For the past few weeks, Jonathan Majors has been battling monsters, ghosts, and all kinds of spooky ghouls in Lovecraft Country, but he may soon meet his match in… a couple of insects? Following fantastic turns in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and White Boy Rick, Majors has become the undeniable breakout star of HBO’s gonzo horror series. Now that continued success has seemingly led to the biggest gig of his career as Deadline reports that Majors is set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
According to the report, Majors has been tapped to join the still-untitled third Ant-Man, playing a major lead role across from Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lily’s Wasp. Peyton Reed, who stepped in last minute to helm 2015’s Ant-Man and then followed that up with 2018’s super-important-to-the-MCU Ant-Man and the Wasp, will return as director with Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Rick and Morty writer Jeff Loveness penning the script. For a while now it had been rumoured that this script would feature heady Marvel villain MODOK as the primary antagonist, but according to Deadline’s sources, Majors will instead be playing mega-baddie Kang the Conqueror.
To explain the identity and backstory of Kang the Conqueror is intentionally difficult, as there have been so many different versions since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced him in 1964’s Avengers #8. All those versions though start out as Nathaniel Richards, but not the first Nathaniel Richards. The original was the father of none other than the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, whose time-travelling shenanigans would eventually take him from his Earth-616 time to an alternate future timeline where the Dark Ages never happened and humanity was far more advanced. Richards would gain legendary status in this Earth-6311 timeline and his eventual descendant would be born there and given the same name.
And here’s where things get complex, as due to multiple paradoxical timelines, Nathaniel Richards would become Kang the Conqueror, Iron Lad, Kid Immortus, and Kang the Conqueror. Since the latter is the most important here, let’s tackle that: Tired of his peaceful life, super-genius Nathaniel Richards would use a time machine to travel to the ancient Egypt of his ancestor’s original 616 timeline where he would set himself up as the despot Pharaoh Rama-Tut. He would eventually be defeated by the Fantastic Four, and while fleeing them to his own timeline, would accidentally get stuck in the modern times. After an encounter with Fantastic Four archenemy Doctor Doom, Richards eventually made his way to the 40th century where he would assume the identity of Kang the Conqueror, using his highly advanced technology to rule over the local population.
On top of all of this though, back in his original 6311 timeline, a 16-year old Nathaniel Richards would learn through time travel that he would eventually grow up to become the villainous Kang. He would travel back in time to try and prevent this, and in so doing become the teen hero Iron Lad, a key member of the Young Avengers (a team that is seemingly being setup in the MCU)… before becoming evil as Kid Immortus, the young version of supervillain Immortus, another of Richards’ identities. And while this was happening, the Rama-Tut version of Nathaniel Richards was also hopping around the timelines eventually becoming a good guy, while Kang would manage to find himself existing outside of time so that he could pop up just about anywhere as major threat. Honestly, trying to wrap your around who he was at which point in however many timelines is a lesson in brain-breaking futility. Hell, for a time, he was even Doctor Doom! So just accept that he was all of these different people at the same time.
And now he may be somebody else as well as Deadline’s sources indicate that “there could be a twist with how the character is featured in future films”. Yes, films. Plural. Because besides for being the main villain in Ant-Man 3, it’s more than likely that Kang could play a central role in the overall arc of the MCU in its upcoming years. This is actually something that was speculated by fans since last year after Avengers: Endgame (and sorta-kinda Spider-Man: Far From Home) dived deep into the idea of multiple timelines. A concept, by the way, that could not have happened without Ant-Man and the Wasp establishing the Quantum Realm first.
I’m guessing that further exploration of that metaphysical micro-universe will lead to an encounter with the time-hopping Kang in some form. And there’s a further connection as Ant-Man’s daughter (now grown up due to the events of Endgame) is none other than Cassie Lang, aka Stature, Iron Lad’s Young Avengers teammate in the comics. This may explain why an Avengers-level threat villain like Kang would debut in an Ant-Man movie.
That is, of course, if Majors is actually playing Kang. While Deadline is about as reliable a source as you can get, none of this has been officially confirmed by Marvel yet. The comic book movie studio has not given a release date for Ant-Man 3 yet (though 2022 is speculated), but even if they had, all of that flew out the window thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it stands, we don’t know when Ant-Man 3 will debut, which means it could still be a long way off before we get any verification on Majors’ role.
Last Updated: September 15, 2020