Marvel’s Phase 4 has already arrived through the Disney+ series and upcoming movie releases introducing several new concepts to the MCU, including new characters.
Those who watched the incredible season finale of the Loki series on Disney+ may have been taken aback by the appearance of a villain: He Who Remains, the one responsible for running all of TVA’s actions during the series.
The villain, who says he has been called by many names at various times, including “The Conqueror,” is played by Jonathan Majors. Some time ago, Majors had been rumored as a member of Ant-Man 3: Quantumania, playing a famous comic book villain named Kang the Conqueror.
That’s right, the villain Kang is the One Who Remains, and he was already introduced at the end of the first season of the Loki series. But who is Kang The Conqueror? What are his powers and his goals?
The character is somewhat unknown to the general public. However, he is one of Marvel’s most classic villains and has everything to be the Thanos of this new MCU phase. So I decided to explain who’s Kang The Conqueror, his origin in the comics, and his role in the MCU.
Who is Kang the Conqueror?
The character Kang The Conqueror is a time traveler who seeks to conquer worlds in different eras and timelines. Over many historical periods, he has been called by many names and assumed many different identities and alter-egos.
Kang the Conqueror was created in the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and was first introduced in Avengers #8 in 1964. However, it is important to explain that the character had already been introduced a little earlier, in Fantastic Four #19, October 1963, under the name Rama-Tut, when he became a tyrant in Ancient Egypt. Rama-Tut is one of his various nicknames and alter-egos over time.
Iron Boy: Kang’s Origin
The story of Kang the Conqueror is a complete paradox. Born in the thirtieth century of Earth-6311, Nathaniel Richards was an intelligent and very dedicated young man who suffered bullying. One day, he almost had his throat slit by a bully at school.
He ends up becoming Kang, exactly when trying to avoid this future of his. One day Nathaniel Richards is rescued by himself, Kang, who reveals to his past self how he will become a time traveler and enemy of the Avengers. However, not wanting this future to come true,
Nathaniel decides to escape with an armor that allows him to travel to the past and looks for the Avengers. He discovered a way to travel back in time by using technology from Doctor Fate.
However, he cannot find the group of heroes, so he becomes the Iron Boy, recruiting and joining the first Young Avengers. First appearing in Young Avengers #1 by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, Iron Boy is a teenage version of Kang The Conqueror who spends much of his time trying not to become the villain.
The Tyrannical Rama-Tut
At age 25, Nathaniel Richards returned to his timeline, where he became utterly bored with the “perfect” life he was leading. He then created a special time machine in the form of a sphinx, willing to set up his own dynasty.
Kang travels to the past of Earth-616, where/when he had his first experience with power. Arriving in Ancient Egypt in 2960 B.C., Richards became a great tyrant. He was mistaken for a god by the Egyptians, who saw his time travel technology as divine powers. Assuming the identity of Rama-Tut, he reigned for ten years as a pharaoh building a great empire.
He was ousted thanks to the actions of the Fantastic Four, who were drifting back in time. Deciding to return to his timeline, he ended up trapped in a cosmic storm caused by Immortus.
Due to this “forced stop,” Nathaniel Richards was “split” into two different temporal counterparts. The first of them ended up in an alternate reality in the 20th century. There, he became the heroic Scarlet Centurion.
Scarlet Centurion is an alien warrior who had a disturbing and complex relationship with Captain Marvel. This is one of Marvel Comics’ most controversial stories. The result of the abuse suffered by Carol Danvers at the hands of what later turned out to be Kang was Marcus, another character who went on to confront the Avengers.
However, his actions as the Scarlet Centurion caused the origin of even more alternate realities, in which he ended up clashing with the Squadron Supreme and the X-Men.
The other counterpart was eventually thrown into the XL Century, finding a war-torn planet Earth. He then used his knowledge and built up an unlimited arsenal, transforming himself into Kang for good. It was this version precisely that formed the Kang Dynasty.
Armed with the best technology of the XL Century, he frequently returned to the past, taking on the Avengers and other powerful heroes. During this period, he saved young Nathaniel Richards, setting him on the path to becoming the Iron Boy.
Immortus: Ruler of the Future
Immortus appeared in the comics in Avengers #10 by Stran Lee and Don Heck. After spending years making glorious achievements as Kang, Nathaniel realized that he was once again bored with his perfect life. He then set out on an incredible journey, resuming his rule as Rama-Tut in Ancient Egypt.
It was during this period that he decided to change his identity once again, becoming Immortus. The Timekeepers unintentionally separated the two, causing Kang and Immortus to become separate entities.
Obsessed with the idea of immortality and absolute power, he manipulated various aspects of his past, including his own temporal counterparts. Always worried about his aging, he started to inhabit Limbo, a dimension in which time did not pass.
As Immortus, he was even responsible for the events of Avengers: Forever. To combat his futuristic version, Kang had to gather several Avengers from different timelines and assemble his own army of heroes.
Due to a problem in the time stream, Kang The Conqueror was split into two different versions of himself. One of these ended up being stuck in the 21st Century, getting stuck in that era because of a “time barrier.”
Since he didn’t want to have to wait two centuries before returning to his original time, this version of Nathaniel Richards decided to create his own dynasty.
