Comics Reviews

Marvel Teased How Conan Could Come to the MCU


Conan the Barbarian’s surprisingly perfect rival with an MCU villain could set up his quietly perfect arrival into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Savage Avengers #28 by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia, and VC’s Travis Lanham, now on sale from Marvel Comics

Kang is one of Marvel’s most enduring villains, with the Avengers antagonist easily being capable of traveling across any era or genre. He’s developed intense hate and respect for some notably Marvel figures. But his newest rival might his best one ever.

Kang the Conqueror just openly considered Conan the Barbarian to perhaps be the greatest rival he’s ever truly found. On top of giving Conan a continued position in the Marvel Universe, this revelation could — and should — set up a possible appearance for Conan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


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Savage Avengers has shown how well Conan the Barbarian can fit into the Marvel Universe. While his unshakable code and tragic backstory make him predisposed for heroism, his ruthless and self-oriented nature makes him perfect as a wild card. He can turn on the heroes and work well with villains, all while fighting well alongside the likes of the Avengers. His most surprising connection though has been with Kang the Conqueror. On paper, the two couldn’t be more different — a wandering barbarian and a futuristic explorer. But the pair actually share a lot of the same kind of ambition and resolve, endeavoring to find the greatest challenge and overcome it. It’s a large part of what defines Kang in the recent Timeless #1, and is a major aspect of the character.


So it makes sense why he would eventually see Conan as a genuine rival — someone capable of matching him in terms of skill and resolve. At the conclusion of Savage Avengers #28, after ensuring Kulan Gath never became a wizard, Kang transports Conan back to his original place in the universe. But Conan explains he has more adventures left in the Marvel Universe to embark on. Kang notes that despite all his expectations on who’d be standing besides him against the ultimate kind of threat, he never imagined it be someone like Conan. He outright calls him “competition,” confirming how Kang truly sees Conan as an equal. It’s an interesting but perfectly in-character estimation by Kang. As someone who’s always wanted a real challenge, the nigh-unstoppable Conan is the perfect person ancient and unbeaten rival.


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When Kang inspects Conan’s sword in his personal collection, Kang notes that there’s been a message left for him from a long-dead Conan — reminding Kang he never truly beat him. Intrigued anew, Kang returned Conan to the present day in the Marvel Universe — openly admitting that he admires Conan’s desire to test himself against any and sorts of challenges. It’s quietly a perfect position to place Conan, contrasting him perfectly as an adventurer with wanderlust against the ever exploring Kang. The two can easily come up against each other again in future events. It’s also quietly a great blueprint for a potential future where Conan joins the MCU. Kang is already being set up as one of the major villains for the future of the cinematic universe, with Loki’s first season setting up his arrival.


Traveling across the cosmos, Kang could search for the kind of trials and tribulations that actually challenge him and his skills. If Kang goes exploring the MCU for a challenge, he could end up finding the MCU version of Conan. This in turn could easily allow for Conan to make the leap to the present. This could give the MCU their own barbarian hero to utilize in future storylines, even potentially setting the stage for an adaptation of the now concluded Savage Avengers. Conan’s newfound bond with Kang as major rivals sets up Conan to take on an interesting place in the Marvel Universe, and one that should ground his next cinematic appearance in the established MCU.


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