While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features a slew of new faces throughout the MCU’s Multiverse, the time-traveling despot Kang the Conqueror is nowhere to be found. As one of Kang’s variants was essentially responsible for explaining the concept of the Multiverse within the MCU, it was largely assumed that he would make an appearance in Sam Raimi’s cameo-filled Doctor Strange 2. However, there’s a good reason why Kang was likely ignored in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness despite being set up as a major multiversal villain.
The Multiverse was primarily introduced in Marvel‘s Disney+ Loki series, having been contained and managed by He Who Remains (a variant of Kang played by Jonathan Majors). Forging it into a Sacred Timeline to prevent a new Multiversal war between his variants, the death of He Who Remains subsequently unleashed the multiverse once more. This included the villain Kang the Conqueror, who was set up to begin a major takeover of time itself in the MCU. Following the events of Loki and the Multiverse adventure of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it wasn’t a stretch to assume that Kang was going to have a role or cameo at some point in Doctor Strange 2. Even a post-credits scene featuring Kang in the aftermath of Doctor Strange saving the multiverse from incursions would have been fitting. However, it seems as though the film chose to focus more on continuing the events of WandaVision rather than Loki, seeing Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch wielding chaos magic and the power of the Darkhold to get what she wanted regardless of the damage caused to the Multiverse (with Strange having no choice but to stop her).
Kang’s absence feels like a major missed opportunity for Doctor Strange 2. After all, the death of his variant is what contributed to a new surge of Multiversal chaos and disorder. With a title as telling as Multiverse of Madness, the connection isn’t a hard one to make, let alone the fact that screenwriter Michael Waldron contributed to both Loki and Doctor Strange 2. Bearing that in mind, perhaps Kang had a role in earlier versions of the film that were ultimately abandoned. It’s been widely reported that Doctor Strange 2 experienced some extensive reshoots that could well have cut a prospective Kang appearance. At any rate, it seems as though those expecting Kang the Conqueror to appear will have to wait for future projects such as Loki season 2 and his confirmed role in 2023’s Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. While an appearance from the time-traveling villain would have been exciting, the argument could be made that Kang’s absence from the film is for the best.