Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally gets under way with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania this weekend – and perhaps the most significant aspect of the new movie is the introduction of a major new villain: Kang the Conqueror.


A variant of Kang – named He Who Remains – previously made a vital appearance in the Loki season 1 finale, and now Jonathan Majors is back to play a particularly fearsome version of the character who finds himself trapped in the Quantum Realm.

Kang will be playing a huge role in the future of the franchise leading up to upcoming Avengers films The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars (set for release in 2025 and 2026 respectively), and Quantumania director Peyton Reed has teased that the character "changes everything" in the MCU.

"It was sort of determined midway through [production] that we were going to be the beginning of Phase Five," he explained during an exclusive interview with "And I always ask [Kevin] Feige, like, what does the phase actually mean?

"But I think for us, it really meant... it was Kang, right? The thing that sets him apart as an antagonist is there is Kang the Conqueror, who is featured in Quantumania. But he's a Nexus Being – there are variants of Kang.

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"And what happens if you introduce a villain who's fighting our heroes, but he is separately at war with all the different versions of himself? And what does that mean for the ongoing Marvel Universe?

"Well, it changes everything that's happening," he added. "And at the same time, the Avengers, you know, in Doctor Strange and Spider-Man and certainly in Loki, they're becoming aware of the existence of the multiverse.

"And there might be these sort of incursions into the multiverse, and what does that mean for the Kangs? So it's setting up a lot of that stuff."

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Reed added that despite these grander aspects of the plot, he wanted to ensure that the film was still in line with the previous two entries in the Ant-Man trilogy – and that plenty of time was given to the storylines concerning Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne and other returning characters in the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania cast.

"Really, it's still telling the story of this family," he said. "And sort of telling this full story, but the Kang story – it's a little bit of a prelude to that whole world."

Meanwhile, Michael Douglas, who is reprising his role as Hank Pym from the previous two Ant-Man films, is also keen to see what's in store for Kang in the future.

"He is going to be a crucial part of the Marvel Universe coming up," he said. "His ability to go back to the past and to the future, all the times."

Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel Studios

And although he didn't share too many scenes with Majors in the film, Douglas "wished him well" for the huge role he was going on to play.

"Most of my knowledge was through Paul [Rudd], who was limping home every night after some of those fights sequences," he said. "But I've met him a couple of times, [he's] a lovely, lovely actor.

"And he's gonna be up to his ears in the Marvel world for some time to come. I didn't realise it, when they say Phase Five, this is really following the arc of the Marvel Comics, and this is what happened to them in that basically – Kang became the villain that was dealt with in all of the different episodes."

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is released in UK cinemas on Friday 17th February. Watch the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plussign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year

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