Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania curiously seemed to kill off its main villain, Kang the Conqueror. Peyton Reed’s third film in the MCU’s Ant-Man franchise kicked off Phase 5, starting on some shaky foundations given the polarizing response to Phase 4’s structure and narrative. Hopes were high for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but the slumping trend seemed to continue as the film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. While some moments could use some fine-tuning, there are equally as many entertaining aspects worth appreciating. Particularly, Jonathan Majors’ performance as Kang is being rightfully touted.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania revealed a lot, but still left important questions unanswered to further both individual and the overarching multiversal narrative of the current MCU. As the launching pad for Phase 5, it excitingly showcased just a fraction of the destructive potential facing the MCU’s heroes. Certainly, Kang has a bright future ahead of him in the MCU, including starring in the aptly named Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Despite its flaws, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania proved that the time-traveling, multiversal conqueror is the perfect villain for the MCU’s ever-evolving story, and even the shocking end result demonstrates that.
Kang Dies In Ant-Man: The Wasp: Quantumania
Significantly, Kang does not win at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel Studios did the unexpected and killed off Kang the Conqueror, for now. Fueled by his love for Cassie and the anger from Kang threatening her, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang was able to ensure their mutual defeat. He sacrificed his ticket home, blowing up Kang’s multiversal engine after an incredibly brutal fight between the two. Kang’s attempt to escape through a portal to the surface world is thwarted by Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp, heroically coming to the rescue. Together, the size-changing couplet push Kang into his volatile engine, and he is pulled into oblivion, seemingly killing him.
This thrilling moment should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. In the pages of Marvel Comics, death is far from permanent. Add in Kang the Conqueror’s capabilities and lengthy history, and his current status is a bit more ambiguous. He wasn’t disintegrated, nor did audiences see the life leave his body. In the first of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s post-credits scenes, the mysterious Council of Kangs presumes that the Conqueror is indeed dead, however, Scott Lang’s internal monologue in the closing moments of the film throw Kang the Conqueror’s fate into question, as audiences are left with an impending sense of dread.
What Quatumania’s Director & Producer Have Said About Kang’s Death
Speaking to The Wrap in February 2023, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania director Peyton Reed hinted that the age-old “no body, no certainty” rule could be in play for Kang the Conqueror’s surprising death. When questioned whether the Conqueror variant was really gone, Reed noted “…that’s the real question. I think you see Scott Lang struggling with that question.” He later teased that viewers don’t really want to know the answer to that question while mentioning that Kang and his many variants will be a huge presence in the MCU’s Phase 5 and beyond – though he didn’t give a clear answer whether Kang was actually dead.
Vice President of Production and Development at Marvel Studios and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania producer Stephen Broussard recently spoke to the D23: Inside Disney podcast to discuss Kang’s apparent death. Broussard was questioned about how the MCU’s Council of Kangs knew about the Conqueror’s death, posing that their use of “heightened technology” and the fact they’re all from “a far-flung future” means they likely “keep tabs on each other.” Since the Council of Kangs believes that Kang the Conqueror is dead after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, perhaps they have the technology to confirm this, meaning he could actually be gone.
Quantumania’s Kang Is The MCU’s Second Variant To Die
The version of Kang showcased in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is different to the variant first seen in Loki’s season 1 finale, He Who Remains, though they seemingly shared the same fate. While Kang the Conqueror’s appearance in Phase 5’s debut film marks the second time a Kang variant has been seen in the MCU, it’s also the second time one has been killed. Loki season 1 culminated in Sylvie, a Loki variant, killing He Who Remains out of vengeance. The act of killing He Who Remains seems to unleash the multiverse, allowing the other Kang variants to appear in subsequent projects.
This climactic ending of Loki season 1 then plays directly into the season’s stinger, which shows Tom Hiddleston’s titular God of Mischief transported back to the Time Variance Authority (TVA), only to discover that someone new is in charge. Where statues of the three fictitious Time Keepers once stood, now looms a statue of Kang the Conqueror – presumably the same one from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as he sports the same armor. This could suggest some vital information about where in time and space the TVA is located, as Kang ruled over his Quantum Realm empire, so perhaps the TVA resides within the Quantum Realm itself.
When Will Kang Or His Variants Return In The MCU?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s post-credits scene revealed that at least one Kang variant will have a part to play in Loki season 2. The scene showed Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius attending a demonstration in the early 20th Century by Kang variant Victor Timely also portrayed by Majors. In Marvel Comics, Victor Timely is teased as Prime Kang, the original Kang – then known as Nathaniel Richards – threatening the Marvel Universe, so this could be the perfect connection between Quantumania and Loki. Timely is an influential figure in Marvel’s history, so his debut in the MCU is very exciting.
The introduction of the Council of Kangs in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania means that variants of Kang could pop up in many upcoming MCU projects – albeit in cameos to push forward the connective tissue of the Multiverse Saga. Fantastic Four, Deadpool 3, and of course Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars are all likely to feature variants of Kang the Conqueror in some capacity, though it’ll be Phase 6’s Avengers crossover films that really put the villain front-and-center. Kang the Conqueror’s shocking fate in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania certainly isn’t the end for the Multiverse Saga’s major villain.
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This story originally appeared on Screenrant