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Quantumania’s post-credits scene gives us Marvel’s next big bad

Quantumania’s two credits scenes, explained.

Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
Courtesy of Marvel
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

This post contains spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania has two credits scenes, and one of them sets the tone for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The other brings us back to a beloved Marvel antihero.

Image reads “spoilers below,” with a triangular sign bearing an exclamation point.

At the end of Quantumania, it sure looks like Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hope Pym a.k.a. The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) saved the day. Together they defeated Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a powerful villain who sees all parallel universes as threats and has the power to eliminate them. Our heroes escaped the quantum realm and reunited with Hope’s dad and original Ant-Man Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Hope’s mom and the original Wasp Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton). And in the movie’s final scene, they’re all sharing a cake for Cassie’s fake birthday party, a gesture Scott says is to make up for the ones he missed during the blip.

It’s all very cute! But cute doesn’t last forever in the MCU.

There are movies that need teasing, villains that need establishing, and a major conflict that needs a spark. And the credits scenes do just that, possibly setting up the MCU for years to come (thanks in large part to Majors, who will most definitely be back in a big, bad way).

Quantumania’s mid-credits scene establishes Kang as the MCU’s big bad

Quantumania’s mid-credits scene, like the entire movie, relies heavily on audiences being familiar with the idea of the multiverse. Essentially: there are multiple parallel timelines happening at once and many versions of us — well, many versions of the characters in the MCU — spread across these timelines. We saw a glimpse of this in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home with variants of Doctor Strange, Wanda Maximoff, and of course, the Spiders-Man.

And the big thing in Quantumania is that Kang the Conqueror, the movie’s big, unstoppable villain, is dangerous because he’s figured out how to manipulate time and can travel through the multiverse.

Kang, as established in the movie, had been exiled to the quantum realm — the vastly unknown subatomic world that exists below ours — because of the cataclysmic threat he presented. You can’t get in unless you shrink to the tiniest size, and you can’t get out unless you have the tech to navigate it. And because time functions differently in the multiverse, it’s possible to get lost there for all eternity.

The characters in Quantumania interact with the quantum realm, depicted as filaments of glowing light.
Oooooh. Aaaaah. So sparkly!
Courtesy of Marvel

In the mid-credits scene, we find out who exiled him: his variants! Different versions of Kang — in the comics they include Immortus, Rama-Tut, Baby Kang, and the Council of Kangs — are having a Kangs-only meeting saying that Ant-Man successfully killed the Kang they sent to the quantum realm. One would think the Kangs would be pleased by this news since they’re the ones who sent him away.

But alas, it’s not that simple.

While the Kangs are indeed happy that the Kang they considered a major threat is now dead, they’re worried about the power that Ant-Man possesses. They don’t like that someone who can kill a Kang is out there in the multiverse with the power to ruin their plans. In order to address this threat, the main Kangs have assembled an army of Kangs and just as the scene cuts to black, they hint that the threats — Ant-Man and his fellow Avengers in the main MCU timeline — will be eliminated.

Given how powerful Kang the Conqueror of the quantum realm was, the scene sets up the Kang variants as the big villains of the MCU. Multiple Kangs descending upon Earth would require multiple Avengers to protect it, which conveniently fits a huge team-up movie like Infinity War or Endgame. But what’s also pertinent here is that while the Kangs may not appear in every movie from here on out, the scene sets up that they’re always observing and looming. Every action the Avengers take and every villain they defeat are ostensibly being tracked and studied by an army of Kangs who want to destroy them.

The end-credits scene teases Loki’s second season

Quantumania’s final end-credits scene is a lot briefer. It opens in what appears to be the 1910s or 1920s on a man named Victor Timely. Timely is played by Jonathan Majors which visually signals that, ding ding ding, this man is also a Kang variant! Timely is up on a stage giving a razzle-dazzle presentation on what appears to be some kind of science experiment.

Then the focus shifts onto the crowd who’s watching, and lo and behold, it’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson). Right before the scene ends, Loki tells Mobius that Timely is the most fearsome and powerful man he’s ever encountered.

Loki’s fear upon seeing Timely traces back what happened in his eponymous Disney+ show. In the finale he encountered a man who calls himself He Who Remains. He Who Remains is, as you may have guessed, played by Majors and is also … a Kang variant! As He, the variant was in charge of making sure a multiversal war doesn’t break out — and in trying to prevent said war, He eliminated stray timelines and created the Time Variance Authority to maintain the “sacred” timeline, a.k.a. the main one that the MCU operates within.

The wrinkle is that last we saw Mobius in the season one Loki finale, Mobius didn’t recognize Loki. Which means that there must have been a lot of stuff that happened to get to the point where Loki and Mobius are now tracking Timely and perhaps criss-crossing through time. The end scene is a tantalizing teaser for Loki’s second season, which will premiere this summer.

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