Marvel announced a lot of stuff at Disney’s big 2020 investors conference. There was a slew of new Disney+ original series, including Secret InvasionIronheartArmor Wars, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. There was the first Fantastic Four movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was the announcement that Chadwick Boseman’s role in Black Panther II wouldn’t be recast, and the news that Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth were joining the cast of She-Hulk. 

There were so many announcements, in fact, that some of the news will inevitably fall through the cracks. And amidst all that stuff was maybe the biggest news of all, even if it won’t get as much attention as the Chadwick Boseman news or the announcement of the MCU Fantastic Four. And that was the confirmation that the villain of the third Ant-Man movie — which is officially titled Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — will be Kang, played by Lovecraft Country’s Jonathan Majors.

The reason that’s a big deal is not necessarily that tidbit of news in and of itself; it’s what it suggests about the future of the MCU. Kang is not the kind of villain that appears in the third Ant-Man movie and then disappears back into obscurity. In Marvel Comics, Kang is probably the Avengers’ most persistent and powerful foe after Thanos, Ultron, and Loki. And Thanos, Ultron, and Loki have already gotten their own Avengers films. In other words, Kang’s way too important a character to introduce in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania unless it’s going to lead to many more appearances, the same way Thanos’ brief roles in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy set up his storyline in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. 

Obviously, Marvel hasn’t announced any of this; they haven’t even officially announced a fifth Avengers movie. But I would be genuinely shocked if whatever Kang is up to in Quantumania — and the title suggests it will explore the Quantum Realm and time travel, which is Kang’s particular obsession — didn’t directly lead to more appearances, up to and including his replacing Thanos as the MCU’s biggest threat for Phase Four and maybe beyond.

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