The writer of Doctor Strange 2: The Curse of Loki and the Multiverse of Madness, Michael Waldron, has provided an explanation for the absence of Kang the Conqueror. In the season 1 finale of Loki, Jonathan Majors made his MCU debut as a Kang Variant. Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams all returned to reprise their roles in the Doctor Strange sequel.
“For all time. Always.” was Loki’s season 1 finale. In his encounter with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie, Majors’ He Who Remains was revealed to be the man behind the Time Variance Authority. A powerful time-travelling dictator named Kang revealed himself to be a Variant of He Who Remains, who said his continued presence avoided other Variants from seizing power and causing an interstellar war. Sylvie stabbed him despite his warnings, causing the sacred timeline to split into multiple universes. Loki’s emotional journey has been teased, but the writer explained why the next multiverse epic journey in the latest Doctor Strange sequel didn’t feature any mention of Major’s villain in the following storyline.
Wanda Maximoff will be the Scarlet Witch’s antagonist in the film, rather than incorporating references to other villains like Kang, as Waldron revealed on the Hero Nation podcast by Deadline. They wanted to use Wanda as much as possible as an antagonist because they didn’t want to waste the opportunity. In addition, Waldron feared that tying Kang into the Multiverse of Madness’s narrative would result in the film becoming overcrowded with characters in both major roles and minor appearances. See the rest of Waldron’s remarks after the break.
“To me it felt like we had the biggest, best bullet already, in Wanda. That when working with Sam, when it was like we should really make the decisions to make Wanda the antagonist of this film. It was exciting and part of that was the feeling of ‘geez, we can’t let another movie go have that fun.’ It because she is going to be so great.
And I think that if you had introduced Kang, as great as Jonathan Majors is, and as great as he is going to be playing that character, you would have risked the movie just getting maybe over-stuffed.”
The He Who Remains Variant of Kang wasn’t originally planned to appear in Loki and was actually a last-minute addition to the series. Waldron previously revealed in an interview that the writer recommended that He Who Remains should be a Variant of Kang, recognizing that the villain was set to make his full debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as he noticed that the sequence would lean more extensively into the multiversal narrative than time travel. Waldron received full support from Marvel Studios for reworking Loki’s story to include Kang’s introduction.
Marvel Comics’ most powerful villain, Kang’s full debut is eagerly anticipated because his story has the potential to have a major impact on the MCU’s current narrative. Wanda’s quest, America Chavez, multiple Steven Stranges, and the introduction of the Marvel Illuminati team make it understandable why Waldron thought Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had an overstuffed cast. As a result, even though Kang didn’t appear in the sequel, the expectation for where he might appear next grows.