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How Is Kang The Conqueror Related To The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards?

Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is a key piece in the Marvel Cinematic Universe puzzle, even though viewers haven't even seen him in action yet. The only live-action appearance we've seen so far is an oddly affable alternate-universe version called He Who Remains in "Loki." However, the real thing — or at least a version of him — is set to make his grand appearance in "Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania," and since the final movie of the MCU's mind-breaking Phase Six will be "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty," it's likely fair to say that the multiversal villain will be a major presence for a good while. 

Interestingly, a certain far more heroic Marvel character seems to follow a very Kang-like MCU path. Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards appears in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" as an alternate-universe version played by John Krasinski. Another version of the character is set to appear with the rest of his team in "Fantastic Four," which might be directed by "WandaVision director Matt Shakman

The similarities in the two characters' introduction may not be accidental, because they actually have a surprising connection in the comics. Here's how Kang the Conqueror is related to the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards.

A complicated, time-traveling family tree

Reed Richards is a powerful and highly intelligent man, and his father is on a very similar level. Nathaniel Richards is every bit as smart as his stretchy son, and also a time-traveler who has a bunch of cool gadgets for both combat and science situations. At one point, he ends up in an advanced alternate universe, where his bloodline eventually produces an academically-minded descendant who's also called Nathaniel. This future Nathaniel eventually becomes Kang the Conqueror, after a time traveling mistake gives him access to weapons that are futuristic even in the far-future setting he hails from. 

There's a whole ton of time-traveling and alternate-universe scenarios here, and it doesn't exactly simplify matters that there are various different versions of Kang, and Nathaniel also has other super-identities — including Marvel villain Immortus. What's more, his "definitely related but good luck drawing up the family tree" situation may extend even further than Reed Richards: There's also a familial link to Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom. 

As comic book families go, Kang is one all unto himself, and the fact that he has a connection to Reed Richards only makes things more interesting. Even with the MCU's ongoing multiversal shenanigans, his full backstory may need a little simplifying to avoid confusing the audiences — so it'll be interesting to see whether the live-action version will be related to Reed, or if the movies and shows will ignore the connection altogether.