Marvel has revealed its Phase 5 and 6 plans, including for Avengers 5 and 6, and it is now confirmed who the MCU’s next Thanos will be.
It took almost three years, but Marvel finally confirmed who the MCU‘s next Thanos is. After the end of the Infinity Saga, which concluded with the two-part finale Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the MCU found itself with the difficult mission of following up what appeared to be the saga’s peak. Obviously, there were still several Marvel characters and sagas from which Marvel Studios could choose, but the MCU Phase 4’s future direction remained ambiguous in terms of its selection of adapted materials and the identity of its next massive threat.
The MCU’s multiverse has been a central element throughout several Marvel Phase 4 movies and shows, which suggested that Marvel’s next Endgame would be something in the vein of Secret Wars. However, the MCU also introduced Kang, or at least a variant of him, very early in Phase 4 through the Loki series. In the comics, Kang has more to do with time travel than with the multiverse, which raised the question of who or what exactly the next big threat would be. There were also setups for a possible Young Avengers project, as well as steps made toward a now-confirmed Thunderbolts movie.
After expanding the universe with the MCU Phase 4 movies and shows, Marvel confirmed that Kang is the MCU’s next Thanos and that he’ll be the main villain in both Ant-Man and Wasp: Quantumaniathe first movie in the MCU Phase 5, and Avengers 5which is now officially titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. No other Marvel character has been the main villain in two movies from two different phases, showing how pivotal Kang’s role in the MCU will be. Jonathan Majors, who plays Kang in the MCU, also played the Kang variant He Who Remains in Loki, and an argument can be made that he was also the show’s villain. How Kang’s time-travel comic-book origins will connect to the MCU’s multiverse storyline, especially in a movie leading up to Avengers: Secret Wars, remains a mystery. Still, it is now apparent that Kang is the next Avengers Big Bad.
Why The MCU Officially Made Kang Their Next Thanos
The MCU Phase 4 has been received with a certain level of criticism regarding the apparent lack of a literal and figurative “endgame,” but the announced Kang focus should tie up these seemingly loose threads. With the MCU’s Phase 5 and 6 slates now officially announced — including two back-to-back Avengers movies — it’s clear that there was a bigger plan all along. Not only that, but Phases 4, 5, and 6 are now officially titled Marvel’s “Multiverse Saga” (similar to the naming of Phases 1, 2, and 3 as the “Infinity Saga”), which finally confirms their long-term narrative through-line. The only remaining announcement was the identity of the Multiverse Saga’s central antagonist, and while Kang has more comic-book ties with time travel, the MCU has already established the Marvel villain as an extraordinarily powerful multiverse-linked character who’ll serve as an excellent foil for the many heroes now involved in the MCU Phase 4.
Kang is very different than Thanos, but he is also one of the most powerful, pragmatic, and intelligent characters in the Marvel universe(s). Kang has opposed the Avengers several times, and there was really no better choice for the MCU’s next Thanos than Kang. That said, the Secret Wars comic-book arc is a Doctor Doom story, so it will be interesting to see if the classic Fantastic Four villain will also be a Multiverse Saga villain or if his role in the story will be supplanted by Kang in the planned Secret Wars adaptation. If there’s one thing known about Doom, it’s that he doesn’t settle for a second fiddle.
There was no shortage of options as to where the MCU could go after the Infinity Saga. A multiverse-related adventure with Kang The Conqueror as the main villain is a truly inspired decision, and it certainly sets up some significant differences between the two 2025 Avengers movies and the Infinity War/Endgame two-parter. Kang’s next MCU appearance, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, should explain more about how the time and multiverse conqueror will become a threat to the Avengers. But if his mastery of time allows for more gut-wrenching, hopeless villain moments like Vision’s cruel double-death at Thanos’ hands, his omnipresence should add much-needed stakes to Phase 4’s broader narrative
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