With the news that Lovecraft Country‘s Jonathan Majors has been cast in Ant-Man 3 as (potentially) the massive Fantastic Four villain Kang the Conqueror, my theory brain has begun to tick. There are plenty of ways in which the MCU could introduce Kang, the Quantum Realm from Ant-Man being a great place to start. But there’s an interesting connection between Majors’ Kang and Tony Stark’s young daughter Morgan, who happens to share a name with a vital character from the villain’s past.
Introducing the Young Avengers team and mythology to the MCU has long seemed like an obvious next step. With Kate Bishop headed to the Hawkeye show, Billy and Tommy headed to WandaVision, and Cassie Lang already in Avengers: Endgame, the team is already shaping up. So what does that have to do with the very un-teenage Majors? Well, in 2005’s Young Avengers #2 from the team’s creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, we learn about why Kang came back from the 30th century to become the hero known as Iron Lad.
Writer Allan Heinberg, art Jim Cheung, John Dell, Mark Morales, colors by Justin Ponsor, letters Cory Petit
As a young Nathaniel Richards is being beaten up by a bully, his future self appears to show him a glimpse of what’s to come. That future self is, of course, Kang the Conqueror. Kang gives Nathan a few “gifts”: a set of high-tech armor, visions of his future self traveling into the past to become a pharaoh (and battling with the Avengers multiple times), and the revelation that the bully will near-fatally injure him. Thusly, Kang offers his past self the chance to kill the bully, whose name happens to be Morgan. Instead of listening to himself from the future, Nathaniel rebels and thinks about going back in time to find the Avengers in order to help them beat the Kang of the future. The armor that his future self gave him listens to his thoughts and sends him back only to find the Avengers disbanded.
While we know that Majors will play an older version of the character, there’s no reason why Marvel couldn’t repurpose this story as part of his reason for returning to our time. In a dream scenario we might get two Kangs with a younger actor playing his Iron Lad incarnation, but it would be cool to see Majors play a more conflicted Kang who eventually succumbs to his evil destiny. We already know that the MCU has a Morgan in the form of Tony’s daughter; could she take on this important role in the making of Kang the Conqueror?
If that’s the case, we could see Kang come back to kill Morgan Stark, who in the future puts him in grave peril, only to connect with the young girl and become conflicted. Perhaps he’s the younger version sent back by an aged Kang who warns him of Morgan’s impact on his life, and he, like his comic book counterpart, is horrified by the idea of killing a child so he comes back to protect her. If Majors plays an ally in Ant-Man 3 then it could be a powerful shift to see him face down his former friends when he inevitably becomes a big bad in the cinematic universe.
Writer Allan Heinberg, art Jim Cheung, John Dell, Mark Morales, colors by Justin Ponsor, letters Cory Petit.
This issue seems important as it also features a key moment for Cassie Lang as she breaks into Avengers Mansion to steal her father’s gear only to be stopped by Hulkling, Wiccan, and Patriot, who are shocked when she indeed reveals she does have innate powers. Though it’s hard to guess exactly how the MCU will build the Young Avengers into their wider world, Young Avengers #2—with the importance of Morgan, the prominence of Kang, and the reveal of Cassie’s powers—feels far too well connected and easy to expand on to ignore. It would also be a great chance to give Morgan Stark the opportunity to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a hero herself. Heck, maybe with the help of Nathanial, rather than him becoming Iron Lad, she might be the one to step into the suit in order to fight future Kang. Iron Lass, anyone?
It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that we could see an aged up Morgan; after all, Disney already cast Cursed actress Katherine Langford as the older version of the young girl. Kang stories always come with plenty of time travel shenanigans so perhaps it’s this older Morgan who puts Kang at risk and he comes back to the main MCU timeline to protect her younger self? If that’s the case then we feel a paradox coming on; doesn’t it seem likely that it would be Kang who helps the younger Morgan build her suit to protect her from his future self, only for her to almost kill the future villain, sending him back to the past to tell his former self to kill her, which inspires him to go back and help young Morgan? Don’t you love time travel movies?
Whatever happens it’s exciting to see Majors take on such a key role in Fantastic Four and Marvel lore, especially one with so much power and potential for both good and evil.
Featured Image: Marvel Studios