Under the guise of “Lord Gryphon,” he became a big businessman and the CEO of Qeng Enterprises, even acquiring Stark Tower in the comics.
As a villain, he tried to help the Chitauri invade New York and allied himself with Equinox by fighting the Avengers and mentally controlling Vision. However, he was defeated when Thor could use the present and past version of Mjolnir to send him out of the timeline.
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Kang is a female character who claims to have a plan to prevent Earth’s destruction. Mercury, Hulk, and Reed Richards are recruited by her as part of her plan to steal the Infinity gauntlet.
To everyone’s surprise, in this universe, Kang’s identity was none other than Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four. She wore a special time-traveling armor created by her husband, Reed.
This version of Kang settled in a small town called Timely during 1901 and became the mayor there, trying to turn the place into his base in the 20th century.
Timely inspires Professor Phineas Horton to build the original Human Torch, an android who fought alongside Captain America in World War II. It is worth noting that the body of this Human Torch was later used to build Vision, who kidnapped Kang as a child in an attempt to defeat him and ended up spawning even more versions of the villain.
After Iron Boy decides to go back in time to save Cassie Lang, he becomes a villain and begins to research more about his destiny. Trying to defeat his future versions, Nathaniel becomes Kid Immortus. This version, however, only appeared in the Future Foundation comic, working alongside Ravonna and trying to prevent Doctor Fate from joining Kang and Annihilus in the future.
During the “Kang War” saga, we see the Avengers trying to attack Kang when he is still weak and has not reached the peak of his power. There, we see a version of the character from Earth-6311 – that is, from Kang’s timeline – who has the same look and powers as Doctor Fate. However, he has no further appearances beyond a brief moment in the comic.
Even though he comes from Earth-6311, a parallel reality that didn’t have to go through the Dark Ages, Nathaniel Richards shares blood ties with essential characters from Earth-616, Marvel Comics’ “main” chronology.
As the name already delivers, Nathaniel is known to be a distant descendant of Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic. This connection explains some of Kang’s geniality and why the two keep meeting intentionally or unintentionally.
There is also a grand theory that has not yet been proven that the character may also be a direct descendant of Victor Von Doom, Doctor Fate. In other words, he could be a descendant of the leader of the Fantastic Four and the team’s greatest enemy!
As you can see, it’s hard to define who Kang is, but the MCU version is likely inspired by Nathaniel Richards. After all, this could fit in well with SHIELD‘s past, as he could have worked with Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father – and this has already happened in the comics, in the SHIELD mini-series. And, of course, it would be a good way to introduce elements of the Fantastic Four, which should be introduced very soon by Marvel Studios.
If you think the Collector has a vast collection of items in the Marvel Universe, wait until you meet Kang the Conqueror. The villain has a “trophy room” at the edge of space-time where he keeps prizes from his conquests over time.
This “museum” consists of items ranging from old Iron Man armor to Nick Fury‘s head from an alternate reality. He also keeps “peculiar” items, such as Wolverine‘s skeleton and the Hulk‘s torn shorts.
Powers and Abilities
Kang the Conqueror, in fact, has no powers of his own. Instead, his great advantage over his enemies comes from knowledge in the Richards family tradition: he is a talented military strategist and fighter. He has access to extensive weaponry from all eras of history, including distant futures. In addition, he possesses unrivaled time travel technology.
Kang possesses several unique gifts. He ages more slowly and is an expert in space-time manipulation. He also masters advanced technologies and has a genius intelligence, being a born strategist.
He wears armor that increases his strength, making him able to lift about five tons. In addition, the armor can project a force field around its wearer. The force field is strong enough to protect him from a nuclear attack.
In addition, the armor is equipped with various weapons, including anti-graviton projectors on its gloves, blasters. Finally, the suit has a connection to his time machine, allowing him to be automatically “sucked in” as soon as he wishes, as the suit responds to his mental commands.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Kang has deep connections to many Marvel heroes and the most obvious is Nathaniel Richards, father of Reed Richards. His time machine technology comes from Doctor Fate, one of the biggest villains of the House of Ideas and Fantastic Four arch-enemy. In addition, he has manipulated Tony Stark and was once the Iron Boy in the Avengers, in a younger, heroically-inclined version.
And Kang has also teamed up with the Apocalypse Twins, mutants who have been groomed by the X-Men villain Apocalypse to become his successors. In this plot, Kang develops a connection with the Wasp, who is trapped in a dystopian future.
As you can tell there is no shortage of connections for the screenwriters to align Kang with pretty much the entire MCU. He could be an opponent that transitions between Avengers, Young Avengers, Fantastic Four, and even X-Men stories.
The fact is that the second Dr. Strange movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is scheduled for release in March next year, already in the title, brings the certainty that the ultimate wizard will explore the multiverse.
The conclusion of Loki Season 1 opened the doors of the multiverse to the Marvel movies. As a result, there are many expectations but few certainties about what might actually happen in the future.
It would be a great time to showcase realities that Kang has suddenly conquered. In another film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Kang is already confirmed. However, it is not known if he will be the main threat in the series.
Considering his history in the comics, we know there is a huge potential for Kang to be the next big villain of this phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. He could be the successor to Thanos as the evil that unites all the heroes. However, we need to wait to be sure of this, as this is all speculation.