The Era Of Villains In The MCU Has Finally Begun: Marvel has a problem with villains, which is no secret. The enemies in the first four phases were mostly forgettable clones of the heroes they encountered in battle.
Characters like The Mandarin, Ronan, Taskmaster, and Red Skull didn’t measure up to their comic book equivalents, while Yellowjacket, Iron Monger, Abomination, and Yellowjacket were essentially villainous copies of the heroes they battled.
The MCU’s only truly memorable villains, over dozens of movies, are Loki, Killmonger, Zemo, Hela, Namor, and, of course, Thanos. The MCU is at a crossroads because so many of its fundamental heroes are leaving: either it chooses to continue introducing incredibly niche heroes in an effort to stay on the course that has thus far been successful, or it begins giving its villains the much-needed attention they deserve.
The latter looks to be the case based on the latest Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania trailer. The MCU’s next Big Bad, Kang the Conqueror, who was hinted at in Loki’s closing moments, will be introduced in the Ant-Man threequel to kick off Phase 5 of the MCU.
The MCU is utilizing the following Ant-Man film to introduce Kang’s multi-year character arc. Kang will be the adversary of the following two Avengers films, The Kang Dynasty in 2025 and Secret Wars in 2026.
Compared to how it handled Thanos, this strategy is very different. Thanos does not appear in the movies prior to Avengers: Infinity War, despite the Infinity Stones playing a significant role in those movies.
Three post-credit scenes featured him briefly, but it wasn’t until Infinity War that he started to take on more of a personality. He was a shadowy threat that we were aware of, but we didn’t fully understand his identity or motivation until the major struggle had started.
In Kang’s situation, that won’t be the case. Quantumania’s advertising makes it quite obvious that this film’s main purpose is to introduce the antagonist, outline his objectives, and present the Earth’s heroes with a real threat to begin organizing against.
Even if he doesn’t appear again until Avengers 5, which doesn’t seem likely, Kang will have had more on-screen time to mature than any other Marvel villain before him. The MCU is, at last, realizing that villains need to be more than just a foil for the heroes; they need to be fully realized, people. Additionally, those characters require time to grow.
Even so, Kang is not the only bad guy in Quatumania. MODOK, who will also be in the movie but will be played by Darren Cross rather than George Tarleton, is a well-liked antagonist that few people anticipated would ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to the new video. MODOK’s involvement is yet another sign that the MCU is beginning to take antagonists seriously, though it’s unclear how much of a part MODOK will play.
Phase 5 ushers in the MCU’s villain era, and Kang’s journey will act as a model for even more powerful antagonists in the future. Doctor Doom, a villain with seemingly limitless potential if given the time to mature, will make his MCU debut in 2025’s Fantastic Four.
Doom is a serious contender to succeed Kang as the MCU’s Big Bad, but we may also anticipate seeing the MCU’s interpretations of Magneto, Galactus, Apocalypse, and Mephisto, as well as the comebacks of Kingpin, Namor, and possibly Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. It’s also improbable that Scarlet Witch, who was previously seen as a hero, has seen her last.
The MCU ought to use such narratives to as much as possible develop its villains, rather than concentrating on creating new teams like The Thunderbolts and the Young Avengers. The fact that Quantumania appears to be doing that alone should excite every Marvel fan about the series’ future.