- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania introduces Kang the Conqueror who is killed off at the end, but his fate remains ambiguous.
- The film sets up the multiversal narrative for Phase 5 and beyond, showcasing the destructive potential of Kang and his variants.
- Kang’s death may not be permanent, as the director and producer hint at the possibility of his return in future MCU projects.
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 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 timeline. 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.
Victor Timely also dies in Loki season 2 only to return afterward, suggesting the same could be possible for Kang.
When Will Kang Or His Variants Return In The MCU?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s post-credits scene revealed that Kang variant Victor Timely would appear in Loki season 2. The scene showed Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius attending a demonstration in the early 20th Century by Timely, who is also portrayed by Majors. Timely is an influential figure in Marvel’s history, so his debut in the MCU is very exciting – and while Loki season 2 closes with his timeline changed so he doesn’t become the exact same figure, this could justifiably set up this altered version of him becoming a villain down the line due to having a different upbringing.
The introduction of the Council of Kangs in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also means that variants of Kang could pop up in many more upcoming MCU projects – albeit likely 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.
How Loki Season 2 Supports Kang’s MCU Return
The Loki season 2 ending shows just how possible Kang’s MCU return could be – even if Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is supposed to be a definitive demise for the character. This is because his variant, He Who Remains, appears season 2 of the series, despite his own climactic death at the end of season 1, as Loki’s travels through time to try and save the multiverse has him return to the point of He Who Remains’ death, where he talks to Loki about the nature of time. Loki season 2 does raise the idea Kang was merely “pruned” or subjected to a similar fate, and could return this way – but this particular sequence raises an even more interesting prospect.
The events with He Who Remains suggest that Avengers: The Kang Dynasty could see the heroes face off against a version of Kang from before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, in a similar fashion to Loki’s reunion with He Who Remains. Kang’s machinations could easily have already doomed the world or multiverse before the events of the movie, and the MCU has not shied away from time travel plots in recent history, so a future installment could easily justify the Avengers having to jump through time to try and save reality as they know it. Indeed, this would justify the “Kang Dynasty” label for the upcoming Avengers 5 movie, by having it allude to the period of time the protagonists have to travel to, rather than the lineage of Kang variants that it’s been previously thought to solely be referring to.