How Robert Downey Jr. & Others Influenced Kang the Conqueror Actor to Join Marvel

By Lauren Rouse Updated:
Tony Stark, Kang

Jonathan Majors has revealed it was other Marvel actors, like Robert Downey Jr., who inspired him to take up his role as Kang the Conquerer in the MCU.

The actor made his first appearance in a Marvel project in the finale of Loki in 2021, where he played the mysterious He Who Remains. Majors will next be seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, where he will make his debut as the infamous Kang the Conquerer, the next major threat in the MCU

Agreeing to a multiple-project arc in the MCU can seem like a daunting prospect, particularly as many Marvel actors have no clear idea of the overarching plans for their characters. 

However, it appears Majors explained had no hesitation when it came to accepting the role of Kang as a big part of his future.

Why Jonathan Majors Took the Role of Kang

Jonathan Majors, Kang

Speaking to Deadline in an interview, Jonathan Majors compared the MCU to the "best drama school in the world for grownups":

"When I was 21 years old, I looked to see what the best drama school in the world was for grownups. I ended up going to Yale, after I looked up the alumni and the work that they were doing, that whole universe, no pun intended. When I had the opportunity to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I took a look at the same ledger."

Majors said he saw Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige as "the Dean" and cited actors like Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo as examples of incredible alumni:

"Kevin Feige is the Dean, the James Bundy of Yale. The directors are the faculty and staff, and the students? Robert Downey Jr. Mark Ruffalo, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston. So many others. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that ensemble?"

The actor said he wasn't aware of Marvel's plans for Kang but knew he would "have an opportunity to work with great actors":

"I didn’t know at the start that Kang was going to do what he does in Quantumania. But I did know I was going to have an opportunity [to] work with great actors."

Majors also pointed to his role in The Last Black Man in San Francisco as the thing that caught Marvel's attention:

One of the things we talked [about] before, about Magazine Dreams being a legitimizing role, I was here four years ago for The Last Black Man in San Francisco. I had a small body of work, but that was what attracted the MCU to call my agent and try to have a relationship with me.

The MCU School of Acting

Nowadays it's harder to find an actor who hasn't been in the MCU. While some of the originals like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have since moved on from their Marvel roles, new stars are joining Marvel projects every day. So it's not surprising that Majors was drawn to the MCU based on its incredible repertoire of talented actors.

Majors has previously said that there aren't any downsides to being in a superhero film, so he clearly has no regrets when it comes to his choice to play Kang the Conquerer.

That's a good thing seeing as Kang's role in the MCU is only just getting started. After Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Majors will likely have an even bigger role to play in the next Avengers movie, which is subtitled The Kang Dynasty, after his fearsome Marvel villain.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases in theaters on Friday, February 17.

Release Date
February 17, 2023
- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.