Loose Adaptation: How ‘Ant-Man 3’ Could Change Kang the Conqueror’s Origin
We finally got some news for an upcoming Marvel Studios film. Jonathan Majors has been cast in a major role for Ant-Man’s threequel. Deadline’s sources indicated that he will play Kang the Conqueror This is huge especially with the Young Avengers rumors. At some point, M.O.D.O.K. was even going to be heavily featured. This film may truly become a cornerstone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward. This casting announcement seems like a natural follow-up to recent news. A lot of hints have been building up that make Kang the perfect successor to Thanos. Let’s look at some of the hints that may have teased his addition to the franchise. There is also a good chance this might be a very different version of Kang than we are use to.
A New Generation
Let’s get the obvious aspect out of the way first. Kang’s introduction is a heavy indicator that the Young Avengers will have a role as well. Let’s start with who exactly Kang is. Nathaniel Richards was from the 31st century and believed to be a descendant of Reed Richards. Not only that, but there is also the theory that he is also related to Doctor Doom. It is why he ended up using Victor von Doom’s technology to travel back in time, even become the famous Pharao Rama-Tut. His heir was non-other than En Sabah Nur, also known as the mutant Apocalypse. After overshooting his original timeline, he ends up conquering a war-torn Earth and becoming the infamous Kang the Conqueror. At one point, he decides to save his younger self and showed him the unexplored past. This version was saved from the moment he would turn evil and rejects that future. He dons the Iron Lad moniker and is the founder of the Young Avengers.
That’s a lot of connections throughout the Marvel Universe in just one character. Our main focus is the connection with Young Avengers. Nathaniel is the one that brings the team together after the Avengers disbanded. We are currently facing a timeline in the MCU without the Avengers. Tony Stark has passed away. Thor decided to join the Guardians off into space. Rogers was able to return to his own time and live a fulfilling life. Even their headquarters was blown up by Thanos. There seems to be nothing left as everyone is heading off into their own adventure. So, a new generation will take over to continue their legacy. How does this all connect to Ant-Man? Well, his daughter Cassie has aged up after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In the comics, she is a member of the team and is known as Stature. She tries to follow in his footsteps as many others find their protegés forcing him into a mentor role alongside Hope van Dyne.
Stature isn’t the only connection we have between Kang and Ant-Man. There is also the elephant in the room. Tony Stark invented time travel through the quantum realm in Avengers: Endgame. Through their travels, they ended up creating a splinter of different timelines by stealing the Infinity Stones. There is a good chance these actions created a version of earth that will end up being torn apart by war. One particular timeline, in particular, seems like the best candidate that would lead to the creation of Kang. Tony accidentally manages to drop the Tesseract that lets Loki escape from Thor’s clutches rather than facing Odin’s judgment. Even as Captain America returned the borrowed Infinity Stones, this timeline has been changed the most. It also is the only one that is getting a spin-off with next year’s Loki series on Disney+.
Why does that matter? Well, Loki will introduce the Time Variance Authority (TVA). They are responsible for the multiverse and keeping timelines consistent, which is a perfect choice for this multiverse tale. Their existence is also a major hint at how Stark’s invention of time travel may have had some bigger implications. Marvel’s time cops haven’t always been successful at keeping the timeline in check, especially when Kang was involved. Keep in mind that Ant-Man 3 is currently slated for 2022. It’s a surprisingly early announcement, which could hint at Kang’s appearance in this Disney+ series. They could introduce him early to build up the character before appearing in the Ant-Man threequel.
Jonathan Majors‘ version of the character could be a unique take on the character. Marvel Studios isn’t a stranger to adapting the villain’s backstories to fit the overarching plot. Ultron was a creation of Hank Pym in the comics. It wasn’t until Age of Ultron that he got connected to Tony Stark. The original article by Deadline highlights this very fact. Also, he may not be the only villain. We could still see M.O.D.O.K. as the main antagonist with Kang pulling the strings. He may have been a wealthy benefactor that saved A.I.M. and gave them technology way beyond their time. Similar to Thanos, Marvel Studios might want to build him up throughout multiple cameos. He is known as a major Avengers villain. The Conqueror won’t be taken down so easily by a group of teenagers.
If Kang is given a new spin, there is a chance we won’t see the classic interpretation of Iron Lad either. First of all, the Fantastic Four haven’t been introduced yet. So, they might try to build a connection to existing characters. Similar to how Ultron, they may change his origin while keeping some defining aspects alive. A while back, there was the rumor of an Ironheart series being in development. It would be easier to combine her stories with Nathaniel’s rather than juggle two separate characters inspired by Iron Man. It would make sense if he was her descendant from the future. No matter what route they take, Iron Man is a likely connection to remain consistent in the adaptation. Hell, maybe even use some elements from The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Captain America’s survival altered his timeline in the show pushing him to conquer the present-day Earth. Rogers’ choice of staying in the past may work as his main motivation to travel to the present day within the MCU. They might not reveal his connection to Ironheart until a later entry. Kang is such a great character to introduce. He is exactly what Tony warned the Avengers about back in Endgame. When you mess with time, it tends to mess back.