Since the launch of Disney+ in early 2021, Marvel Studios has introduced a number of new characters into the MCU; but perhaps, no introduction will be as integral to Phase 4 and beyond as Jonathon Majors' He Who Remains in Loki. In Episode 6 of Tom Hiddleston's series, Loki and Sylvie finally meet He Who Remains, where he teases his nefarious Variants and sets the stage for Kang's MCU future.
Due to the MCU's ongoing Multiversal themes, many fans have anticipated that Kang will be the next big villain of this current Multiverse Saga. And, according to the director of Loki, she too anticipates a big future for this new time-obsessed baddie.
Loki Director Kate Herron Discusses Kang's MCU Future
When asked how much of Majors' performance as Who He Remains was the actor or the script, Herron revealed that the character jumping onto the desk was all Majors, saying, "when we blocked it, he jumped up and I was like, 'Keep that because that's so cool:'"
"Well, the scripts we had were brilliant for episode six. I would say credit to all really. The first thing you are going to do as an actor is you’re going to look at the script and be inspired by that. But I would also say Jonathan, for example, when we were blocking it, I didn’t know he was going to jump on the desk. Me and my DP, I remember we had it on track and [cinematographer Autumn Durald] was kind of feeling it out. And then when we blocked it, he jumped up and I was like, 'Keep that because that’s so cool. Definitely do that jump up.' Because I think that was the key thing. It’s almost bookended, we begin with a conversation and we end with one. And it’s for me about how do we change blocking here to feel dynamic? When is the camera really close to He Who Remains? So it almost feels like he’s whispering in your ear and getting you on his side. And when should we go wide, because it’s almost like you have to build these mini chapter breaks because you can’t just stay in the same position for the conversation. Because I think otherwise the audience will start to lose attention."
The director also described shooting the Loki Season 1 finale as "a bit like filming a play," but was also well-aware that Majors' performance as He Who Remains is just the beginning for the actor, explaining that he's "going to go on to be an amazing character" who is getting set up to be one of the Avengers' next big threats:
"So it was amazing working with him. He is a fantastic actor and it honestly felt a little bit like filming a play. Which was really fun. That was the thing. It wassuch a privilege seeing an incredible actor find this character because it is going to go on to be an amazing character."
Jonathon Majors' upcoming role as Kang and the character's "significance" in the MCU is something the actor is aware of and actually embraces.
"And when I looked at the significance of Kang in the MCU, I agreed to the role the same way I agreed to any other film that I do. 'Can the world move forward without them? Can the scene move forward without them?...' If it can then I’m okay, and if it can’t then it’s something I want to take on."
As to his knowledge of what Marvel Studios has planned for Kang the Conqueror, Majors claims to know what "everyone else [knows]" and that "this is where we're starting:"
“Well, I [know] what everyone else [knows]. And still do, actually. You know where it’s like this is the role, and this is where we’re starting. That’s as far as we got, and that was enough for me. To try and understand who this character was."
When asked about the limited opportunities to rehearse with the whole cast, Herron shared they actually did rehearsals via Zoom.
But despite Jonathon Majors' busy schedule, the director still had "a lot of conversations one-on-one with Jonathan as well, about character and influence:"
"So I would say with Jonathan specifically, it wasn’t actually pandemics. Just, he’s very busy. So, we didn’t do rehearsals in person, but basically, we did them on Zoom. We did a few read-throughs on Zoom with all the cast. And then I also just had a lot of conversations one-on-one with Jonathan as well, about character and influence. And we would always check in with each other and talk about that. So I think that was really key before we got to set. And then with the rest of our cast, no. I did quite a bit of rehearsal to be honest. It was mainly to be honest, lots of read-through, talking through the characters with the actors, but also because then when you get to set, everyone’s working from the same rule book. And it’s not to say you can’t play on set because Owen would throw in three different alts for every line. That would be so funny. But I think for me it was about making sure we’re all going in and making the same thing."
One of the most fascinating aspects of Majors' role in the MCU is that he plays different roles. He Who Remains is not Kang. In fact, as the character explained in Loki, all of his efforts with the TVA and the Sacred Timeline were to stop Kang.
So, the next time audiences see Jonathon in the MCU, he probably won't be jumping on desks.
Herron also expressed how grateful she was "to be part of the conversation with Kevin Feige," since the actor chosen to play He Who Remains would be "going to go on and play a massive part of the MCU:"
"And with the other actors, I was so grateful to be part of the conversation with Kevin Feige for He Who Remains, that’s a massive role. And that was me chatting with them and the team about who would be the right character for this. Because obviously, they’re going to go on and play a massive part of the MCU."
Kang is Coming to Conquer
Even though fans haven't seen Majors' Kang since Loki's Season 1 finale, and despite Kate Herron deciding not to return for Season 2, Kang is still coming.
Hiddleston's Loki said as much himself in the sixth episode; and even though Owen Wilson's Mobius didn't understand the need to prepare, Marvel Studios did. Given the Multiversal madness that's dominated recent MCU projects, he's likely already at play.
Now, there have been concerns from the fan base about Marvel's seeming lack of a cohesive plan for its Phase 4. But due to what Herron shared, it certainly seems that there are huge plans for Kang.
Also, the fact that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Kate Herron were so strategic in their casting, knowing the actor would "play a massive part of the MCU" means that this integral character's future has been planned out in advance.
In fact, Kang may be how the various Marvel stories and films assemble together and lead into an Avengers 5.
Season 1 of Loki is available to stream on Disney+; Ant-Man the Wasp Quantumania is set to release on February 17, 2023.