Jonathan Majors' Kang Will Be a Bigger Avengers Villain Than Thanos in These 3 Ways

By Gillian Blum Updated:
Jonathan Majors Kang Thanos

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame certainly solidified Thanos as one of the greatest threats to the Marvel universe, but how can Marvel follow that up with the Infinity Saga being over and the Multiverse Saga in full swing?

Introducing an even bigger threat than Thanos, that's how.

Kang the Conqueror has already proven himself to be not only a worthwhile adversary for the Avengers but perhaps the team's toughest foe to date.

Kang is more than a "Thanos-like big bad," as plenty have pointed out. Yes, Kang is being set up as the overarching villain of the Multiverse Saga like Thanos was for the Infinity Saga, but Kang is an entirely different animal with plenty that differentiates him from his predecessor.

It is worth noting that Jonathan Majors, the actor who plays Kang, is the subject of an ongoing assault case, the trial for which is scheduled to begin in early September. It is always possible that Marvel's plans for what to do with Kang could change, depending on how the trial plays out and whether Majors stays aboard.

1.) Kang's MCU Multiverse Saga Set-Up

Thanos Kang

From the get-go of the Multiverse Saga, Kang's role has been at least somewhat planned. Majors' casting in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania was reported back in 2020, with the rumor being that he would play Kang.

He made his first on-screen appearance in the franchise the following year in Loki, both symbolically and literally ushering in the new Multiverse-focused era of the MCU as He Who Remains.

Before the words "Multiverse Saga" were even uttered to fans, before announcements of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Kang-centric post-credit scenes, even before the trailer for his first big-screen appearance in Quantumania dropped, fans knew Kang.

And what's more, fans were prepared for the sudden influx of trans-dimensional shenanigans and Kang influence in future projects, thanks to a year full of Multiverse-oriented stories like Spider-Man: No Way Home, What If...?, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Compare this to the Infinity Saga, wherein Thanos was relegated primarily to post-credit scenes (Guardians of the Galaxy notwithstanding). Fans didn't learn of Thanos' grand plan to wipe out half the universe until the movie where said plan was actually enacted. This is no one's fault in particular — it's highly likely that a vast, extended Multiverse and a major two-movie crossover event didn't even cross anyone's mind during production on early films like Iron Man.

But with the concept of a cinematic universe being so normalized that the phrase "extended Multiverse and major two-movie crossover event" could be referring to more than just the MCU, Marvel was able to lay the groundwork for Kang and slowly build his story in a way the studio couldn't for Thanos.

2.) Kang's Vast Variants

Kang Thanos Marvel

What's harder to defeat than a crazed dictator with Multiverse-bending powers and the ability to shape time and space to fit his own will? How about a seemingly never-ending fleet of that same crazed dictator?

Yes, the Avengers did fight two different versions of Thanos throughout Infinity War and Endgame, and yes, he did come with a full fleet. But, one villain with an army is nothing compared to that villain being the army.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania writer Jeff Loveness (who is also slated to write Avengers: The Kang Dynasty) explained it simply as "we’re going to be seeing a lot of him in a lot of different ways going forward:"

"Kang’s also a very lonely character. We’re going to be seeing a lot of him in a lot of different ways going forward, but I really wanted to introduce the humanity and even the vulnerability of this character before he gets to such apocalyptic, Avengers-scale heights."

Beyond the sheer number of Kangs, as Loveness said, the concept of variants also allows fans to get to know the character of Kang better prior to the more "apocalyptic" stories down the road.

Fans can see a complete story about Kang, learn about his past, his ambitions, and his goals, and not feel as though story elements were missing, in the final episode of Loki's first season. Then, they can do it all again with a different Kang variant in Quantumania.

In this process, two variants have offered fans two different insights into Kang as a character, creating more developed lore for the character. This differs greatly from Thanos, whose backstory was not presented in detail until the movie wherein it began to matter most.

On top of all of this, Kang's many variants give several opportunities for Majors to portray a villain that, in his words, is "creating a totally different energy than what Thanos is:"

"The exciting thing about getting to originate that character on the page in the MCU was sorta creating a totally different energy than what Thanos is, which is measured and principled, almost monk-like in his evil aspirations. And obviously, He Who Remains is a much more squirrelly, chaotic, narcissistic presence. So that was a lot of fun."

While here Majors is specifically discussing He Who Remains, fans can notice where this attitude of "creating a totally different energy" comes into play as Majors portrays the other Kang variants in Quantumania.

3.) Kang's Infinite Impact

Kang MCU Thanos

Finally, Kang stands out from Thanos because of the scale of his impact.

One may think that Thanos wiping out half of the universe is about as large-scale as it can get. But Kang is capable of Thanos-level destruction across every universe. Loveness once described him as "almost this infinite Thanos," as he can do what Thanos can across every single universe:

"Kang is a top-tier, A-list Avengers villain. What do you do when you feel you’re not enough against that? How do you step up to face the challenge of this generation, who is Thanos on an exponential level? He’s almost this infinite Thanos. I think we’re setting things up for a pretty dynamic story."

Further, combine this concept of Kang's infinite impact with his seemingly infinite variants, and it gets even scarier. Not only is there a villain capable of wiping a person and every alternate version of that person from all of time and space, but also if someone does manage to defeat him, they will still have a literal arena of the same villain ready to finish the job to deal with.

Now, fans can get excited to see how the Avengers ultimately choose to fight against this threat.

It took five years of stagnancy, Scott Lang accidentally discovering time travel, Tony Stark purposefully inventing time travel, a full team of Avengers, a second full team of Avengers literally appearing out of thin air, and one self-sacrificing Iron Man to prevail against Thanos.

How will the Avengers fare against an army of Kangs, all of whom have an established goal and the capability of literally rewriting every version of existence? That's the "pretty dynamic story" Loveness was talking about, and that's how Marvel follows something as groundbreaking as the conclusion of the Infinity Saga.

Kang's next appearance will be in the second season of Loki, which premieres on October 6.

- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.