[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for both “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and its post-credits scenes.]
Newly minted Marvel baddie Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors) may lord over Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” but that’s only the start of what’s to come for the villain in the coming years of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Majors was cast in “Quantumania” in September 2020, with the entertainment giant eventually signing him for a deal that will include starring roles in Phase 6 features “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” (in 2025) and “Avengers: Secret Wars” (in 2026). In 2021, he made his Marvel debut in an episode of “Loki,” appearing as one of Kang’s many, many variants.
So, while “Quantumania” may end with the classic villain being defeated by Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp, he’s not really going anywhere (if there’s anyone who can emerge from being sucked into a time-traveling space engine in the teeny-tiny Quantum Realm, it’s Kang). It’s only fitting that both of the film’s post-credits scenes follow Kang (well, sort of) and his growing influence. Ahead, director Peyton Reed helps break them down for us, including what they mean for a very Kang-centric future for the MCU.
[One more warning: The following post contains spoilers for both “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and its post-credits scenes.]
1. Meet the Kangs
In the first post-credits scene, we’re treated to a trio of brand-new Majors-as-Kang characters, various variants of the Marvel big bad, including the seeming elder Immortus (with blue skin), the pharaoh Rama-Tut, and a new spin on the Scarlet Centurion (he’s positively cyborg-esque), discussing what has become of Kang, who they refer to as “the exiled one.”
“He talks about his variants in the film, and obviously he was playing He Who Remains in season one of ‘Loki,’ so it’s been discussed, and it’s like, ‘Well, at what point do we actually show some of the variants and that the Kang is a nexus being?,’” Reed said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “And then it was like, ‘Well, what if we give them a little taste of a version of Rama-Tut, a version of a Centurion, a version of Immortus?’ … In the movie, there’s a specific reason he’s been banished and exiled into the Quantum Realm, so it sort of begged the question of, ‘Well, who exiled him?’ I was trying to set up some version of a Godfather-esque mafia thing of like, ‘Oh, who’s triumphant? Who’s discussing the guy who’s no longer with us? And what does it mean to the larger sort of political body of the Kangs?’
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”
But while Kang’s exile is what initially brings the trio together, they’ve also got bigger things on their mind for the rest of the Kangs, and the scene cuts to a massive gathering (we’re talking thousands) of Kang variants, who all appear to be getting each other mighty hyped up for a new battle: against The Avengers, who are growing more aware of the multiverse and are thus a major threat to all the Kangs. “There’s some very famous comic panels of this Council of Kangs, which is sort of a shot that we recreated for the very final shot of that tag,” Reed said.
It provides a small taste of what we’re likely to see as the MCU plots through Phase Five and Six, all set to end with the double whammy of “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars,” which will presumably star lots of Majors.
“For Jonathan, I think it was a taste of one of the things he’s so excited about, which is this potential of playing all these different versions of these variants,” Reed said, noting that “the version of Rama-Tut that we see is this weird sort of bionic, futuristic Rama-Tut.”
Still, Reed cautioned that just because we see these different Kangs in “Quantumania,” that doesn’t mean they’re the same variants we will see in upcoming MCU films. “Are these necessarily the ones that we’re going to see later? Who knows? But there are variants of each one, and we got really whacked out with it,” he said.
2. What About Victor Timely?
But that’s hardly the last Kang variant we meet in the hinterlands of “Quantumania,” as the final post-credits tag introduces us to Majors as Victor Timely, a snazzy 1920’s figure who is showing off to a crowd his own theories of time. In the audience? Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson); and while Mobius doesn’t seem that terrified of the guy, Loki promises that he is indeed.
“It’s a scene from season two of ‘Loki,’ and Victor Timely is yet another variant from the comics,” Reed said. “I love Jonathan’s look and his sort of period voice and his Frederick Douglass hair. That scene, there was just another glimpse of sort of, “OK, there are all these variants and here’s maybe the next one you might meet.’ We liked that idea.”
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”
Victor Timely is a classic comics version of Kang: he’s actually a version of the guy who traveled back in time to 1901 to set up Timely Industries (cute) in a tiny town in Wisconsin, which eventually manufactured some of the technology that made time travel possible in the future (where he came from). Get it?
The next season of “Loki” will arrive on Disney+ later this year, and while this kind of cross-pollination between films and series might seem like, well, a bit much, Reed reminded us that he’s no stranger to it.
“We did a similar thing in the first ‘Ant-Man,’ the first tag scene was introducing Hope getting to see the suit, and then she was going to suit up,” he said. “And then it was a quick scene from ‘Captain America: Civil War’ implying of course, that Ant-Man was going to return. But it was fun because it just sort of set the tone for all the potentially insane versions of Jonathan that you’re going to meet along the way.”
And, no surprise here, “Quantumania” ends with a usual MCU promise, and while it’s obvious, it’s also a bit foreboding: “Kang will return.”
A Walt Disney Pictures release, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is now in theaters.
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