Warning: Full spoilers comply with for Loki Season 1.
Loki Season 1 did what its predecessors WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier averted, serving up the large reveal that comics followers had principally been anticipating — and that the present had been hinting at all through its six episodes: Jonathan Majors made his MCU debut as traditional Marvel time-traveling villain Kang the Conqueror, or at the very least a Variant of the character referred to as He Who Remains.
The sequence additionally ended this primary season by shattering the “Sacred Timeline,” which units up the upcoming occasions of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and doubtless a bunch of different Marvel tasks as effectively.
So the query is, now that Thanos is gone, how a lot of a task will Majors’ character play in the MCU shifting ahead? We know Jonathan Majors will play Kang in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Loki has been dropping Easter eggs indicating that Kang might be showing up even sooner than expected.
If you are not conversant in Kang or why he has the potential to be the subsequent Thanos-level risk to the MCU, we’re right here to make clear this highly effective villain and likewise clarify the finale of Loki. These are the subjects we’ll be protecting right here:
- Loki Season Finale Explained
- Who Is He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror?
- Kang’s Origin
- Kang’s Powers and Abilities
- Kang’s Many Identities
- Kang and the Young Avengers
- Kang the Conqueror Actor Jonathan Majors and Marvel Universe Connections
- Kang in TV and Games
A Time-Bending Look at Kang the Conqueror’s History
Loki Season Finale Explained
In the Season 1 finale of Loki, Loki and Sylvie lastly make it to the finish of time (ought to that be capitalized?) to confront the mysterious determine behind the TVA. No, not the Time Keepers, who we realized a few episodes again have been fakes, however the precise determine who has been overseeing the pruning of the Sacred Timeline: He Who Remains.
Majors performs the character as a enjoyable determine, one who maybe has gone a bit bonkers residing eternally at the finish of all time, realizing every thing that’s going to occur.
Well, to some extent. As the episode proceeds, He Who Remains explains his backstory, but in addition that they’re now reaching a second in the timeline the place he’ll now not know the way issues are going to play out — a juncture that may lastly free him of the self-imposed jail he has been residing in as grasp of the timeline. And it is as much as Sylvie and Loki to resolve what comes subsequent.
But first, about that backstory: He Who Remains explains that all of it started with a Variant of himself, a scientist from the thirty first century, who found that different timelines/realities exist. At first issues have been pleasant as different variations, or Variants of this scientist, started to fulfill up throughout completely different timelines. But then some Variants turned to conquering, and the Multiverse War we realized about in Episode 1 started. In the finish, He Who Remains… effectively, remained. As the winner of the struggle, he created the TVA to maintain different timelines from coming into existence with the intention to keep away from one other multiversal battle.
And so now He Who Remains desires out, and Loki and Sylvie have a selection: Become the new masters of the Sacred Timeline, or kill He Who Remains, which can result in the multiverse as soon as once more and, inevitably, the return of an untold variety of He Who Remains/Kangs who will wind up re-starting the struggle. Loki desires to take over, if solely to keep away from the inevitable battle that may end result from killing He Who Remains. But Sylvie desires to kill He Who Remains, selecting the chaos of a multiverse — and free will — over all else. After preventing Loki, she kisses him — after which pushes him again by time to the TVA earlier than stabbing He Who Remains, who would not even battle again. We final see Sylvie at the finish of time, considering her resolution as the timeline splinters into an infinite quantity of variations — a multiverse.
The finale ends with Loki touchdown again at the TVA, however he quickly realizes that it is a TVA from a special timeline, as a result of Mobius and Hunter B-15 do not know who he’s. And then he sees it — a statue of He Who Remains, who now appears to be like lots like Kang from the comics. Is Kang the Conqueror now the grasp of time (and the TVA)? We’ll absolutely find out in Season 2, which was revealed in post-credits tease that merely exhibits TVA paperwork being stamped with the phrases “Loki will return for Season 2.”
Who Is He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror?
It’s not straightforward recapping the convoluted historical past of Kang the Conqueror. He’s a villain who’s passed by many names and many alternative motivations in his numerous clashes with the Avengers and Fantastic Four. But by all of it the fundamentals have stayed the similar. Kang is a person who sees himself as the rightful grasp of the world. Using the energy of time journey and the most refined weaponry his future world has to supply, Kang has repeatedly sought to rewrite historical past to his personal whims and guarantee his personal rise to energy.
