What Kang The Conqueror Should Really Look Like In Ant-Man 3

As 2023 began, fans found themselves eagerly awaiting what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has in store, with the official start of Phase 5 promising some of Marvel's most anticipated projects yet. In addition to James Gunn's conclusion to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy and the second season of the Disney+ series "Loki," the first feature film of the phase heralds the coming of a new Marvel dynasty.

"Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania" will be the third installment in the "Ant-Man" film trilogy, though this one promises much higher stakes than the previous two. According to its first trailer, Scott Lang and his family will accidentally be sent to the Quantum Realm, where they encounter one of the greatest threats the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to face: Kang the Conqueror. This iconic comic book villain is played by Jonathan Majors, reprising his role (in a way) after debuting a variant of Kang in the first season of "Loki."

The presence of Kang in the new "Ant-Man" movie spells trouble for the future of the MCU, but especially for Scott Lang and his associates. Given that Kang's appearance is highly anticipated, it's worth taking a look at the character's history to see how it may inform all the facets of Kang's portrayal, from his performance to his costumes, and even to his future. 

Rewinding back to the finale of Loki

Although "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania" will be the official debut of the menace known as Kang the Conqueror, it's not Jonathan Majors' first rodeo in the MCU. The actor played the role of He Who Remains in the first season finale of "Loki," revealed to be the mastermind behind the Time-Keepers and the Time Variance Authority. However, the character's ties to Kang the Conqueror were worn on his sleeve.

After Loki and Sylvie confront He Who Remains at the Citadel at the End of Time, Majors' character reveals his backstory, which just so happens to be the same as Kang's from the comics. He Who Remains was originally a scientist from the 31st century who, after discovering the existence of the multiverse, used it to make contact with his variants across space and time. Sooner or later, some of those variants waged war in pursuit of conquering the multiverse, and once He Who Remains came out on top, he isolated the Sacred Timeline and created the TVA to prune any unwanted branches. 

Majors' performance in the "Loki" finale was well-received, especially by MCU fans who had correctly theorized Kang's involvement in the earlier episodes. However, the character's presence was a clear warning sign of what's to come, with the series' head writer Michael Waldron describing in an interview with Marvel.com that He Who Remains' appearance was "[hinting] at that terrifying evil within without going all the way there."

He Who Remains takes inspiration from the comics

He Who Remains, while being an interpretation of Kang the Conqueror himself, also has his own ties to Marvel's comic book origins. However, his main inspiration is not the character of the same name, who created both the Time-Keepers and TVA in the comics and first debuted in the 1970s. No, the MCU iteration of He Who Remains actually has much more in common with a specific variant of Kang: Immortus. 

In the comics, Immortus was a version of Kang who grew tired of conquering and retreated to a dimension outside of space and time known as Limbo, which bears a lot of similarity to "The Void" in "Loki." There, Immortus got in contact with the Time-Keepers, who offered him the job of influencing events in the Sacred Timeline to prevent mankind from straying off their planned destinies. One of Immortus' most infamous acts in the comics was being the cause of Wanda Maximoff's mental breakdown, which resulted in her descent into madness in "House of M."

The MCU version of He Who Remains is a composite of both the original He Who Remains from the comics and Immortus. This is reflected in the character's clothing in the "Loki" finale, which combines the familiar purple-and-green colors of Immortus with the comfort of He Who Remains' robes. In "The Making of Loki" on Disney+, Majors reveals He Who Remains' outfit also drew inspiration from Genghis Khan and the Victorian era.

Kang the Conqueror's Fantastic origins

Although he's mainly known for his antagonistic role as Kang the Conqueror, the character's long and storied past ties him to one of Marvel's most popular teams. Before he traveled the multiverse, conquering and ruling, Kang was an Earthly scientist named Nathaniel Richards. Despite living in the 31st century, Kang's heritage traces all the way back to none other than Reed Richards, the smartest man alive and the leader of the Fantastic Four. 

Even though the cast of Matt Shakman's upcoming MCU Fantastic Four film has yet to be announced, Reed Richards, like Kang, also made his MCU debut in Phase 4, portrayed by John Krasinski in a brief appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Given the Fantastic Four's impending arrival in the MCU, as well as their importance in the comic book events of "Secret Wars," there's no doubt that Kang and the Fantastic Four will inevitably cross paths on the big screen. 

However, Kang the Conqueror's ties to Reed Richards may be even more complex than that. Comic book fans will know that Reed Richards' father also happened to be named Nathaniel. Some theorists have speculated that Reed Richards' father was yet another variant of Kang the Conqueror, who traveled back in time and created his own legacy (via Distractify). Perhaps this will prove to be an important aspect of Kang's character in the 2026 film "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty."

