“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest installment, but it also gave fans its first in-depth look into the franchise’s newest big baddie following Thanos: Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors, and the dangers he brings to the table.

Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’: First reactions
Prepare to sit through 2 ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ end-credits scenes

Though Marvel has now established its next iconic villain in its cinematic universe, Kang did not make much noise in terms of disturbing the status quo, or in other words, killing any of the main characters. The film’s writer, David Loveness, acknowledged that killing one or more main characters was considered while writing the movie during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, but explained why they decided against it.

“We certainly gamed out a ton of scenarios, but it just felt a little obvious,” Loveness said. “It’s up for debate, but it just felt like we’d be copying the Thanos approach where he comes in pretty heavy and wipes the floor with everybody. I certainly see the critiques and all that, but this is a multistep story that we’re telling.”

In the past, Marvel has been accused of being repetitive by critics, so it makes sense that the creators want to stay away from repeating themselves by having Kang behave in a similar vein to Thanos.

However, Marvel often avoids inflicting anything of consequence to its characters during their non-“Avengers” installments, such as killing off important characters. But doing would let audiences know that the villain means business and that there’s an urgency to stop them.

Other superhero movies have done this to show how serious the stakes were. Here are some examples.

‘The Dark Knight’

Anyone who’s watched superhero movies knows all about Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as the Joker. While they may primarily remember Ledger capturing a realistic portrayal of the sadistic criminal, they forget the most pivotal atrocity he ever committed — killing Rachel Dawes.

Dawes was a supporting cast member who wanted to help Gotham City. Killing her off demonstrated that no one was safe from the Joker, and that anything was possible going forward.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

Among all the unexpected twists and turns that came about during the last Tom Holland outing as Spider-Man, arguably the most surprising one was the death of Aunt May, who was caught in the crossfire following Peter Parker’s decision to help all of the villains.

Much like with Dawes, May’s death showed that everyone was in legitimate danger. But more than that, it served as a true test to see how strong Parker’s morals were, as well as the brutal reality that his choices have consequences.

‘X-Men: First Class’

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This one isn’t the exact same case as the previous two, because it was about an empathetic anti-hero turning into a full-fledged villain. That’s exactly what happened when Magneto killed his mentor, Sebastian Shaw. Though it was not surprising, it demonstrated that Erik Lensherr was just as bloodthirsty as his creator, with the only difference being Lensherr’s desire for vengeance.

Since the film was a prequel, what made it more painful was that viewers hoped that perhaps Lensherr was not too far gone at that point, knowing his friendship with Charles Xavier. But it was that exact moment that led to their falling out.

What’s next for Kang?

By all indications, Kang is the next long-term villain for the MCU. Factoring in that “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” had the sharpest decline in ticket sales in MCU history, per CNBC, and that the film has the lowest critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, Marvel should take advantage of his future appearances by demonstrating how strong of a threat he is by killing important characters. Doing so could take the studio a long way in keeping fan interest going.

Majors has not been cast in any future Marvel movies as of now, but since one of the upcoming movies is titled “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” it’s fair to assume that he will be involved in future installments.

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