Kang’s love of time journey is strictly what makes him such a harmful and seemingly endless thorn in humanity’s facet. No matter how usually he is defeated, banished and even destroyed totally, some model of him is at all times on the market, ready and plotting. In the Loki Season 1 finale, He Who Remains is clearly a Kang Variant, however apparently a extra benevolent one than the Kang (or Kangs) we’ll seemingly get shifting ahead in the MCU.
While the first look of Kang the Conqueror is featured in 1964’s The Avengers #8, the character technically debuted a 12 months earlier in Fantastic Four #19. We’ll attempt to summarize Kang’s complicated origin story as merely as doable.
Kang’s actual identify is Nathaniel Richards. Originally a historic scholar from the thirty first century (and probably a distant descendant of both Reed Richards or Victor von Doom), Nathaniel discovers Doctor Doom’s historical time journey tech and makes use of it to journey again to the period of historical Egypt. Crowning himself “Rama-Tut,” he lords over his new topics and makes use of his futuristic tech to make himself look like a god. That is, till the Fantastic Four present as much as finish his reign.
After escaping to the twentieth century, Rama-Tut meets Doctor Doom and makes use of Doom’s distinctive armor as inspiration for his subsequent supervillain identification, the Scarlet Centurion. However, he is once more defeated by Earth’s heroes and makes an attempt to return to his personal timeline.
This is the place Kang the Conqueror is born. Richards by accident travels ahead too far in time, arriving in an period when human civilization has collapsed. As the solely individual left who understands the superior however forgotten know-how of the fortieth century, the newly minted Kang is ready to rapidly conquer his new timeline and even prolong his new empire past Earth’s borders. Not content material to be ruler of a futuristic empire, Kang begins a recurring recreation of toying with time and making an attempt to rewrite historical past to swimsuit his personal whims.
Kang’s Powers and Abilities
As an atypical human from the thirty first century, Kang has no innate superhuman powers. However, he is a gifted physicist and historian, utilizing his data of science and historical past to govern the timeline and accumulate energy. His distinctive inexperienced and purple swimsuit of armor (impressed by Doom’s personal armor) each enhances Kang’s power and permits him to outlive in no matter inhospitable environments he could discover. Kang has a time-ship that enables him to freely journey by the time-stream, and he is additionally assembled an enormous military comprised of the finest warriors from all through historical past.
Kang additionally typically wields a ray gun that may sap an individual’s power and willpower, together with numerous doomsday weapons solely a fortieth century tyrant might dream of.
Kang additionally appears to be functionally immortal. Because he is so keen on abusing the timeline for his personal egocentric ends, there are numerous variations of Nathaniel Richards in existence. No matter what number of occasions Kang is defeated, there’s at all times one other incarnation of the Conqueror able to proceed his campaign.
Kang is every bit as convoluted a character as one would expect from a man whose favorite hobby is manipulating time. But part of what makes Kang such a confusing character is that he’s had so many different names and identities over the years. It doesn’t help that these various characters weren’t all originally conceived as being the same person, so a lot of these connections have been forged after the fact. If you’re familiar with the comic book storytelling term “retcon,” Kang is basically its living embodiment.
As we’ve already covered, Nathaniel Richards uses names like Rama-Tut and the Scarlet Centurion early on in his career as a time-travelling tyrant. But taking up the mantle of Kang isn’t his last identity shake-up.
At some point in his long life, Kang gives up his name and his empire to instead forge an alliance with an advanced alien race known as the Time-Keepers. In exchange for true immortality, Kang agrees to preserve the timeline and ensure the Time-Keepers’ rise to power. At that point he becomes Immortus. Ironically, his younger selves are responsible for much of the damage Immortus is tasked with undoing.
Kang has held other cover identities while masquerading as a 21st century human, including a small-town mayor named Victor Timely and a business tycoon named Mr. Gryphon.
If all this isn’t complicated enough, thanks to time travel these various incarnations of Kang basically coexist alongside each other and sometimes collude or wage war against one another. There’s even an entire team of Kangs known as the Council of Cross-Time Kangs. Picture the Citadel of Ricks in Rick and Morty, but with less alcohol and self-loathing.