Taking inspiration from fellow Fantastic Four villains

Kang the Conqueror's Fantastic Four ties don't stop with his lineage. The character also draws plenty of inspiration from one of the biggest and most popular Fantastic Four antagonists: Doctor Doom. Fan anticipation and speculation regarding the official MCU introduction of Doctor Doom remains some of the highest the film franchise has seen to date. The character is closely tied to the events of "Secret Wars" in the comics, and his full potential has yet to be realized on the big screen.

Of course, the introduction of Kang and the promise of the Fantastic Four means Victor von Doom is on a collision course with the MCU. Having been defeated by the Fantastic Four in the comics, one variant of Kang ends up encountering Doctor Doom in the 20th century. Inspired by the Latverian conqueror, this version of Kang dubs himself the Scarlet Centurion and forces the Avengers to face their alternate selves in a multiversal war. He even takes inspiration from Doom's outfit for his own.

For Kang's MCU future, it's possible he'll be inspired by Doom in any numbers of ways. Donning a similar outfit as Doom is certainly a possibility, as is pitting the Avengers against each other as the main plot of "Avengers: Secret Wars." From the look of Jonathan Majors' Kang in the first trailer for "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania," it seems his outfit already has Doctor Doom vibes.

Kang's Egyptian pharaoh persona may return

There are many other Kang the Conqueror variants whose comic book iterations may influence the look of Jonathan Majors' portrayal in "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania," as well as future appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the earlier versions of Kang to debut in the comics appears after Nathaniel Richards time-travels to Ancient Egypt, becoming a ruler and worshipped figure amongst the Egyptians under the moniker "Rama-Tut." 

Of course, Kang the Conqueror's affiliation with Ancient Egypt in the comics perfectly lends the Marvel Cinematic Universe the opportunity to have the character come to blows with Moon Knight and Khonshu. This comic book premise is an early storyline for the Fantastic Four, who find themselves taken prisoner by Rama-Tut in the past. It's possible that this storyline could serve as the basis for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, meaning Jonathan Majors' Kang will take on the appearance of an Egyptian pharaoh.

Nevertheless, it's also possible that the upcoming Fantastic Four film will revolve around the original team's encounters with the Skrulls, who have also already made their MCU debut. Perhaps Kang the Conqueror's relationship with ancient Egypt will be explored through his costume design in future films such as "The Kang Dynasty," or even in the second season of "Loki." 

What does Kang want from Scott Lang?

When Jonathan Majors' appearance in the third "Ant-Man" movie as Marvel supervillain Kang the Conqueror was first announced, many fans were rightfully surprised. Given the light-hearted nature of Paul Rudd's MCU franchise, it seemed like an odd couple to pair his smarmy thief with one of the cruelest and most sinister characters that Marvel has to offer. Nevertheless, the two are set to square off in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's highly-anticipated start to 2023. 

The first trailers for "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania" have given insight into what beef there will be between Kang the Conqueror and Scott Lang. After accidentally ending up in the Quantum Realm, it appears that Kang is hiring Scott to perform a heist for him, which is certainly in Scott's skill set, even in another dimension. Fans have speculated (per DisInsider) that Kang wants Scott to steal back his Time Chair, which is what Kang uses to time-travel. Other fan speculation theorizes that the current owner of Kang's Time Chair is none other than M.O.D.O.K., who's also set to appear in the film. 

Some fans believe the Time Chair can be spotted in one of the first trailers to "Ant-Man 3," depicting Kang standing in front of it wearing a very comic-accurate costume. Though it's unclear why Kang wants his precious time-travel device back, one can assume he has ulterior motives to use it for the purpose of doing what he does best: conquering. 

A younger version of Kang has a good heart ... for a while

The presence of another significant Marvel baddie, M.O.D.O.K., may also allude to a much different path for Kang the Conqueror than fans are anticipating. In Marvel Comics, there's precedent set for Kang to have a change of heart. One teenage variant of Nathaniel Richards encounters his future self a bit early, when Kang time-travels to protect his younger self from a life-altering injury. Taking the younger Nathaniel Richards under his wing, Kang attempts to show himself the legendary ruler he'd become, only for this lecture to frighten him instead.

In an attempt to reverse his destiny, this Nathaniel Richards assembles a Young Avengers team, with himself as their leader, wearing a Stark-esque suit and donning the name "Iron Lad." His teammates include several characters who have already made their Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts, including Kate Bishop, Elijah Bradley, and Wanda's twin sons. One of Richards' other assembled teammates is Cassie Lang, with whom he crosses paths during the events of "Quantumania."

