Kang, Kang, Kang. So many Kangs, so little time. But actually a ton of time, yet still a lot of Kangs. Anyway, we live in the age of Kang in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kang the Conqueror has stepped in to fill the villain vacuum left in the wake of Thanos’ double deaths. And while Jonathan Majors is a super muscular dude, it’ll take a number of him—across many universes and timelines—to give the growing number of Marvel heroes a proper run for their money. Phase Five just began and we’ve already met several Kangs. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty won’t come out until May 2025, so that’s plenty of time for even more Kangs!
Here are the Kang variants we’ve met in the MCU so far.
He Who Remains
Our first blush with the Conqueror wasn’t even with the name Kang. Stuck at the very end of time, one particular variant, seemingly in an effort to protect reality from himself, pruned all other timelines of any would-be Kang variants. This is He Who Remains, the final “villain” in season one of Loki. A much more humble (to a degree) version of Kang, he may have done a lot of bad things but for, it seems, the right reasons. However, he seemed to know Loki and/or Sylvie wouldn’t have agreed to take over for him because his final words “See you soon” are far too portentous to be coincidental.
The main Kang from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we learn, is actually an exile from the Council of Kangs we see at the end of the movie. This Kang is, evidently, the worst possible Kang. Too cruel or something even for the rest of the Kangs. We learn precious little about him in the movie but he seems to have fought the Avengers previous (or perhaps later?) and killed several of them. Whether that’s in a different universe or a future within Marvel’s 616 Universe is still unknown.
We also know that this Kang is extremely powerful, enslaving the whole of the Quantum Realm in relative ease. He built an army so he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty, but we see in the movie’s third act that he’s more than capable. Totally ruthless, he disintegrates fleeing Quantumanians just because he’s angry. He also turned Darren Cross into M.O.D.O.K. which is maybe his cruelest act ever.
Is Exile Kang the Same as Prime Kang?
This is an interesting question. The end of Quantumania has Kang sucked into the imploding/exploding multiversal engine. It sure seems like he’s dead, and even the later Kangs assume as much. But the movie—for all its faults—did a very good job of establishing Kang the Conqueror as a threat and a force to be reckoned with. The rest of the Kangs all seem to think he’s bad news, and despite his possible remorse of his actions, he knows there’s no other way for him. (Remorse because he seems to weep openly at what he must do.)
It’s entirely possible that this Kang will return, and remain the main Kang of the MCU. His costume and general demeanor seem to indicate he’s Prime Kang, and it would be a shame if he’s gone for good. Now will we see other Kangs as main villains of movies and shows? Certainly. But the first Kang of Phase Five should definitely come back.
The Pharaoh Rama-Tut
At the end of Quantumania we see the Council of Kangs. There are, roughly, 19 million of them. The movie features three of these variants specifically, and each corresponds to the most famous of Kang’s variants. First is Rama-Tut, who is actually the very first version of the character we ever saw in Marvel Comics. The villain in 1963’s Fantastic Four #17, he’s a time traveler from the future who uses his advanced tech to conquer Ancient Egypt. It wasn’t until Giant-Size Avengers #2 in 1973 that we learn Rama-Tut was a future version of Kang.
Another variant of Kang who debuted long before anyone knew he was Kang. Immortus first appeared in Avengers #10, only two issues after Kang. Immortus is, in most continuities, a Kang variant who took over as emissary and keeper of time at the end of all things. In a lot of ways, Immortus has traditionally done things that He Who Remains did in Loki. Here, with his wizened, distant look and headwear, he seems more like the ruler of the Kangs than of some benevolent future Kang. But time will tell! (Get it?)
Immortus is also the Kang who informs the others that the Avengers killed “the exile” and that they need to prepare for more conflict. Like Gary Oldman in The Professional, Immortus summoned EVERYONE.
The Scarlet Centurion
It wasn’t entirely clear in the film which variant of Kang was the third of the Council’s triumvirate. This Kang seems younger than the other two, with his Snagglepuss-like voice. He also seems to have received a number of cybernetic upgrades, making him partially, if not mostly, mechanical.
We thought this Kang seems to evoke either the Scarlet Centurion variant from the comics (despite being silver rather than red) or Iron Lad (though, again, certainly not obviously Iron Man-adjacent). Turns out, thanks to an interview with director Peyton Reed for ET Online that it was indeed Scarlet Centurion. Or “Centurion” as Reed called him. This makes sense, as Centurion really is the third biggest Kang variant following Rama Tut and Immortus.
However, unlike the other two, there is no one definitive beginning for the Scarlet Centurion. He’s often a distant future offspring of Kang, or just a younger Kang from a different universe. Either way, Snagglepuss voice.
In the post-credits scene for Quantumania, we see Loki and Mobius have ended up in the early 1900s where someone named Victor Timely is giving a demonstration of his technological achievements. We see this Victor Timely is, in fact, Jonathan Majors sporting a period hairstyle and facial hair. In the comics, Victor Timely was a Kang variant who first appeared in Avengers Forever #9. After a humiliating defeat in the comics, he traveled back in time to the early 20th Century, set himself up as a Thomas Edison-esque inventor and created a business and tech empire.
Perhaps this version of Kang is the big villain of Loki season two, or perhaps it’ll end up being yet another variant in disguise. Who can say?
Originally published February 23, 2023.