Loki - TVA Multiverse Screen

When Disney gobbled up Fox (like it gobbled up Marvel and Lucasfilm and will gobble up your soul), the possibility of the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the MCU suddenly became more probable, if not an outright inevitability. Fans were excited about the prospect, and we now know that Marvel Studios has a new Fantastic Four movie in the pipeline. However, the season finale of Loki (now streaming on Disney+) featured a character who made their first-ever appearance in a Fantastic Four comic.

Not counting the mutant speedster Quicksilver — who appeared in both Fox’s X-Men films and Marvel’s Avengers-related movies and TV shows — this is the first official in-canon MCU character to be owned exclusively by Fox before its acquisition by Disney. To talk about who the character is, we’ll need to delve into spoilers for the latest episode of Loki, so proceed at your own risk.

Last Reminder: Spoilers Incoming

Still here?

Good.

Then you know that major baddie Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors, is now a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character made his debut in the season finale of Loki, episode 6, “For All Time. Always.” He’s had several different aliases and identities in the comics and we explored some of those in our breakdown of his bombshell appearance on Loki.

One small correction on that article: as noted by one of our eagle-eyed commenters, Nathaniel Richards was the father, not the grandfather, of Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four. It’s Franklin Richards, Reed’s super-powered son, we were thinking of there as Nathaniel’s grandson.

Confused? Well, that’s comics history for you: even Marvel needs in-house continuity experts to keep track of all their characters with convoluted backstories and branching family trees. Speaking of which …

Kang the Conqueror

Why Did Fox Own Kang?

Kang is an Avengers villain who has played a prominent role in comic book stories like Avengers Forever. Yet he made his first appearance as “King Rama-Tut” way back in 1963 in Fantastic Four #19. It wasn’t until a year later that he adopted the Kang name and started tangoing with the Avengers. Back in 2015, Tech Times noted that he was off-limits to Marvel Studios because, as a movie character, he was owned by Fox.

Fox didn’t just hold the movie rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. It also held the rights to all their ancillary characters, such as Deadpool, who is not technically an X-Man but does inhabit his own meta corner of the X-universe. The Merc with a Mouth recently made an informal debut of sorts in the MCU when he appeared with Korg, Taika Waititi’s rocky Thor: Ragnarok alien, in a promotional ad for the new Ryan Reynolds film, Free Guy.

In comics, there’s a precedent for retroactive continuity, or “retcons,” whereby present tales seek to reframe past ones in a different light. With Loki‘s finale, Deadpool is now joined by Kang, as Marvel Studios goes about absorbing and retconning movies made by other studios like Fox and Sony into a shared multiverse. Marvel may not yet own the exclusive movie rights to every character, but in the minds of fans, they may now get to coexist as alternate-reality extensions of the same continuity.

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