Jonathan Majors plays Kang the Conqueror in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the character has taken many forms in the comic books.
Now that the world has been introduced to Kang the Conqueror via Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we thought it would be a good time to get more in-depth about who this new Marvel big baddie is. We were all first introduced to Kang via another multiverse version of the character, who was named He Who Remains played by Jonathan Majors. However, there have been many versions of the villain, as he has been able to travel through time for thousands of years.
KANG THE CONQUEROR FIRST CAME TO MARVEL IN 1963
Kang the Conqueror has had a storied introduction to the world of comics, with the character introduced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in October 1963’s Fantastic Four #19. Initially, the character was created as a pharaoh named Rama-Tut. Rama-Tut traveled back in time from the year 3,000 and used his knowledge to conquer Ancient Egypt.
It has been thought that Rama-Tut is a descendant, or rather, a future iteration of Doctor Doom. Rama-Tut appears in Fantastic Four Annual #2 in September of 1964 and again in Avengers #8, which was published the same month. The Avengers #8 comic is where Tut’s story is reinvented, and he travels to the year 4,000, taking on the mantle of Kang the Conqueror.
Kang the Conqueror also appears in Avengers #10 in November 1964, but as the character, Immortus. Immortus is retroactively stated to be a future iteration of Kang in the Giant-Size Avengers #3 issue in February 1975. This is where the many versions of the villain begin to take shape.
KANG THE CONQUEROR COMES IN MANY FORMS
One of the earliest comic versions of Kang the Conqueror is Pharaoh Rama-Tut, who ruled ancient Egypt. Though he is coaxed into his destiny to become Immortus, he returns to the Kang identity and retires under the moniker of Pharaoh Rama-Tut when he finds out that Immortus is only a pawn used by the Time-Keepers.
Immortus is a version of Kang the Conqueror that is stuck in Limbo. The previously mentioned Rama-Tut is meant to become Immortus, but the Time-Keepers instead separate the two, who then become different versions of Kang.
Iron Lad is an adolescent version of Kang the Conqueror, who discovers his identity when the future Nathaniel Richards (Kang) saves his own 16-year-old self from being horribly injured by a knife attack.
Kang shows 16-year-old Nathaniel Richards the battles and conquests that he accomplishes in the future to inspire him, but the plan backfires when young Nathaniel Richards is horrified by his violent future. Young Nathaniel Richards then steals the time-traveling technology and travels backward in time to form the Young Avengers and stop Kang’s destruction.
However, this results in the death of Kang the Conqueror, which alters the course of history in a hugely terrible way. Iron Lad has no choice but to right the future by becoming Kang.
Victor Timely is a divergent timeline version of Kang the Conqueror that creates a base in the 20th century in Timely, Wisconsin. Timely also serves as the mayor of the town and takes a keen interest in attending college, posing as his own son, Victor Timely Jr. While at college, he collaborates with Phineas Horton, giving him ideas that create the original Human Torch.
The Scarlet Centurion is Nathaniel Richards II, who takes on this one-time identity that exists after he is Pharaoh Rama-Tut. Once the identity of Pharaoh Rama-Tut is abandoned, Richards becomes the Scarlet Centurion, right before he takes on the moniker of Kang the Conqueror.
Chronomonitor #616 is another divergent version of Kang the Conqueror that is tasked with working for the TVA (Time Variance Authority). However, he is a renegade of the time policing organization, and they discover that he was altering time for his own personal gain. Chronomonitor #616 is tracked down and arrested, being placed in a time loop by the TVA, but swearing revenge on the TVA and Fantastic Four.
Though it was not explicitly stated in Loki, Chronomonitor #616 might be He Who Remains, which was the first version of Kang the Conqueror that was introduced to the world in the MCU.
Mister Gryphon aka Qeng Gryphon, is a version of Kang the Conqueror that is stuck in the present day. Gryphon is an Asian-American businessman and CEO of Qeng Enterprises. We wouldn’t imagine that Mister Gryphon would have much of an impact on the current MCU.
Crosstime Kang Corps
Much like the council of Reed Richards, there is a group of time-traveling Kang the Conqueror versions that call themselves the Crosstime Kang Corps. They are comprised of Frederick “Fred” Kang, Kang Nebula, and Kang Kong. Fred nicknamed himself after Fred Flinstone, Kang Nebula is a different version of Nebula that conquered her timelines, and Kang Kong is from a universe of hyper-intelligent apes, which was renamed as the Marvel Apes universe.
JONATHAN MAJORS IS KANG THE CONQUEROR IN THE MCU
We understand that these many different timeline versions of Kang the Conqueror might be a bit confusing at first, so let’s talk about who we have seen so far in the MCU.
As previously mentioned, the He Who Remains version of the conqueror that we saw in Loki could very well be Chronomonitor #616. This is the only version of Kang that worked for the TVA and considering He Who Remains was running and protecting the Sacred Timeline, they could be one and the same.
What’s interesting about the origins of Kang the Conqueror is that most of the versions of the villain are born from Nathaniel Richards traveling back in time and taking on different roles throughout history.
Another interesting idea would be that Kang the Conqueror is also Doctor Doom in the MCU, which is why we have not seen the latter appear yet. Secret Wars follows a super-powered Doctor Doom who attempts to destroy the Multiverse. Should it be revealed that Majors is both Kang the Conqueror and Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four villain and MCU big baddie will be set even more for Phases Five and Six.
Warning: The Following Contains Spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
We are not entirely sure if this is the route that the MCU is going to take with Kang the Conqueror, but we will certainly all find out soon, as Ant-Man 3 is now playing in theaters. The film introduced us to Kang’s powerful variant, The Conqueror, but the movie also gave us a glimpse at a slew of other versions of the Marvel character.
Two post-credit scenes wasted no time, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come in the multiversal storyline of Phase Five. The first scene depicted an arena full of Kang Variants, all joined together by the Council of Kangs.
This gave us a glance at all of the aforementioned variants. The last scene gave us a look at Victor Timely, as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mobius watch Victor on stage, presumably setting up events that may occur in Loki Season 2.