corners of the MCU? There’s the Celestials, Val’s Thunderbolts, Kingpin possibly being NYC’s mayor, the supernatural side of things—the list goes on and on.
Hopefully, these next two Avengers films will be as satisfying as Infinity War and Endgame were. It certainly feels like Marvel wants them to be on that level of scope and importance, rather than a more self-contained team adventure like Age of Ultron was.
Fingers crossed that Kang the Conqueror is able to stand amongst the best of the MCU’s villains in no time... or all of time?