Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ Loki show may set up Kang the Conqueror as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next big bad. The show, starring Tom Hiddleston, will see the God of Mischief embody his nefarious persona from 2012’s The Avengers. A more reformed version of the character was killed by Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. However, Avengers: Endgame revived 2012 Loki when he escaped with the Tesseract during the Avengers’ “time heist.”
That version of Loki will lead his own Disney + show, using the Tesseract (the Space Stone) to meddle with history. After fans were given their first tease of Loki via an image of the character in the 1970s, an MCU Disney+ Super Bowl commercial briefly showed Loki sporting a Time Variance Authority jumpsuit. In the comics, the TVA is an organization that monitors the multiverse and subsequent timelines, eliminating those deemed too dangerous. Recently, Owen Wilson was added to the cast of Loki and is rumored to be playing Justice Peace, the head of TVA. Their inclusion in Loki implies the mini-series will have connections to other Disney+ shows and the larger MCU.
According to insider Daniel Richtman, Loki will introduce Kang the Conqueror, a time traveler who comes into contact with Justice Peace and the TVA on more than one occasion (they aren’t that effective at their job). Before reinventing himself as “Kang the Conqueror,” Nathaniel Richards (a descendant of Reed Richards) first appeared in the 1963 comic, Fantastic Four # 19. He’s originally a 31st-century scholar who becomes fascinated with the time-travel exploits of his ancestor. After finding a device that allows him to travel back in time to ancient Egypt, he dubs himself Pharaoh Rama-Tut and is, ironically, defeated by a time-traveling Fantastic Four. In his defeat, Richards assembles an arsenal of time-travel weaponry to expand his domination and become Kang the Conqueror.
Much like how we see time travel depicted in Avengers: Endgame, the comics see Kang the Conqueror’s travels create multiple timelines and several incarnations of himself. The best-known incarnations being that of Nathaniel Richards and Iron Lad – an adolescent version of the former. However, this younger Richards does not align himself with Kang the Conqueror, instead, becoming the next Iron Man (of sorts) and forming the Young Avengers. Regarding the MCU, there have been many rumors of Harley Keener, who was introduced in Iron Man 3 and appears at Tony Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame, becoming Iron Lad.
In Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark says, “you mess with time, it tends to mess back.” That quote could double as Marvel Studios’ mission statement moving forward, having set time travel up as an overarching narrative device. Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Fox, Kevin Feige has mentioned that the Fantastic Four will be coming to the MCU. Kang the Conqueror is directly associated with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers in the comics, making his inclusion an obvious way to bring those teams together in the MCU. Setting up Kang the Conqueror as the universe’s next big bad in Loki could be a bridge to a lot of things. Similarly to how Thanos was built up by Loki and the Tesseract/Infinity Stones, Kang the Conqueror and the TVA could kick things off in Phase 4 – ultimately leading to more villains from the comics such as Galactus and Doctor Doom in Phase 5.