Despite reports of Majors' role as the next Thanos-level threat in the MCU, the plot of "Ant-Man 3" could take a sharp turn with Kang having a moment of redemption. With the Young Avengers potentially being on the horizon, the debut of Jonathan Majors as Iron Lad could come much sooner than later. 

William Jackson Harper has been cast in a mystery role

Another "Quantumania" theory concerns a certain casting announcement from 2022. To the surprise of many fans, "The Good Place" star William Jackson Harper was confirmed to be appearing in Peyton Reed's third "Ant-Man" film. What's even more interesting is that the actor's role is apparently top secret. 

Though it's more than likely Harper will join Bill Murray as some sort of citizen living in the Quantum Place, some fans speculate something much more significant for the actor. Notably, he's been a frontrunner of many fan-castings for the Fantastic Four, particularly in the role of Reed Richards (per The AV Club). Harper's role as Chidi on "The Good Place" certainly shows he's qualified to capture the awkwardness (and physique) of Marvel's smartest man alive, especially after rumors that John Krasinski's cameo as Richards in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was a one-off appearance.

However, Harper's potential casting as Reed Richards could also prove very relevant to the appearance of Kang the Conqueror. Given the comic book origins of Kang as a descendant of Reed Richards, it would make sense for William Jackson Harper to be cast as the ancestor to Jonathan Majors. The only thing throwing this theory off is other rumors surrounding Fantastic Four casting options, including Penn Badgley and Adam Driver (via The Direct).

The influence of the Quantum Realm on Kang

"Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania" is set to spend a majority of its runtime in the Quantum Realm. An accident caused by Scott Lang's daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) will send Scott, Cassie, Hank, Hope, and Janet scattered across the alternate, microscopic dimension. There, they encounter Jonathan Majors' nefarious and untrustworthy Kang, who rules over the Quantum Realm with plans to conquer beyond it. 

Given that the Quantum Realm doesn't appear in Marvel Comics (its nearest equivalent would be the Microverse), there are many interesting interpretations Marvel could take with this specific variant of Kang. For one, the character may have an intricate backstory that ties him to Janet van Dyne, Hank's wife who was lost in the dimension for so much of their lives. However, Kang's presence in the Quantum Realm may also play into his aesthetics in this movie compared to his appearance in future projects.

While He Who Remains wore Victorian-esque purple and green robes, Kang's appearances in promotional material for "Quantumania" depict him wearing more of a cybernetic armor, albeit still donning the character's iconic colors. It's certainly not Stark or Pym technology, but perhaps his potential run-ins with Janet influenced his new outfit. Since the origin of Kang's suit is unknown, it's possible it will prove to be much more powerful than our characters can anticipate. 

Jonathan Majors talks about this upcoming version of Kang

While many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are beyond excited for Kang the Conqueror to make his debut in "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania," no one is more excited than Jonathan Majors himself. The character's role in the film will have "a profound impact on the MCU," according to the film's director Peyton Reed in an interview with Empire. Predictably, it's this impact on the MCU as a whole that initially drew Jonathan Majors to the role in the first place.

Speaking to Marvel.com on his appearance in the "Loki" finale, Majors said he was drawn to the aspect of Kang's character that let him play many different versions of the same villain, quoting He Who Remains with, "Reincarnation, baby!" On his appearance in "Quantumania," Majors had only one thing to say at Marvel's San Diego Comic-Con panel in 2022 (via Deadline): "There will be conquering." Clearly, this is only the beginning of Majors' journey as the character heading towards "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" in 2025. 

Kang lets loose in the latest Ant-Man 3 trailer

The final trailer for "Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania" debuted on January 9th, 2022, just over a month before the film's scheduled theatrical release on February 17. In previous trailers, Majors' appearance as Kang had been minimal, showing only one scene where he introduces himself to Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, with other brief glimpses of the character's costume in other shots. Nevertheless, the wreckage shown in those trailers proved that Scott and his family would be up against a truly terrible threat.

The latest trailer for "Quantumania" thankfully shows a lot more Jonathan Majors, promising that his take on Kang the Conqueror in this movie would earn its place among the greatest MCU villains. His costume is on full display, including a face shield that makes Majors' face look blue like the character's comic book appearances. It's as regal as it is combat-ready, which is shown off in several other clips of Kang engaged in a fist fight with Scott Lang. 

Despite fans' expectation that Lang would get his butt kicked by Kang (which, by the looks of it, he does), Kang's costume faces some wear and tear by the end of the film. Some climactic shots in the trailer show the character helmet-less and without one of his outfit's sleeves. Perhaps this is just Kang showing off his strength, which based on this final trailer will be fearsome. Hopefully he doesn't hurt Scott Lang too bad.