For those watching Loki, to say that the show’s fifth episode was a doozy would be an understatement. Loki’s pruning led to him being dumped into The Void, a Limbo-esque world that is said to exist at the very end of time.
Many arguments can be made about whether this Void is outside of time itself or if it’s simply on a desolated planet at the very end of time. One thing is for sure: it’s the place where variants and timelines go to die.
Of course, this is thanks to the evil angry cloud - a cloud that goes by Alioth, which is destroying everything that gets in its path. Alioth’s mere presence teases the potential identity of the person behind the TVA. The person that is possibly hiding beyond Aloith’s thick cloud.
In the closing moments of the episode, as Loki and Sylvie successfully enchant Alioth, the clouds part to reveal a massive castle behind the curtains. There’s only one person who would build a castle at the end of time, one that’s protected by an angry cloud that erases entire timelines: Kang the Conqueror.
Kang has been teased time and time again in the show, with Revonna Renslayer’s mere involvement being a big sign of storylines to come. But there’s one big storyline that might be heading to the MCU sooner rather than later, and it involves a group that has yet to be seen: The Fantastic Four.
THE FANTASTIC FOUR CONNECTION
How in the world does Kang connect to the Fantastic Four, one may ask? Well, the connection goes pretty deep. A disclaimer though - the history and many stories of Kang the Conqueror are anything but simple.
In fact, before becoming Kang, he was Nathaniel Richards. In the comics, there are two Nathaniel Richards of note. The first, and key one, was the Richards from the 31st century of Earth-6311 - a world where humanity never went into the Dark Ages.
In this world, those centuries of advancement and warfare have led to a war-torn future. This future finds peace thanks to a different Nathaniel Richards, a time-traveler from Earth-616 and the father of Reed Richards. Yes, that Reed Richards.
While the name Nathaniel Richards seems obvious enough, it was confirmed in the comics by Uatu the Watcher himself that the lineage connection to Reed Richards was there. There were also brief implications that Nathaniel shared lineage with Victor Von Doom, but it remains unclear how truthful that was.
Either way, Nathaniel Richards of Earth-6311 grew to be a respected scientist and scholar of his world. He also held a fascination with Earth-616 thanks to recordings and devices left behind by Nathanial Richards, who had previously traveled to his world.
One of those devices was a time travel gadget. Taking it upon himself, Richards learned how to use it, and came to master its abilities. While there are many divergent variants of Richards/Kang in the comics, the one that led to his first encounter with the Fantastic Four was when Richards used his knowledge of the time device to travel to Ancient Egypt.
After getting bored of the peaceful world he lived in on Earth-6311, Nathaniel Richards decided to use the time device that his descendant left behind, to travel to Ancient Egypt on Earth-616—a decision fueled by both a fascination with history and of that specific universe, being the one where the first time traveling version of himself that he witnessed originated from.
The ship that Nathaniel Richards used to get to Ancient Egypt was actually in the shape of a Sphinx. Comics were weird. But does that sound familiar? Well, it might, as ever so briefly, a giant Sphinx can be spotted in “Journey Into Mystery”, in the scene where Mobius is driving Sylvie away from Alioth. This is something that seems like a clear and intentional nod towards the varied history of Kang.
As for his time in Ancient Egypt, Nathaniel Richards took on the name Rama-Tut as he became a Pharoah. This was one of his first tastes of power—but that was short-lived thanks to none other than the Fantastic Four.
This is where Rama-Tut faced off against a time-displaced Fantastic Four for the first time, which so happened to be the character’s first appearance (he appeared as Kang proper the year following, in The Avengers #8 in September 1964).
Of course, the group defeated him, sending him running to a different time—though he made sure to leave his Sphinx ship behind so as to astonish the human race for centuries to come.
Of course, there’s so much more to Kang—including the likes of Crimson Centurion, Iron Lad, Victor Timely, and many more. But there is one form and identity that Kang has taken over the years that is one of the most important; especially as it relates to Loki: Immortus.
Immortus is what is generally referred to as Kang’s final, or most evolved form. This is the Kang that has gone the furthest in time and has learned the most. In fact, it’s an identity he took on after he decided to retreat to Limbo in order to learn the mastery of time.
Immortus even had interactions with The Time Keepers, which in the comics are not fake lizard robots. They assigned Kang the duty of watching over the timeline and detangling the many temporal disturbances and alternate timelines caused by the countless versions of Kang floating through the timestream.
Sound familiar? Immortus proved successful, as his work watching over the timeline, and for all intents and purposes tidying it up, led to Immortus being the one and only version of himself—as opposed to every other Kang variant, which all have many variants of their own.
Kang is a messy and complicated character, that’s for sure. Hopefully, when he finally makes his appearance in the MCU, things will be much cleaner all around when it comes to his origins.
What’s important to note about Immortus though, is that he is the one that aligns the most with where Loki is by the end of the show’s fifth episode. Could this be the version of Kang that we are getting?
With all of the focus of Variants, it would be hard to believe that Marvel wouldn’t make it well known that Kang has endless versions of himself out there. But this could easily be an opportunity for Marvel to simplify the complicated origin of Kang, and simply put most of Immortus’ history and story under the umbrella of the prime Kang the Conqueror.
THE CASTLE BEHIND THE CURTAIN
All of this means one thing: that castle seen by Loki and Sylvie could easily be the fortress of Nathaniel Richards, AKA Kang the Conqueror. In fact, it’s difficult to see it being anything else.
Of course, there’s always that supposed city that fans spotted in the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man & The Wasp. And it’s impossible to gloss over that, as a city outside of time itself sounds a whole lot like Chronopolis—an entire city created and ruled by Kang himself.
So while that question is still out there, right now there is a castle, hidden behind a timeline eating cloud, at the very end of time—housed within The Void, or what seems to basically be Limbo. Everything seems to line up a little too well with some of the many things Kang has going for him.
Could the introduction of Kang, or Nathaniel Richards, be our first connection to the Fantastic Four in the MCU? Could fans get name drops or brief hints at what Marvel’s plans for the famous family may be?
While getting concrete clues about the Fantastic Four may be a little too hopeful, the real question is: will Marvel keep that connection that Kang has to the likes of Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom? Or will they go a different way, in an attempt to simplify the complicated roots of the character?
Of course, just to be clear, there is no reason to expect to see the group show up. What’s important, is that Kang’s mere potential existence brings the MCU closer to the Fantastic Four—seeing as the villain has ties to both Reed Richards and Doctor Doom as mentioned before.
If one needed any other signs that Kang was set to appear in Loki, look no further than the opening sequence of the fifth episode, “Journey Into Mystery”. Fans can briefly see the destroyed Avengers tower, and if they look closely, instead of a Stark sign, or the lone A, there’s a sign that reads “QENG”.
Go ahead and attempt to say that out loud. It sure does sound a lot like Kang, doesn’t it? That’s no coincidence. In the comics, Qeng is Qeng Enterprises, a company owned by someone named Mr. Gryphon—one of the many aliases’ of Kang the Conqueror.
What’s important, is that the writing seems to be on the wall: Kang is looking to show up far before his already announced arrival in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. And with him will likely come the MCU’s first step towards bringing the Fantastic Four into the MCU mythology.