Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) came face to face with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. And the interactions between the size-changing young hero and the mad villain were decidedly not pleasant. But what if we told you that in the comics, the two were, however briefly, a romantic pairing? Yes, this was absolutely a thing that happened, and the MCU could adapt in some form down the line.
Now, before you go calling the police on Kang, the version of Nathaniel Richards that Cassie smooched with was also a teenager. And she didn’t even know the adult Kang at the time. She just thought he was Iron Lad, a teenage version of everyone’s favorite armored Avenger. This brief romance took place in the pages of Young Avengers and could have ramifications for the future of the Multiverse Saga. Here’s the comic book history of the Stature/Iron Lad romance.
How Cassie Lang Became a Young Avenger
During the time that Cassie’s dad Scott Lang/Ant-Man was seemingly dead at the hands of the Scarlet Witch, a despondent Cassie went to live with her mother and stepfather. Forbidden from being a superhero, she ran away from home. She was hoping to join up with the teen team known as the Runaways. But she learned of a Young Avengers team forming in New York, and went where they were instead. She informed them she had been taking Pym Particles for years, and could grow to giant size. She took the name Stature, and was immediately smitten with another Young Avenger named Iron Lad. He was equally smitten with her. She thought he was a young hero, inspired by Tony Stark. But things with Iron Lad were not what they seemed.
Iron Lad was actually a teenage version of Kang the Conqueror, only one from decades before he became a villain. Discovering his terrible future fate as a despot, he went back in time to the 21st century. There, he hoped he could become a hero and not a villain. He used advanced future tech to build a suit of armor and became Iron Lad. But the era he arrived in was one after the events of Avengers Disassembled. The iconic team of heroes as he read about them was effectively no more. So using the then-destroyed body of the android hero Vision, he activated protocols in his memory system to find the next generation of Avengers.
Stature and Iron Lad: Star-Crossed Heroes
Believe it or not, Cassie was not among the heroes in the Vision’s protocols, but the team happily accepted her as a member anyway. Cassie and Iron Lad instantly felt an attraction, and the two shared a kiss on their first adventure. But then the adult Kang arrived from the future, and young Iron Lad learned that he must go back to his future time. If he didn’t fulfill his destiny and become a despotic villain, the Avengers’ past would be irrevocably altered. He bid a tearful goodbye to Cassie, just as the two developed real feelings for one another.
But before he left, he integrated the Vision’s programming with his Iron Lad armor, creating a new “teen” version of the synthezoid Avenger. Since this new android hero had all of Iron Lad’s memories and part of his personality, he fell for Cassie Lang just the same. But ultimately, the whole thing was too awkward for Cassie to deal with, and the potential romance with teen Vision never went anywhere. Ultimately, both Cassie’s flirtation with both Iron Lad and Vision were doomed from the very start.
Will We Get an MCU Version of Cassie and Iron Lad’s Romance?
That’s the comics version of things. One thing the MCU has done differently is that Cassie met Kang the Conqueror as an adult first, something that didn’t happen in the comics. For comics Cassie, evil Kang was an abstract, someone her dad’s team once battled. In the MCU, she experienced his malice firsthand. So if and when she meets the Iron Lad version of Nathaniel Richards, if she doesn’t know his ultimate destiny when they fall for each other, we expect it to have a lot of complications. Hopefully, this will all play out whenever Marvel Studios finally gives us a Young Avengers project. That’s got to be any time now, right?