Is Kang Dead? Who Are The Three Variants Shown In The Post-Credits Of ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’?

As the initiator of phase five of the MCU narrative progression, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” had the daunting task of establishing Kang the Conqueror, the big bad of the next chapter of overarching MCU lore known as the Multiverse Saga. The preceding chapter, Infinity Saga, culminated with the mad Titan Thanos’ almost religious quest of removing half of the living beings from the face of the universe using the Infinity stones and the effort of the combined might of the rest of the established MCU characters to reverse it. Now as the next prime antagonist, Kang had big shoes to fill, as it goes without saying that Thanos was a tough act to follow. “Quantumania” does a decent job introducing the time-traveling megalomaniac Kang the Conqueror, who serves as the primary antagonist of the movie, and also teases the villainous legacy of the character in a big way with both the post-credits scenes.

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Spoilers Ahead


Kang The Conqueror And His Motives

Even though “Quantumania” introduced the character to the viewers for the first time, Kang’s arrival was teased in the final episode of the first season of “Loki.” We were introduced to the creator of the Time Variance Authority, “He Who Remains,” who introduced himself as a variant of the 31st-century scientist and explorer Nathaniel Richards. Nathaniel was the first person to discover the existence of the multiverse and met his variants across alternate realities and branching timelines, exchanging technologies and information in the process. Among the innumerable variants, some saw the multiverse as an opportunity to expand their domination outside their own universe and started the first Multiversal war. He Who Remains was able to gain control of an interdimensional entity named Alioth and end the war in the process. These variants were the result of branching realities that differ from each other due to decisions, circumstances, and probabilities. He Who Remains created the TVA to strategically remove the existence of variants in order to preserve a sacred timeline, which ensured the nefarious variants of Nathaniel Richards never emerged. With He Who Remains’ death at the hands of Sylvie, the multiverse branches off infinitely, which leads to the emergence of variants of Nathaniel Richards.

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One such variant was Kang the Conqueror. According to him, he’d witnessed his other variants misusing the prospects that the vastness of the multiverse had to offer. He witnessed that the multiverse was dying because of the actions of some of his variants, which prompted him to lead the charge against them. He destroyed earths, removed timelines out of existence, and ultimately proved too much of a threat to the leaders of Nathaniel Richards’ variant alliance. To clip his wings, the leader variants decided to banish him to the quantum realm, which was situated outside the space-time continuum. His multiverse-traveling vessel was stripped of its power source. After crash-landing in the quantum realm, Kang the Conqueror met another victim of a similar fate, Janet Van Dyne, who had been stranded in the realm for quite some time. He pretended to be an explorer who’d chanced upon the quantum realm by accident and promised to return her to her own family if she helped replenish the power source of the vessel. Once the repaired power source activates Kang’s neurokinetic vessel, Janet is able to look into his thoughts and memories, which reveal his heinous past. Horrified, Janet enlarges the source core using Pym particles to the point where it becomes unusable. Unfortunately, Kang’s advanced combat suit was already reactivated with the help of the vessel, which enabled him to create an empire inside the quantum realm. During his rule in the realm, Kang terrorized the native denizens of the place and subjugated the majority of the realm. After the entire Ant family gets sucked into the realm, Kang captures Cassie and Scott. As the conversation between him and Scott suggests, the Conqueror slew multitudes of Avengers during his quest to erase timelines, so much so that the memories of doing so have blurred the individual identities of the Avengers in his mind. Kang threatened Scott with his daughter Cassie’s life to retrieve the power source core of his multiversal vessel. After regaining the source core, Kang attempts to flee from the quantum realm but gets stopped in his tracks by Ant-family. The Conqueror presumably gets killed after being sucked into the source core.


Did Kang The Conqueror Really Die?

