Although Thanos, Loki, and Ultron are among the Avengers’ greatest enemies in the films so far, arguably their greatest adversary in the books in the time-traveling despot known as Kang. Since the character made his debut in the pages of Fantastic Four in the early ’60s, he’s up until now been off limits for the MCU due to the rights belonging to 20th Century Fox. But that is no longer an issue, and Kang can finally appear to make life very difficult for the Avengers…whoever that team line-up may be in the future.
Who is Kang?
Born in the 30th Century, Kang’s true name is Nathaniel Richards, and he believes himself to be a descendant of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. It’s also been suggested that he is a descendant of Tony Stark, or possibly Dr. Doom. Regardless of his bloodline, Richards is obsessed with the past, and in particular the “heroic age” of heroes like the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Having already conquered the future, he seeks dominion over the past, and inserts himself in various points in history. Throughout his time in the comics, the character goes by many names, including Rama-Tut, The Scarlet Centurion, and Immortus. But as an enemy of the Avengers, he’s primarily known as Kang the Conqueror.
What Are Kang’s Ultimate Goals?
Kang is the primary antagonist in many of the Avengers’ greatest comic book stories, including “The Celestial Madonna Saga,” 2001’s “The Kang Dynasty,” Avengers Forever, and the recent “Kang War One.” And those are just the tip of the iceberg. The obsessed Kang is convinced that as long as one timeline exists in a state of chaos, reality can’t be at peace. So he seeks to conquer every timeline and bring them under his iron hand as a way of creating “order.” It’s ultimately a defeatist way of thinking, because there are endless timelines. But then that’s why Kang goes pretty much stark raving mad.
Why Would Kang Enter the MCU Now?
Although the Avengers seem victorious at the finale of Endgame with Thanos defeated and those snapped away having returned, perhaps not all is as it seems. By mucking with the past in their “time heist,” the Avengers create at least one alternate timeline. Even after Cap puts away the Infinity Stones right where he found them, one loose end remains: there is now a timeline in which Loki gets away with the Tesseract in 2012. And nothing good can come from that.
What if Loki does indeed hand over the Space Stone to Thanos in 2012, accelerating his plans for the snap? That means there is a version of Earth that was ultimately conquered. Maybe one where Thanos hands over Earth to Loki in exchange for the Tesseract, as he promised. For whatever good they did for their reality, the Avengers may have totally screwed up another. And where there’s a timeline in chaos, there’s Kang seeking to control it.
How Endgame Sets Up Kang
If “The Man Who Would Be Kang” grows up in this ugly reality—or any reality created by the Avengers’ time shenanigans—there could be blame to go around for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Imagine if Kang finds out that all this chaos was thanks to the Avengers from the future messing with the past to save their own world. He might grow up very resentful of anyone who calls themselves an Avenger.
Kang might seek to undo their damage to the timeline, simply by taking control of every known timeline himself. The possibilities are literally endless, as we are essentially talking about the multiverse here. Even more fun to think about is who could play Kang in a potential movie. If he is a descendant of Stark, for example, maybe we see Robert Downey Jr. return in a villainous role? How crazy a reveal would that be? Regardless of who he is under the mask, or which actor plays him, we think it’s only a matter of time before Kang shows up. Pun fully intended.
Images: Marvel Comics