Now playing in theaters, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is not only the third in a trilogy of Ant-Man movies from director Peyton Reed but it also officially kicks off Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang formally introduces Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror and the film franchise’s new big bad after he first made a surprise appearance in the season 1 finale of Loki.
Kang’s presence is expected to be a major presence in the remaining projects of both Phase Five and Phase Six, with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty presumably being one of the final chapters in that saga. And so, it makes sense that the latest Ant-Man sequel features two end credit scenes dedicated to the Nexus Being and his many, many variants.
“Jonathan Majors, I think, just leapt off the screen as Kang the Conqueror. And it really felt like, ‘OK, this is pointing the way toward, you know, a whole new phase for Marvel,'” Reed said. While speaking with ET’s Ash Crossan, the director broke down the two moments that close out the film.
Warning: Spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
As stated above, there are two end credits scenes featured in the latest MCU film — the first being a shot of three superior Kang variants gathering to discuss the course of things moving forward in the MCU as they gather all the other known variants for the ultimate Kang convention. But the meeting doesn’t look to be a happy one, with all the Kangs looking equally thirsty for some sort of world — or universal — domination while the three express their growing concern over the fact that more and more people are learning about the multiverse.
“We knew we wanted to sort of just give a tiny taste of the potential of what some of these Kang variants are and brief nods to [Pharaoh] Rama-Tut, [Scarlet] Centurion, Immortus,” Reed said, referring to the three notable versions of He Who Remains. But he stops short of calling them the “prime” versions of these characters. “Maybe they’re variants of those versions,” he teased.
More specifically, Rama-Tut is “just this sort of ancient Egyptian version in the comics,” Reed said. “But then we sort of bent [him] up a little bit and made him this very strange sort of bionic variant of Rama-Tut.”
“We wanted to give three distinct feelings and set up the idea of this triumvirate inside this sort of star chamber and now that Kang the Conqueror has met the fate he meets at the end of this movie, ‘What does it mean for the larger sort of political body of Kangs, right?'” the director continued. “What happens in the sort of Godfather type thing of this power struggle of ‘Well, why was he, you know, in the movie?’ We revealed that he was exiled into the quantum realm and why and who did it. But [we] sort of starting to get into sort of the political aspect of how the Kangs relate to each other, which I think holds really strong potential for Phase Five.”
As for which variants were chosen to be featured in the scene, Reed said that came from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania screenwriter Jeff Loveness, who is penning Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. “[He] is starting to write or is now well into writing Kang Dynasty,” the director shared. “What we wanted was to sort of tease the audience.”
And for the director, the moment was also about letting Majors “run and have some fun” with playing different versions of Kang. “But always my idea was let’s end this thing with that classic panel of the Council of Kangs and do our version of that with all these different Jonathans,” he continued.
When it came to filming the scene, however, “it’s a technical nightmare,” Reed revealed. “It only works if you have actors like Paul and Jonathan who can really, you know, get specific with each of those individual characters and their responses. And so, that was fun.”
The second end credit scene, meanwhile, “is actually a cut-down version of a scene from season 2 of Loki,” Reed said of “the final tag.”
In the scene, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) are seen watching Kang give a presentation onstage, in what appears to be the early or mid 1800s. However, Loki and Mobius’ reaction upon discovering Kang is not a happy one — possibly hinting at the trouble that followed after Sylvia (Sophia Di Martino) killed Kang in the season 1 finale and sent Loki back to an alternate timeline of the Time Variance Authority.
“So, you know, that’s obviously Victor Timely,” Reed said, referring to the variant who traveled back in time in order to start his conquest from the beginning of the modern age. “I was whisked by the set when they were shooting that and I just loved his Frederick Douglass hair and his whole sort of period, the intonation of his voice and everything.”
He added, “It really was to sort of tease the audience with the idea of like, ‘In Phase Five, you’re going to meet a lot of different variants.'”
Not only that, but it ties everything back together. “As the MCU has been steering towards these multiversal stories… it made sense to sort of adapt [Kang] for that. And it worked with what was going to go on in Loki, so very early on as they were developing Loki and we were developing this movie, it just made sense,” Reed noted.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now in theaters.
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