How Jonathan Majors' Path To Avengers: Kang Dynasty Reflects X-Men's Magneto

The following article contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" and "Loki."

One thing those who have seen "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" can agree on; Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors, is one of the best parts. Majors first debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Disney+ series "Loki," only he wasn't playing this version of Kang. He played He Who Remains, a variant of Kang who resides at the end of time. He's alone and regretful, knowing that his other variants started a multiversal war. Before he is killed by Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), a Loki (Tom Hiddleston) variant, he warns them that if they think he's bad, wait until they meet his variants. 

The "Quantumania" version of the Phase 5 and 6 overarching villain isn't quite so kind. He gets stranded in the Quantum Realm, befriending Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and manipulating her to help him fix his ship. She does ... until she finds out about his nefarious plans for the multiverse. After she stops him from leaving, he creates armies and destroys the lives of the other residents and refugees of the realm. He's a very bad guy. 

We know from the mid-and end-credits scenes that other versions of Kang (including Victor Timely, Rama-Tut, Immortus, what appears to be Scarlet Centurion, and a Skrull version) are going to be an issue, especially considering how many of them there are

"Quantumania" writer Jeff Loveness ("Rick and Morty") recently spoke to Variety about the complexity of Kang and how his journey reflects another all-time great villain: Magneto from the X-Men comics.

'I'm trying to make him more vulnerable than Thanos'

Loveness told the publication that comics were important to him, saying that they "basically taught [him] how to read" and that they were "pretty integral to my morality growing up." He talked about what a great start the MCU has for Kang in Jonathan Majors, who he says is totally on board and part of the process of creating "new and engaging forms" of Kang. He called the upcoming storylines for Kang "a revenge story and a bit of a self-discovery story." 

When you have a villain this powerful, you have to give him things that can break him down. Loveness compared him to Magneto, who he said is his favorite villain out there. He explained: 

"I'm trying to make him more vulnerable than Thanos, more human than Thanos ... He's such a compelling villain because you just bleed for this guy and you sympathize with him so much. So I think we really have an opportunity [with Kang] to have a passionate, vulnerable villain on a crusade against himself, and the Avengers are in the way. That's kind of the fun thing about Kang in the comics. The Avengers are more [than] just a thorn in his side. He's basically trying to handle his own s***, but it's always like, Thor kind of gets in his way. He's more about the bigger game. He represents a fun existential challenge to even the idea of superheroes — and if they're necessary or not."

If you're going to model a new version(s) of a villain on a great character, Magneto is certainly a great one to choose. He was most recently played in the X-Men films by Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender.

A basis for their madness

If you need a refresher, Magneto's real name is Erik Lehnsherr (he has others in the comics). He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963. Magneto is a mutant who can create and control magnetic fields. He's a Holocaust survivor with a very different take on the world and the place of mutants in it than his X-Men counterpart Charles Xavier aka Professor X (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the films). He wants to protect mutants from being othered in the same way the Nazis did to Jewish people and so many other groups in WWII. He and Charles have a deep friendship, and a deep animosity, depending on when you look at them. He's a powerful man with powerful feelings, and he really does believe he's doing the right thing for the world most of the time.

We'll have to wait and see how the influence Loveness ascribes to this character affects the different versions of Kang. To me, that sounds more like Thanos (Josh Brolin), who thought that dusting half of the galaxy would be a fair way to save those who are left from overcrowding, starvation, and other cruelties of existence. Though Kang will likely factor into a number of TV shows and films before the end, Loveness will definitely be revisiting him. He's writing 2025's "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty"

"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is in theaters now.