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Kang Theory Gives A Tragic Reason Why The MCU’s Fantastic Four Are Debuting So Late

Kang the Conqueror’s backstory in Marvel Comics could provide Marvel Studios with the perfect explanation for the MCU’s Fantastic Four’s late debut.

Marvel’s First Family’s late debut in Fantastic Four can be explained in the world of the MCU thanks to one major Kang the Conqueror theory. After the Avengers defeated the Mad Titan Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios used Loki season 1 on Disney+ to introduce the Multiverse Saga’s new overarching villain. Jonathan Majors’ debut as He Who Remains in Loki season 1’s finale began to tease the threat posed by his more villainous variants, including Kang the Conqueror. Since then, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Loki season 2 have expanded on Kang the Conqueror’s story, but his origins in the MCU have yet to be fully explored.

Kang the Conqueror was introduced into Marvel Comics in 1964’s The Avengers #8, depicted as an adversary to the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. As a time traveler from the distant future, Kang’s adventures led to the emergence of many different versions of the villain to appear throughout history, including the likes of Immortus, the Scarlet Centurion, the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Rama-Tut, businessman Mister Gryphon, and Victor Timely, who debuted in Loki season 2. Many of these variants appeared in the MCU following He Who Remains’ death in Loki season 1, and Phase 6’s Fantastic Four reboot may take the next major step in revealing more about his backstory.

Kang The Conqueror & Reed Richards Share A Familial Connection In Marvel Comics

Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards in Marvel Comics

While several previous MCU projects have developed Kang the Conqueror and his variants, Fantastic Four, which is expected to release on May 2, 2025, could be key in expanding on his origins. It’s unclear whether Marvel Studios will be keeping Kang the Conqueror’s backstory the same as his Marvel Comics roots, but in the comic source material, a familial connection between Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four, was established. Kang’s human name is Nathaniel Richards in Marvel Comics, with his namesake being his distant descendant and fellow time traveler Nathaniel Richards, Reed Richards’ own father.

This familial relationship between the MCU’s Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards could be introduced in Phase 6’s Fantastic Four, better connecting Marvel’s First Family to the overarching storyline of the Multiverse Saga. In Marvel Comics, the pair’s twisted relationship brought them to odds several times, with Kang rhe Conqueror becoming the Fantastic Four’s archenemy, as the team thwarted his nefarious plans several times over the years. The establishment of this connection between Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards in the MCU would provide the perfect in-universe explanation for why the Fantastic Four haven’t yet had their much-anticipated debut.

He Who Remains May Have Pruned All Of Nathaniel Richards’ Timelines In The MCU

Jonathan Majors' He Who Remains from Loki season 1

Back in 2021’s Loki season 2, He Who Remains revealed the details of an epic Multiversal War to Loki and Sylvie, fought between his infinite variants. The end of this war led to the isolation of the Sacred Timeline, and the founding of the Time Variance Authority, which was established with the goal of erasing branching timelines that would eventually lead to the emergence of new variants of Kang the Conqueror. It’s this detail that could hint at the perfect in-universe reason for why the Fantastic Four are debuting so late in the MCU, though this will perhaps be better explained when Fantastic Four finally hits theaters in 2025.

As pointed out by Reddit user ScoobyDeezy, He Who Remains likely would have had the TVA prune any branched realities that included Nathaniel Richards, as his existence would have eventually led to Kang the Conqueror being born centuries later. If the TVA pruned branches inhabited by variants of Nathaniel Richards, Reed Richards wouldn’t have been able to be born either, which means that the MCU’s Sacred Timeline would have never included the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios establishing a relation between Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards explains He Who Remains’ actions, and provides the perfect reason for the Fantastic Four’s Phase 6 debut.

Why The Fantastic Four Appearing Soon Finally Makes Sense

John Krasinski's Reed Richards from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Of course, the Fantastic Four’s debut in the MCU wasn’t possible until Disney acquired properties from 20th Century Fox in 2019, and push-backs during the COVID-19 pandemic and production issues landed Fantastic Four with a 2025 release date. While the explanation for the Fantastic Four coming to the MCU so far into the franchise makes sense in the real world, Marvel Studios needs to establish a clear in-universe reason for why they haven’t yet made their first appearance. This can be explored in Loki season 2 and Fantastic Four, as He Who Remains’ pruning of any timelines inhabited by Nathaniel Richards would have avoided the birth of Reed Richards.

If Reed Richards was never born on the Sacred Timeline, the Fantastic Four could have never been formed, which explains their absence until now. After He Who Remains’ death in Loki season 1, the Sacred Timeline’s branching timelines would have allowed Nathaniel Richards, Reed Richards, and Kang the Conqueror’s variants to emerge, which has already been seen in previous MCU projects, such as with John Krasinski’s appearance as Earth-838’s Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This suggests that the MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot may be taking place on a branched timeline, before the team make their way to the MCU’s primary continuity.

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