The character Kang has always had significant ties with the concept of time, and the MCU version of Kang is no exception. During his first meeting with Janet, Kang informs her about the nature of time being an oppressive cage-like construct, one that limits the possibilities immensely and worsens the condition of entrapped beings periodically. He says to Janet, and later to Scott as well, that he can provide them with time—the time they have lost in their lives, which has made them regret not being with their loved ones. His connection with time is once again highlighted when he threatens Scott about killing Cassie and repeats the incident in differing forms through a time loop until Scott begs him to take his life—that is unless Scott complies with his demand. Kang later remarks that the way he perceives time makes him cosmically aware of the fact that it is broken. He also mentions that it is he himself, or at least his variants, who has caused the time to be broken. His knowledge dictates the concept of time’s progression not being linear but circular. This links the Conqueror with the first variant of Nathaniel Richards we had met, He Who Remains, who claimed that he had lived a million lifetimes and was doomed to live through every possibility till the end of time. Kang the Conqueror similarly claimed to know how everything ends. Just like in comics, it becomes quite clear that the variants of Kang have achieved mastery over time, so they are not bound by the limitations posed by causality and situations that are not favorable—something that was hinted at by the momentarily unphased reaction of the Conqueror even after his plans were foiled by Lang and co.

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After Kang gets pulled inside the core of the multiverse vessel’s power core, we are left to wonder whether he survived or not. In the post-credits sequence, it was confirmed that he had indeed died. But just like Scott previously felt an ominous hunch, as Kang had told him he was their best shot to stop what was coming, he ponders whether beating Kang has doomed the universe, and we can’t help but feel that it is not the end for the Conqueror. For someone who has gained control over time, death will be too easy of a release. There is still a solid chance of him being entrapped in the probability field and that he will return deadlier and more menacing than ever.


Who Are The Three Variants Shown In The Post-Credits Sequence?

Kang is never truly gone as long as his variants are there to hold the reins. In the post-credits sequence, we see an enormous gathering of near-infinite variants of Nathaniel Richards across the multiverse. Three of them stand apart, as their conversation reveals that they were responsible for Kang the Conqueror’s banishment into the quantum realm; they considered him too ambitious and dangerous. The colosseum-looking arena is filled with a gradually increasing number of variants and is a direct comic panel-to-screen reference to the Council of Kangs as shown in “Avengers” #292 (1988), created by Walt Simonson and John Buscema. An important point to note is the way they appear using a hovering platform, which is similar to how Reed Richards appeared in “Multiverse of Madness,” something that further establishes the connection that Nathaniel is Reed’s descendent in the MCU, just like in comics.

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 Among the three supposed leader figures, the Pharaoh-looking version is known as Rama-Tut, the first-ever incarnation of Kang in comics. This variant went to ancient Egypt and became a god after tricking the comparatively primitive denizens with his 31st-century gizmos, up until the first Marvel superteam, the Fantastic Four, defeated him. The second, with cyborg-like mechanical body armor and modifications, might be Scarlet Centurion, even though the appearance is not that similar to the comics version. Scarlett Centurion has direct ties with another supervillain powerhouse of the Marvel Universe, the infamous Doctor Victor Von Doom. It will be interesting to see how the eventual appearance of Doctor Doom is tied with Kang Legacy in the upcoming mega-crossover events. The third one shares a striking similarity with Doctor Strange in terms of facial hair, attire, and amulets and goes by the name Immortus in comics. This version is the ultimate form of Kang and is considered the mastermind. Similar to the situation in comics, Kang’s archenemy is Kang himself, or as seen in this case, Kang’s variants as they are too busy infighting most of the time. Immortus informs the rest of the two chief variants that the demise of the Conqueror was caused by humans, who, he fears, have already started engaging with the multiverse. To nip the situation in the bud, they summoned this Council of Kangs, as their next course of action will be to take the attack to the prime Earth, from where the primary majority of MCU characters are based.     


See more: ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’ Ending, Explained – Who Is Victor Timely? What Is The Council Of Kangs?


Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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