Loki - Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains

Just a heads up, I’m going to spoil the season finale of Loki here.

If you care, stop reading!

No, seriously.

All good? Okay, Loki finale talk time.

In the Disney+ show’s last episode of Season 1, we got to see Jonathan Majors’ introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Assembled: The Making of Loki, Majors shares his inspirations for conveying the man behind the TVA.

Majors’ character, who goes by the moniker He Who Remains, is an odd sort of villain. He’s a little kooky, a little loopy, and frankly, a bit tired of being the man behind the curtain. When I watched his performance, I got strong Willy Wonka (the Gene Wilder version) vibes, and not just because he was wearing a purple cape.

It turns out I was picking up what Majors was throwing down. At the end of the Assembled behind-the-scenes documentary on the creation of Loki, Majors shared his inspiration for the part:

“Some cultural pop references were, of course, The Wizard Of Oz, Sunset Boulevard, Citizen Kane, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. The archetype of the wizard and what happens to him when he gets bored, you know? And he becomes a trickster. I think when we meet He Who Remains, he’s on the borderline of those two things. You don’t really know where he’s at. And I think the ambiguity of that is one of the wicked things about it.”

Loki - Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains

He Who Remains Has A Little Bit of Everyone…But Mostly Willy Wonka

In addition to Willy Wonka, the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz is another obvious motif that Majors channels. I didn’t pick up on Citizen Kane on the first watch, but in retrospect it’s definitely there. He Who Remains, like Charles Foster Kane, is an old and powerful recluse locked up in the citadel, the MCU’s version of Xanadu.

Majors will show up again in the MCU, and not just potentially in Season 2 of Loki. We’ve known for months that Majors will play Kang the Conqueror, a major villain from the Marvel comics that will be the big bad in at least Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. That version of Majors, however, will most likely be very different than He Who Remains. Kang is a Thanos-level bad guy — a conqueror, if you will, who wants nothing but to rule over every multiverse.

Will that version have the same Willy Wonka-esque air? Very probably not, though let’s hope he keeps that purple cape.

The first season of Loki along with the behind-the-scenes documentary, Assembled: The Making of Loki, are currently streaming on Disney+.

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