Lovecraft Country’s Jonathan Majors swiveled into the Loki finale with a charming smirk and the power of delivering lengthy monologues about time and the infinite multiverse. The character is revealed to be He Who Remains a.k.a. the protective architect of the Time Variance Authority. After 30 minutes of back-and-forth, he is killed by Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), who’s been seeking revenge ever since the TVA destroyed her life. Before his death, He Who Remains warns Sylvie and Loki of the arrival of his nefarious variant(s) from another timeline. In the third episode of Disney+’s Marvel Studios: Assembled, which goes behind-the-scenes of Loki, Majors and Tom Hiddleston both confirm that the next iteration the latter will play is, in fact, Kang The Conqueror.
Majors was originally cast in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania in September 2020, and rumored to be playing the film’s villain. Later that year, Marvel President Kevin Feige confirmed Majors was portraying Kang The Conqueror in Quantumania. The film is scheduled for a 2023 release, but Majors made a surprise cameo—a surprise only if you’ve stayed away from constantly theorizing over Loki—in the sixth episode, “For All Time. Always.” Only he didn’t exactly appear as Kang, although He Who Remains does tell Loki and Sylvie with flair that he’s been dubbed “a ruler” and “a conqueror” before.
In the Assembled special about the making of Loki, Hiddleston is the first to reveal that the scary variant of He Who Remains, the one he’s been talking about and is afraid of, is Kang. “Kang is bent on destruction and I’m so curious to see what Jonathan does in the future,” Hiddleston says. Marvel Studios executive Kevin Wright reveals that the energy on set during the filming of the finale was thrilling because the crew knew they were “watching the flowering of the next phase of the Marvel Universe.”
Kang is a time-traveler with genius intellect. His time-hopping abilities allow him to access advanced technology that provides him with strength and force-field projection, among other abilities. As his name promptly suggests, his goal is to conquer all the worlds instead of snapping the population by half. In Assembled, Majors says the chance to play Kang’s many iterations is what grabbed and pulled him into the role. “The objective was to give me the largest canvas as possible and then from that, as Kang begins to rear his head and do his deeds, in so many ways he has no choice but to be in opposition and be different from He Who Remains.”
It hasn’t been officially announced whether Majors will return in Loki season two, even though it’s all but confirmed by the massive finale cliffhanger. Loki tries to warn his new best friend Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) of the threat posed by He Who Remains, but they don’t recognize the God Of Mischief (if that’s what he’s still going by in this new timeline). The TVA’s headquarters also look slightly different. Instead of the statues of the three (non-existent) Time-Keepers, there’s one of a He Who Remains variant. This statue is wearing the Kang costume with a different robe than He Who Remains, and with a big neck ring and shoulder pads. Looks like we’ll see Kang even outside of Ant-Man 3.
The rest of the hour-long special features interviews with the cast and crew of Loki, and the process of bringing the show to life. Di Martino and director Kate Herron discuss the inspirations behind Sylvie, which are more in line with Sylvie Lushton a.k.a. The Enchantress from the comic books. Series creator Michael Waldron talks about the origins of Alligator Loki, and Richard E. Grant talks about his beloved cameo as Classic Loki. Hiddleston charts his 11-year journey of playing and evolving this character and how Loki has changed the direction of the MCU going forward.