This post contains spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
By the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the Marvel Universe had not one new bad guy to deal with, but many. Not only is there the major bad guy Kang the Conqueror, but also Immortus, Rama-Tut, and a guy who might be the Scarlet Centurion. And then there is the army of Kang variants who arrive. But eagle-eyed viewers noticed that the Kangs’ mode of transportation may have pointed to the coming of another, even more powerful villain: Doctor Victor Von Doom.
Among others, TikTok user VisualFury noted out that when the Kangs arrive in the post-credit scene of the movie, they do so in the same way that Reed Richards joined the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. A glowing box appears and separates, allowing a person to transport into the arena.
As previously discussed here at Den of Geek, that mode of transportation isn’t just a Reed Richards trick. It’s the Time Platform created by Doctor Doom, as first seen in Fantastic Four #5 (1962). With the Time Platform, Doom has access to all of history (and by extension, reality) allowing him to take whatever he sees fit. Multiverse of Madness doesn’t give us any idea how Reed Richards got the platform from Doom of Earth 838, but just its presence means that Doom is out there, somewhere.
Anyone who follows superhero movies knows that Quantumania director Payton Reed loves the Fantastic Four. Shortly after the success of his wonderful 2003 Rock Hudson/Doris Day homage Down With Love, Reed wrote a Fantastic Four script set in the 60s, one that reportedly captured the Kennedy-era optimism and nuclear age enthusiasm of the original Jack Kirby and Stan Lee comics. Ultimately, of course, 20th Century Fox and Avi Arad, who had the Fantastic Four film rights at the time, went with director Tim Story and a more sitcom approach to Marvel’s first family, to mixed success.
Speaking about Quantumania, Reed has reaffirmed his FF inspirations, drawing comparisons between the Quantum Realm and the Negative Zone, the unexplored space where Reed Richards and co. encounter Blastarr, Annuhlius, and others. And certainly, the portrayal of the Quantum Realm in Quantumania most clearly resembles the Negative Zone, with its cultures and conquerors.
From that perspective, the Kangs might be using Time Platforms as an insider wink, another opportunity for Peyton Reed to integrate his FF love into the movies he actually gets to make. Or it might be a foreshadowing of the actual power possessed by Kang and his Variants. After all, we know that Kang killed a lot of Avengers, including the one with the hammer. Perhaps he killed Doctor Doom in some reality and stole his tech.
But the Time Platform might be pointing to another connection between Doom and the Conqueror, one with an important comics antecedent. In the comics, Kang is Nathanial Richards, a descendant of Reed Richards’s time-traveling father by the same name. But in some of Kang’s earliest appearances, he claims that his descendent is not Papa Richards, but Doctor Doom. In several of Kang and Rama-Tut’s first adventures, the villain encounters Doom and assumes a connection, even if, as seen in the original Secret Wars series, the two come to blows. Hey, the guy fights versions of himself all the time; why wouldn’t he fight his ancestor?
However, writer/artist John Byrne eventually clarified Kang’s parentage in Fantastic Four #273 (1984), firmly establishing Nathanial Richards as the Conqueror’s real forerunner, not Doctor Doom. Since then, most have followed Byrne’s lead, discarding the Kang/Doom connection.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the movies need to follow suit. The MCU may have claimed its designation was 616, but really, the movie and comic words have different storylines and relationships. So it’s entirely possible that Kevin Feige and crew are leaving the door open for a Kang/Doom relationship, or that they have different plans for Reed Richards without having to connect actor Jonathan Majors to Mr. Fantastic’s daddy.
Frankly, I don’t care which way they go. I just want them to give us Doctor Doom as soon as possible.