Ant-Man writer on where Kang’s story goes in Avengers: Kang Dynasty

When Marvel hired writer Jeff Loveness (Rick and Morty, Miracle Workers) to pen the third Ant-Man movie in March 2020 — what a time! — Kevin Feige and company only had a few stipulations: The movie had to be a big Quantum Realm adventure flick, and maybe Kang the Conqueror would be the villain. Loveness ran with that… and ran with it and ran with it, all the way past the end credits of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to a gig writing 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Kang (played by Jonathan Majors) wasn’t simply a throwaway referential reveal in Loki season 1, or a one-and-done villain for Scott Lang to fend off. This was Marvel’s new Big Bad, the Thanos of the “Multiverse Saga,” to be shepherded by Loveness over a number of future installments.

But what is the Kang story really about when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? A great villain not only terrorizes the heroes, but interrogates the world around them. And in the MCU, there’s even more weight on the shoulders of a guy like Kang — he can’t just carry one movie, he needs to prop up an entire saga’s worth of storytelling. To give him that heft going into Quantumania, Loveness considered Kang’s arc like that of a true conqueror, someone who “does not accept the civilization or the world or the life they have.” History is full of them. The thought experiment led him to frame the villain’s role in the MCU as a high-stakes question: “Are you willing to accept the broken world that is yours and you have a life in, or are you brave enough to burn it down to make something better?”

For Loveness, it was the opposite energy of what Thanos brought to the table, and exactly what the MCU needed.

“Thanos comes in kind of like a hammer, he’s single-minded, he’s got one mission — it’s pretty straightforward,” Loveness says. “I really wanted to introduce Kang the Conqueror almost at the end of his story. There’s a history with this guy. I love Lord of the Rings or Star Wars because they drop you into a mythology that is way older than where the story is starting. They namedrop Morgoth, but they’re fighting Morgoth’s intern for the whole trilogy! Darth Vader — I guess he has a history with this old guy? It’s so great. And so I thought it would be awesome to meet Kang the Conqueror after his great defeat.”

Image: Marvel Studios

Loveness says a particular line in Quantumania gets to the heart of the character: “When you can see time the way I do, you don’t get to close your eyes.” He thinks of Kang as someone burdened with his crusade, and on top of it all, “a very nonlinear guy.” The idea of bouncing around time and space drew Loveness and the Marvel team toward a moment of defeat rather than the beginning of a rampage, where the writer could relate Kang to someone like Napoleon Bonaparte.

“I think more about his defeat at Waterloo or his exile or his failure in Russia more so than I think about his military campaigns across Italy. I think about what happens in the scope of defeat, and how you can humanize that character and give him a revenge arc.” Unlike Thanos, Kang does not want to balance out the universe — he wants to flatten it to make way for something completely knew.

“He’s the Great Gatsby of the multiverse,” Loveness says with a chuckle, “and I’ll leave it there.”

Loveness says the original script for Quantumania had even more backstory for Kang, but like all movies that find their shape over the course of development, certain beats and reveals were sanded down. Much of that will find its way into Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, but Quantumania leaves fans with the tease of the many Kangs seen in a post-credits scene — and what they ultimately mean for the Kang of the new movie.

“I just love the setup of: He’s not a liar,” Loveness points out. “If you go back and watch the movie, and listen to what he’s saying, we’re in a lot of trouble, because he was the only thing that can stop these guys.”

That leaves the Avengers with a massive problem for the future, in terms of all the Kangs they need to face. Loveness could not be more excited.

“I wish Hawkeye a lot of luck. I’m sure Daredevil and Moon Knight are gonna be great against those guys.”

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