The MCU’s Next Big Villain Has the Most Confusing Comic Book Backstory


Kang the Conqueror is soon expected to appear in the MCU, but Marvel Comics will need to make sense of his story to synergize with the films first.

Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantamania will introduce Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror – and Marvel Comics will need to do a lot of work making his backstory make sense ahead of the film’s release. Marvel Comics has always tried to find ways to synergize with the next big MCU blockbuster, figuring characters and concepts will become a lot more prominent when they’ve appeared on the big screen. That kind of synergy is easier now than ever before, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige becoming Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer back in October 2019.

Sometimes, though, synergies are harder to establish. Take the example of Kang the Conqueror, the main villain of Ant-Man 3. Kang is one of Marvel’s most important Avengers villains, and he has the potential to become as significant to the MCU as the likes of Loki or even Thanos. He’s a time-traveling conqueror who has brought the Avengers to the brink of defeat on countless occasions, and he would be a terrifying threat in the MCU, which now lacks stalwart heroes Iron Man and Captain America. But Marvel Comics will need to do a lot of work to make Kang work again.

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Related: Who Is Kang the Conqueror? The MCU’s New Time-Travelling Villain Explained

The core problem lies in the fact that Kang is a time traveler. Marvel doesn’t really have a unified model of time travel in the comics (or, quite possibly, in the MCU either), and what they have has emerged more by accident than intent. Kang’s story has been written and rewritten on countless occasions, simply because the villain has been in play since 1964. Worse still, because Kang manipulates the timelines, any biography of the Conqueror involves paradoxes where his past and present meet, other Kang incarnations, such as Rama-Tut can be every bit as dangerous as the real deal. It’s almost impossible to make any sense of Kang’s timeline.

To simplify, Kang was born in the 30th century in a parallel dimension where humanity never descended into the so-called “Dark Ages,” meaning its technology was impossibly advanced. Peace was finally brought to that timeline by Kang the Conqueror, who may (depending on the telling) be a descendant of Mr. Fantastic or Doctor Doom. Kang was a tactical genius and an expert at war. He crushed all opposition to his reign. Kang has always been obsessed with the Modern Age, possibly drawn by incomplete records suggesting a Celestial Messiah would be born there. He’s gone up against the Avengers many times, using his access to future weapons to find ways to defeat them, but they’ve always managed to fight him back in the end. Kang should really be considered one of the most dangerous villains in the entire Marvel Universe. The problem is, the moment someone digs into Kang’s lore, they find themself dealing with other iterations such as Iron Lad or Rama-Tut, whose connection to the main timeline can often be bewildering.

Marvel Comics seem to realize they have a problem on their hands ahead of Ant-Man 3, and they’ve just announced they’re releasing a new Kang miniseries – written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing (The HarbingerGreen Arrow) and illustrated by Carlos Magno (Avengers Mech Strike) – that seems to try to make sense of Kang’s complicated backstory. This five-issue miniseries will launch in August, and will apparently explore Kang’s origins and his interactions with other iterations. “Kang the Conqueror isn’t just an origin story,” Kelly explained in an official press statement, “this is a life story. When young and jaded Nathaniel Richards discovers the ancient lair of his Latverian ancestor Victor Von Doom, his life is changed forever by a man he should never have met — KANG HIMSELF!” This miniseries will undoubtedly be essential reading to understand Marvel’s attempt to get Kang the Conqueror‘s life in order ahead of his MCU debut.

More: Every Version Of Kang Ever Will Try To Destroy The Fantastic Four

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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