More than halfway through 2021, Marvel Studios has delivered on four new epic stories for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even bringing the first hints of the multiverse into play.
The biggest steps forward in that regard came in Tom Hiddleston's Loki, which dove into the vast reaches of time and space through the arrival of the Time Variance Authority. This led to the God of Mischief being thrown into The Void at the end of all time before coming face-to-face with Jonathan Majors' He Who Remains.
Loki and Sylvie found themselves in He Who Remains' presence while traversing through The Void, only finding his domain after defeating the enormous smoke monster Alioth. Getting rid of the behemoth helped the two unveil the Citadel at the End of Time, an expansive mansion where the MCU's newest villain calculated his plot and seemingly ran everything within the TVA.
In terms of the design behind this building itself, one of Marvel's designers revealed some insight into how it came to be and into some of the mysteries it still holds.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE CITADEL
Marvel production designer Kasra Farahani spoke with Vanity Fair on who built the Citadel at the End of Time in Episode 6 of Loki and how it was developed.
Farahani believes that "He Who Remains built it" and took influence from "probably Xanadu from Citizen Kane, and Hearst Castle as a result." Some design choices were described as being "more unknowable and fantasy" to help build "this atmosphere of a self-edifying and grandiose space" to help develop Jonathan Majors' character further:
"I believe He Who Remains built it. The biggest influence was probably Xanadu from Citizen Kane, and Hearst Castle as a result. This eccentric person rattling around this big Citadel. I pitched this idea that he'd retreated to the office at the time. The atrium, [where] you see the 13-foot-tall Sentinels of Time statues and the hall with the giant timepiece and the Time-Keeper statues…there would be a sense that he had retreated from these places and they're in disrepair. In terms of architectural style, we also took inspiration from Hearst Castle, [which] is this composite of different pieces of European architecture. We wanted the sense that [He Who Remains] had architecturally cherry-picked from assorted grand architectural styles. Some stuff, like the tessellated surfacing on some of the columns, is more unknowable and fantasy, to create this atmosphere of a self-edifying and grandiose space that is almost a project he got bored with."
The designer also touched on the three Time-Keeper statues in the middle of the core room, in which there was a fourth statue that was smashed and spread all over the floor. He admitted that he "can't say anything about it, unfortunately," but teased that "the answers will be forthcoming."
WHAT ANSWERS WILL BE COMING?
On a base level, the story regarding Kang building the Citadel himself makes sense when looking at this version of Kang and his history that was teased. This take on Jonathan Majors' villain was clearly an extravagant personality who had been toying with the concept of time and space for an extended period living in The Void on his own.
Many millennia worth of inspiration from dozens of the most iconic cultures in history made their mark on the design of the building, and it was evident that He Who Remains wanted the best of what history had to offer in that regard. Taking inspiration from Hearst Castle and iconic movies like Citizen Kane lines up well with the character's flamboyant nature in this regard.
As for the mysterious fourth Time-Keeper, there are endless possibilities with someone as powerful as Kang behind everything.
The fact that Kang created the Time-Keepers himself as a ruse to rule over the TVA makes the identity of the fourth one hard to nail down, but it will surely be yet another exciting mystery for MCU fans to learn about. As Kang develops into the Conqueror he's expected to be in the MCU, there will be plenty of developments that hopefully help clear this mystery up.
All six episodes of Loki are available to stream on Disney+. Jonathan Majors is confirmed to appear as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which will come to theaters on February 17, 2023.