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"If you think I'm evil...well, just wait 'till you meet my variants." That chilling declaration from He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) in the Season 1 finale of Loki will come to fruition in just a few months' time when Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania hits the big screen.
Written by Rick and Morty alum Jeff Loveness, the third chapter in the microscopic saga finds ex-con-turned-world-class-Avenger Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his band of allies sucked into the mysterious Quantum Realm where they come face-to-face with multiversal tyrant and the MCU's next Thanos-level big bad: Kang the Conqueror (also played by Majors).
"It felt like I wanted to pit Ant-Man against an all-timer," returning director Peyton Reed explained to Empire for the magazine's January 2023 issue (now on sale). "Kang the Conqueror in our movie is a very different character [from He Who Remains]. He's someone who has dominion over time, and he's a warrior and a strategist."
Kang's conceivably lived an infinite number of lifetimes and subdued more realities than one can count. He's seen and done it all before. In the footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Scott attempts to intimidate the Conqueror with his Avenger bona fides. "You're an Avenger?" Kang says without missing a beat. "Have I killed you before?"
But what's he doing in the Quantum Realm? Per Empire, Kang has become trapped in the sub-atomic dimension, which required "a massive, massive world-building undertaking," Reed continued, citing "electron microscope photography," classic science fiction book covers, Heavy Metal magazine, and the surrealist works of Mœbius as major design touchstones. "Fantastical realism is the vibe."
Even if Scott & Co. do manage to thwart Kang in this film, it won't be the end for the villain, who is set to take center stage in the very next Avengers movie — The Kang Dynasty (written by Loveness and scheduled for a wide theatrical release on May 2, 2025). "I think it has a profound impact on the MCU," Reed concluded, touching on the villain's role moving forward. "There's been a lot of discussion about the impact that this appearance of Kang the Conqueror makes. There are big things in store."
"Kang is a career in itself," Majors remarked during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s either the cake itself or the cherry on top, I don’t know. But to play multiple versions, it’s just beautiful. It’s a workshop every day."
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania arrives on the big screen Feb. 17, 2023.
Looking for more high-concept sci-fi? Check out SYFY's Battlestar Galactica, streaming now on Peacock.