The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has left so many threads dangling in the past several years–remember that giant hand that emerged from the Earth in Eternals? Nobody in the MCU does, apparently. No recent cliffhanger has been bigger than that at the end of Loki Season 1. We knew at the time that what happened would lead to the next big overall big bad of the MCU, but we’ve had little sense for what it meant in the present.
But now, six movies and five seasons of TV later, the MCU has followed up on that cliffhanger for the first time in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. It’s kind of an indirect follow-up, but it’s enough that we can make some pretty confident inferences.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, as well as Loki Season 1. It also features speculation about Loki Season 2.
In the finale episode of Loki Season 1, Loki and Sylvie met with He Who Remains, played by Jonathan Majors. This character was secretly running the Time Variance Authority, or TVA–the organization that maintained a stable timeline and prevented the multiverse from getting out of control. He gave Loki and Sylvie a choice: They could kill him, freeing the timeline and allowing the multiverse to take root and allowing people to find a better solution for keeping time stable, or they could let things continue as they were.
But if they kill him, He Who Remains warned, worse alternate versions of himself would fight each other across the multiverse for control of everything, possibly bringing an end to all reality. Sylvie, tired of his eternal manipulations, put him out of his misery, opening up the multiverse and leaving Loki to see if he can salvage things at the TVA.
Except the TVA was already different. No one, including Owen Wilson’s Mr. Mobius, remembered Loki or anything that he and Sylvie had done. And there was now a big statue of Jonathan Majors where the statues of the Time-Keepers used to be.
What we knew then was that Kang the Conqueror was now in play in the MCU multiverse. That was the purpose of this entire story: to set Kang loose and usher in the next big MCU story arc. So we knew there was a new status quo. All of reality had changed right under everybody’s feet. But we didn’t know how exactly it had changed.
But after watching Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, we’ve got enough info to work it out just in time for Loki Season 2 this summer.
In the film, we learn that Kang has a long history in the Quantum Realm. So long, in fact, that Janet Van Dyne’s entire time in the Quantum Realm revolved around him: first when she helped him repair his multiverse ship, and then when she helped the other residents of the Quantum Realm fight against him. She lost that war and returned to the wild parts of the Quantum Realm away from the city, and that’s where Ant-Man and friends found her in the last movie.
That Kang from the Quantum Realm is just one of many Kangs, and he had been intentionally exiled there because the other Kangs didn’t like what he was up to. But this Kang isn’t exactly a good guy, and our heroes end up having to fight and kill him.
In the mid-credits scene, we learn that the other Kangs are pretty upset about one of them being killed. Not that they cared about him specifically, but rather because whoever managed to kill him probably represents a major threat to the rest of them. And so the main Kang of this scene, the Fantastic Four villain Rama-Tut, assembles the entire Council of Kangs–that’s all the Kangs who are on good terms–to talk it out.
For a full, detailed explanation of Kang, you’ll want to read this explainer post that gets all the way into the weeds. For the short version, we should look at Kang in contrast with Loki and Sylvie. Loki and Sylvie are variants of each other–different versions of the same character born from different universes. But the different Kangs are instead one person who has lived for an eternity at different points in time, who have diverged because Kang himself interfered in his own past and future.
Think of it like this. Loki and Sylvie are products of the multiverse–but Kang created one by interacting with his past and future selves.
What Kang Is doing with The TVA in Loki Season 2
Given what happened in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, it’s not too difficult to guess what the TVA will be tasked with under Kang’s rule: Instead of hunting and pruning all rogue variants, they’ll be hunting Kangs who aren’t with the program. There are several of them from the comics, including some who are actually good guys.
In the post-credits scene we see Loki and Mr. Mobius tracking Victor Timely, a prominent Kang from the comics who lives in Wisconsin during the late 19th and early 20th Century who introduces advanced technology to the past that ends up being used by heroes, including the Fantastic Four, many decades later. That certainly could be something the Council of Kangs would want to nip in the bud, especially with the Fantastic Four being poised to make a big splash during the battle against Kang.
Hopefully, this story will start being explored elsewhere in the MCU. Even though Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is just two years away, Marvel has done barely any work to set up his arc. Even now I’m just making educated guesses about Loki Season 2, because Quantumania actually did not make any direct or indirect references to the events of Loki Season 1–it showed the result of those events, but not how we got here from there.
Fingers crossed we get some firm answers this year–Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, the Secret Invasion mini-series and Loki Season 2 are all pretty good candidates for more Kang details.
GameSpot has all the Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania coverage that any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe could need. We’ve got a spoiler-free review, a breakdown of the post-credits scenes and what they mean for the Fantastic Four’s future in the MCU, and an explainer that tells you everything you need to know the paradoxical Kang the Conqueror, who you’re about to see a whole lot more of in the next several years.