Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror has surpassed many expectations and has landed on the radar of people without having to try and build the narrative around him like a swirling mass of dread and doom. Unlike Thanos, the time-traveling antagonist doesn’t have a simple goal (yes, it seems simple now in the face of it all) nor does he display brute force by ramming through everyone and everything in his path in order to achieve that goal.
Rather cunning manipulation seems to be the more favorable weapon of choice for this villain. So, when Majors himself comes out claiming that his multiversal big bad is going to put even the junior Stark to shame, the allegation has to account for something.
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Jonathan Majors’s Kang the Conqueror > RDJ’s Iron Man?
Jonathan Majors has much to live up to if he is to bring the ultimate villain of all time to the forefront of the Marvel universe. If he is to set an example and surpass the expectations of people who have encountered Thanos and can legitimately say – been there, done that, thank you, next – Kang cannot simply come, see, and conquer. He has to imprint his vengeance in the very core of the universe in that the aftereffects should resound in echoes of pain, terror, and grief for centuries to come.
As such, the actor takes inspiration from worthy ancestors – those who have left the would-be antagonist followers with a legacy of pillaging, senseless cruelty, and ambition that relishes in horror and defies humanity.
“Inspirations for Kang, he’s a conqueror, right? You look at Alexander the Great, you look at Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, start there. He’s a part of an already established universe… those are inspirations.”
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But he doesn’t simply stop there. Marvel’s literature then allows Majors’s antagonist to mold himself into a worthy adversary that negates even the brilliance of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Where the latter exceeds in technical intelligence, Kang delivers a masterclass in strategy, manipulation, and shrewdness:
“And then, counterpoints, which is also important in creating character, is to figure out how they counter people. You
know, ‘You’re smart, but watch how smart I am.’ So you can look at Robert Downey’s Iron Man and say ‘OK, if that’s the superhero’s superhero, et cetera, and I’m to be the supervillain of supervillains, how do I counteract that in the zeitgeist?’ I mean, I could write a book on this at this point, but I’ll close there.”
In short, Kang is not a cog in the machine that is the ever-expanding and ever-existing universe. This villain wants to break free from the impositions and cages of time, place, and mortality by instead reigning over all of time and space, in all dimensions and every reality there is. His ambition would indeed make his forefathers proud.
Kang the Conqueror: A Saga of Veni, Vidi, Vici
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The Lovecraft Country actor has made quite a name for himself in the short while that he has been here at Marvel’s plane of existence. Despite such gods and titans who preceded him, like Loki and Thanos, perhaps a simple human like Baron Zemo came the closest within MCU’s chapters to bring entire nations to their knees with his sheer connivance and perfect execution of his well-thought-out plan. Kang the Conqueror, unlike Zemo however, does not fail and time or mortality is not a thorn in his path because, for him, they do not exist at all – at least not in the way we have encountered these concepts within MCU to date.
Kang the Conqueror appears in all his multiversal glory in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which premieres on February 17, 2023.