Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Is Our Glorious Introduction to Phase Five
Another new year gets us a new phase for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Simply put, phase four wasn't exactly the franchise's best period. Back in July 2022, it was revealed that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would end this particular frame (thank god). We had a messier timeline, contrived plots that became too old too soon, meh fight scenes, and some VFX that left much to be desired (don't get us started on Thor: Love & Thunder). Marvel Studios and Disney know it, too.
To be fair, the MCU is effectively still reeling from the loss of its bigger stars, as well. We can, at the very least rejoice in the fact that phase five is off to a good start, so it seems. Phase five will run from 2023 to mid-2024, most likely, and at the forefront, we're seeing it's newest (or the) banner supervillain. Recently, Marvel Studios released the trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, where we finally get properly acquainted with a key villain in the franchise's arsenal that has yet to fully be explored.
Kang the Conqueror, who is played by Jonathan Majors goes head to head with Scott Lang in this clip. The trailer itself begins with Kang's voice speaking to Ant-Man himself. "You're an interesting man, Scott Lang. You are an Avenger, you have a daughter, but you've lost a lot of time... like me," he says. "We could help each other with that."
The trailer culminates in this nice climactic fight scene between the two. We also see Kang overpower Ant-Man in the end. Reports are consistent with the trailer, as well: we can now also confirm the appearance of Bill Murray, who will be playing Lord Krylar, and fan favorite MODOK, in the film.
In the past, Majors had taken on the role of He Who Remains, an alternative version of Kang, in the Loki series. Apart from some multiversal events to expect, all we can say that phase five's real power lies not in its heroes, but in its villains.
What Makes Kang the Conqueror So Important?
Ant-Man 3 looks to be an introduction to this guy, who is his own complex discussion given all the crazy timelines he's lived through. In the Marvel Comics, Kang the Conqueror had always been the Avengers' biggest rival. He first appeared in Marvel’s Fantastic Four. This meant that the character was under the franchise's film rights and couldn't be used by Marvel Studios until it was bought out. Well, Disney would wound up purchasing Fox for Marvel to use him in the storyline.
We can already see how Kang can be utilized by the MCU in the trailer. By way of Quantumania, we should expect to see a glimpse of the Kingdom of Chronopolis, Kang's home. In Loki, He Who Remains was an Immortus-type version of Kang. Meanwhile, in Ant-Man 3, we might see what we assume as "Prime Kang" or some other more gruesome version of the supervillain. He rules over space and time, after all.
What We Know So Far About Other Phase Five Villains
Fans speculate that Marvel is going to be toying around with this multiverse thing for phase five and six. Phase five's current lineup looks like this: Ant-Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, Secret Invasion, and Ironheart. With it, we might just see the appearances of villains like The Leader, Gravik, Adam Warlock, and maybe even The High Evolutionary.
Kang the Conqueror looks to be positioned as the next Thanos. Although there has been a little bit of chatter about the potential coming of The Beyonder. He's a more versatile villain to write about, one may argue. The Beyonder is a multiversal villain who happens to be a cosmic entity, just like the Celestials. He's an entire reality of his own, and is the key to the storyline that should eventually lead to the fabled Secret Wars.
We are in some pretty exciting times.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will debut in theaters this February 17, 2023.