Will the next major threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe be from its own future?
Deadline reports Lovecraft Country‘s Jonathan Majors has been cast as an adversary in the third Ant-Man film. Their sources claim the character will be Kang the Conqueror. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the character debuted twice in the pages of various Marvel comics. In his first appearance, Fantastic Four #19, he was Rama-Tut, a would-be pharaoh with a power-negating ray gun. Less than a year later, he reappeared in Avengers #8 as Kang. But whatever identity he uses — and he has quite a few — he is Nathaniel Richards, a 31st Century descendant of Mr. Fantastic (or possibly a closer relation) with Doom-like aspirations of conquest. His future-tech, time traveling ship, and keen scientific mind make him a worthy adversary for nearly all of the Marvel heroes.
How he fits into the Ant-Man context will be interesting to see. A character like Kang, if played completely straight, could be a tremendous source of comedy for Scott Land (Paul Rudd) and his team of ex-cons and size-changers. Or, perhaps, Scott’s corner of the MCU is about to take a more serious turn.
Either way, Kang has the potential to be a Thanos-level threat in the ongoing Marvel-movie story. And, indeed, his connection to the Richards Family suggests his famous antecedent will be making his debut sooner rather than later. That Marvel Studios intents to make a Fantastic Four film is no secret, but it is still unclear when that film will debut.
Also, we can’t help but wonder about Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) orbital army. The Spider-Man: Homecoming tease suggested a new threat from space, but perhaps Fury’s next war will happen in time.
Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are set to reprise their roles as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Director Peyton Reed is also set to return. The film is not yet scheduled for release, but will likely be part of Marvel’s 2023 slate.