Even before Destin Cretton’s Avengers 5, Kang is already risking repeating Marvel’s “Thanos was right” problem in Infinity War and Endgame.
Not even before Jonathan Majors can debut the character in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Kang already risks repeating Marvel’s “Thanos was right” problem. The Avengers may have successfully defeated the purple Titan in Avengers: Endgame, but the Infinity Saga villain’s legacy continues to impact the MCU. The idea that “Thanos was right” was born out of the benefits reaped from the snap, with the argument factoring in projects such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and even Eternals. This makes it difficult to fully move on from Thanos, something that may also happen with Kang the Conqueror after Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
Considering how well-received Josh Brolin’s MCU bad guy was, comparisons between Thanos and Kang will be inevitable. Marvel Studios have their work cut out for them as they are pressured to come up with another formidable villain in Kang. Details about Kang’s origins and motivations are tightly under wraps, making it difficult to gauge how he would fare against his predecessor. Although, a new revelation from Majors suggests that Kang may be repeating Marvel’s “Thanos was right” dilemma.
“Kang Was Right” Could End Up Being The New “Thanos Was Right”
The “Thanos was right” concept persisted until the Multiverse Saga, and according to the events of Hawkeye, the public perception of the Titan and his grand plan remains a contentious topic. Marvel Studios made the purple alien morally ambiguous, couple that with Brolin’s brilliant performance and Thanos’ motivations for the Snap, and the villain gained sympathy once his story got out. Majors says that he wants Kang to be somewhat similar to his predecessor in a way that the Conqueror is humanized and empathetic, as well. While this makes sense considering how iconic Thanos has become, it could result in another argument for “Kang was right.”
Admittedly, humanizing Thanos was what made him work so well in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. It’s understandable if Marvel Studios want to use the same approach with Kang. The is no doubt that Majors can deliver a sympathetic performance of the Conqueror the same way Brolin did. However, Marvel Studios need to be more careful in crafting the character in a way that the public doesn’t blur the lines between right and wrong and create a new version of the “Thanos was right” argument as not only does this tarnish the image of the Avengers, but it also makes it difficult for them to re-assemble.
How Marvel Can Make Kang Better Than Thanos
Kang will inevitably be compared to Thanos. This doesn’t mean that the Conqueror should be as morally-ambiguous, strong-willed, and convincing as Thanos was. Instead, the best way to ensure that Kang can be better than Thanos is to properly and fully establish the character. Marvel Studios took a big risk by cramming the Titan’s origin story in an already-packed Avengers: Infinity War. The Russos were able to make it work, but it shouldn’t be repeated. So Kang’s character needs to be developed gradually before Avengers: The Kang Dynasty to ensure that he will be a worthy opponent to the Avengers.