The following story contains spoilers for the Loki Season 1 finale.
It’s a good time to be Jonathan Majors. Just a single day after the 31-year-old actor earned his first career Primetime Emmy nomination for his role in Lovecraft Country, he made his first in what will surely be many appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time a show-stopping guest spot in the finale of Loki.
The Loki series had set up one major question throughout its six-episode first season: who’s behind the Time Variance Authority (also known as the TVA)? After a season-long journey, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) finally discovered the identity of the man behind the curtain in Episode 6, “For All Time. Always.” That man literally showed up from behind a sliding, curtain-esque door: an odd, eccentric character only referred to as “He Who Remains,” and played by Majors. While this version of the character was killed off by the end of the episode (of course, with a wink, a smile, and a “See you soon), MCU fans will undoubtably be seeing more of him.
Even prior to his Emmy nomination for Lovecraft Country, Majors has been one of the truly ascending actors in the business. Perhaps he played smaller roles alongside major movie stars like Christian Bale (in Hostiles) and Matthew McConaughey (in White Boy Rick) it was his standout role in 2019’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco that really got him noticed, earning rave reviews with many marking him one of the year’s breakout stars.
That breakout continued in a major way in 2020, when he landed a key role in Spike Lee’s excellent Da 5 Bloods and a lead role in Lovecraft Country. During Covid, he filmed another lead role in Netflix’s upcoming western The Harder They Fall, which is due out later this year and finds Majors acting alongside an all-star cast that includes Idris Elba, Regina King, and LaKeith Stanfield, among others.
In a Men’s Health profile last year, Lee predicted a big future for Majors. “He’s on the brink of major stardom,” the legendary director said. “He has the goods.”
Who is Jonathan Majors playing in the MCU?
The name was never uttered in Loki, but last fall Majors was officially cast as supervillain Kang the Conqueror in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In December, his presence in the MCU was made official, when it was announced that he’d be playing the main villain, Kang the Conqueror, in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Throughout Loki, there were hints that Kang would be making an appearance. And by the show’s Season 1 finale, that proved to be true. While Majors never said the name “Kang,” his character, referred to repeatedly as “He Who Remains,” was revealed to be the person in the Citadel, working with the animatronic cartoon clock Miss Minutes, and behind everything that the TVA did—including the pruning of timelines and the fake Timekeepers.
He Who Remains made a specific mid-monologue reference to some people calling him a “conqueror,” a key reference at his Kang identity. But this also may not be the Kang who ends up as the MCU’s next big bad; in another memorable moment, he hinted at a foreboding version of himself still to come. “If you think I’m evil, well, just wait until you meet my variants,” he said. “And that’s the gambit! Stifling order, or cataclysmic chaos. You may hate the dictator, but something far worse is going to fill that void if you depose of him.”
Majors’ only other scheduled appearance, as of now, is in the aforementioned Quantumania, which isn’t until 2023. But Loki wasn’t a scheduled appearance, now was it? Keep in mind how once Josh Brolin was cast as Thanos, he had uncredited appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron before his first credited turn in Avengers: Infinity War. It would be shocking to absolutely no one if Majors showed up in a couple cameos or credits scenes, particularly with upcoming movies Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness likely dealing with the fallout of what we’ve just seen in Loki.
And in an interview with Marvel.com, Loki head writer Michael Waldron basically confirmed that this is just the beginning of this new ultimate villain. “Knowing that Kang was probably going to be the next big cross-movie villain, and because he is a time-traveling, multiversal adversary, it just always made so much sense,” he said. “I came up with that big multiversal war mythology and pitched it out in the room one day to our producers.“
An exciting role, in an exciting franchise, for an exciting performer. Let the mutliversal madness begin—the heroes can deal with the fallout later.
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