Kang and the Young Avengers
There’s one other notable incarnation of Kang who could effectively issue into the MCU in some unspecified time in the future. The 2005 sequence Young Avengers introduces a workforce of juvenile heroes modeled after traditional Avengers however with very completely different backgrounds and origin tales. The workforce’s founder, Iron Lad, is not a descendant of Tony Stark, however is definitely a teen model of Nathaniel Richards from a splinter timeline. Kang tried to journey again in time and rescue his youthful self from a bunch of bullies who had left him hospitalized for months. Kang saves himself and provides the younger Nathaniel a sophisticated swimsuit of armor in the hope of hurrying alongside his transformation from atypical man to Kang. But as a substitute, younger Nathaniel is horrified by his older self and travels again in time to type a brand new workforce of Avengers.
Ultimately, this model of Kang is killed and Iron Lad is compelled to wipe his personal recollections and return to the future, restoring the correct timeline. But he leaves behind a replica of his consciousness inside his armor, which fuses with the damaged remnants of Vision to type a brand new model of that iconic Avenger.
Iron Lad is a crucial Kang offshoot to know, on condition that Marvel is exhibiting each signal of introducing the Young Avengers in the MCU.
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Every Upcoming Movie and TV Show
Kang the Conqueror Actor Jonathan Majors and Marvel Universe Connections
We know Jonathan Majors will be back as Kang in Ant-Man 3, however Kang’s love of time journey and perpetual behavior of returning to threaten the Avengers another time make him completely suited to change into a recurring antagonist throughout the MCU. It would not harm that he has deep connections to so many alternative Marvel characters and groups. Will he additionally play some sort of a task in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or the reportedly multiverse-focused Spider-Man: No Way Home? Nothing is confirmed but, however it might appear seemingly.
As talked about earlier than, Kang might be a descendant of Mister Fantastic or Doctor Doom. Both characters have actually performed a key function in his improvement as a villain. He additionally has connections to main characters on the cosmic facet of the MCU. In the comics, Kang as soon as competed with the Grandmaster for an opportunity at godlike energy, and he tried to say the so-called “Celestial Madonna” (higher referred to as Mantis) as his bride.
Decades after it was initially revealed, Marvel added extra layers to the occasions of Fantastic Four #19 by revealing Nathaniel’s true motivations for travelling again in time and turning into Rama-Tut. He was really looking for out a younger En Sabah Nur, the mutant destined to change into Apocalypse, to crown him as his inheritor. He by no means succeeded, although Apocalypse turned out to be a chip off the previous block when it comes to harnessing futuristic know-how and looking for to dominate the world.
With Kang now firmly linked to the Fantastic Four, Avengers and X-Men, Marvel cast yet one more connection in the 2015 sequence Uncanny Inhumans. There, Black Bolt offers his son Ahura to be fostered by Kang, seeing the time travelling tyrant as the solely secure haven in a world rising steadily extra hostile towards the Inhumans.
Kang in TV and Games
- TV: Given his standing as considered one of the biggest Avengers and Fantastic Four villains, it ought to come as no shock Kang has loved a wholesome profession outdoors of Marvel’s comics. His first animated TV look got here approach again in 1967’s Fantastic Four animated sequence, with the episode “Rama-Tut” adapting the occasions of Fantastic Four #19. Whether as Kang or Rama-Tut, the villain has appeared in quite a few different Marvel cartoons like X-Men Evolution and Avengers: United They Stand. He even had a short cameo as Immortus in an episode of X-Men: The Animated Series. But Kang’s most important animated appearances have come extra not too long ago. He performed a recurring function in each Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (voiced by Jonathan Adams) and Avengers Assemble (voiced by Steve Blum). He made his live-action debut in Loki.
- Games: Kang has appeared in F2P video games like Marvel: Avengers Alliance and Marvel: Contest of Champions, however his most notable online game look to this point has been in 2017’s LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. Kang (voiced by MCU veteran Peter Serafinowicz) serves as the most important villain of the recreation and can also be out there as a playable character.
July 14, 2021: This story has been up to date with the newest details about Loki.
Jesse is a mild-mannered workers author for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your mental thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.