Some of Loki’s best surprises came in the show’s epic finale. Marvel unveiled the real leader of the TVA, and also introduced the multiverse. Better said, we saw a variant of the villain who will start the multiversal war: He Who Remains (a variant of Kang played by Jonathan Majors). He’s not exactly a villain, as he’s the one trying to keep reality in check and prevent multiversal chaos. The real Kang will appear later down the road. I’ve already explained why the Loki Kang reveal is so brilliant for the MCU, and why this powerful version of Kang could be a lot more dangerous than Thanos. But only Marvel knows if Kang is a Thanos-level threat in the MCU. And Marvel isn’t quite ready to say.
Loki writer Michael Waldron explained on The Playlist podcast that the Kang variant was the villain they’ve always wanted for the show. He said that he wanted Kang as the main villain in the Disney+ series from the beginning. It seemed obvious that the man behind the curtain should be this character He Who Remains. Just like in the comics.
He said that He Who Remains seems to have a lot in common with Immortus. Waldron added that it seemed like an exciting opportunity “to make our show that much more important within the MCU.”
Will Kang be the next Thanos?
Waldron said that as they fleshed out the Loki script, they realized that making a time travel story means actually making a multiverse story. The TVA isn’t preventing time travel — it’s preventing a dangerous multiverse. And it’s within that context that you have to have a version of Kang. Luckily, Marvel agreed with Waldron’s take, and we got our first glimpse of Kang in Loki.
One of the great things in Majors’ monologues in the Loki finale is the palpable fear of Kang. He Who Remains is terrified of himself. The fact that Thanos theoretically lives in multiple realities that Kang variants control should be an indication of how powerful he really is.
But Waldron isn’t ready to definitively say whether Kang is a Thanos-level threat. He pointed out that Majors is a “hell of an actor, a hell of a performer.” And Waldron reminded us of an ominous thing that Majors said as He Who Remains: “You think I’m evil, wait till you meet my variants.”
The writer, who also penned the script for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, also addressed the differences between Thanos and Kang. He said they attempted to create a “different energy” with He Who Remains. Thanos is “very measured” and “principled, almost monk-like in his evil aspirations.” But He Who Remains is “a much more squirrelly, chaotic, narcissistic presence.”
You can listen to Waldron’s full interview at this link. The podcast also contains another great gem. Waldron acknowledged that he consulted for Spider-Man: No Way Home, seemingly implying that Spider-Man 3 is a multiverse story.