Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains, Kang, in Loki

Loki Head Writer Michael Waldron Compares Thanos and Kang

Will Kang be the MCU's new Big Bad?

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Is Marvel’s Loki still living rent-free in your mind? Well, you’re not alone. We can’t stop thinking about Jonathan Majors’ brief but impactful turn as He Who Remains, and the impending havoc that is sure to come from his variants, chiefly Kang the Conqueror.

Loki head writer Michael Waldron discussed the character on The Playlist podcast, where he was quick to share the differences between Kang and the MCU’s previous Big Bad Thanos.

Waldron praised Majors’ performance, saying “He’s a hell of an actor, a hell of a performer. I don’t know, you heard him in the show: ‘If you think I’m evil, wait till you meet my Variants.’ So, we’ll see.” Waldron continued, “The exciting thing about getting to originate that character on the page in the MCU was creating a totally different energy than what Thanos is, which is very measured, principled, almost monk-like in his evil aspirations, and obviously He Who Remains, it’s a much more squirrelly, chaotic, narcissistic presence, so that was a lot of fun.”

Chaotic is the perfect word to describe HWR/Kang, as Majors’ stunning performance was unpredictable and literally and figuratively all over the place. It’s a refreshing departure from the CGI-created, God-like characters like Thanos or Steppenwolf and Darkseid in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Big, lugubrious lumps of pixels have rarely conjured the same fear and excitement as a singularly unpredictable and unhinged individual.

I love a good monster movie, and film and television are positively littered with compelling, frightening monsters. But nothing quite compares to the terror of an unpredictable person, someone who, in the words of The Dark Knight, just wants to watch the world burn. That kind of chaos keeps you on the edge of your seat, surprising you in ways that self-serious, dogmatic villains do not. Marvel hasn’t always had the strongest villains, but their best ones have this quality.

After all, Heath Ledger created the most frightening comic book movie villain (possibly of all time) with nothing more than some grease paint, a couple of scars, and his talented performance in DC’s The Dark Knight. And David Tennant’s performance as Kilgrave in Netflix’s Jessica Jones was a villain more compelling and disturbing than any other in the MCU, no CGI needed. Marvel has also given us some recent strong villains in Black Panther’s Killmonger, Baron Zemo, and Spider Man: Far From Home’s Quentin Beck. These characters are notably human and have no Godlike superpowers.

Waldron, who is writing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, also discussed the multiple endings planned for Loki. Many viewers thought the series would be a farewell to the fan-favorite character, yet despite how close Loki comes to death, he always manages to defy the odds.

“The endings of these things are always in flux and there were always many different versions. It was always important to me to tell a complete story, which I think we did … And we always knew we wanted to propel Loki forward into the MCU. That, in fact, that [choice] almost felt like the most subversive ending – to not kill Loki.”

What do you think of Kang’s introduction to the MCU? I’m interested in seeing just how many variants (good and bad) we’ll see Jonathan Majors portray.

(via The Playlist, image: Disney+)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.