The Season 1 finale of Marvel Studios’ Loki debuted earlier this month, and the episode undeniably shook up the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. The live-action series had a lot of surprises for fans in that finale episode, including the debut of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), a version of none other than Kang the Conqueror. There was a lot of He Who Remains’ appearance that fueled speculation, including whether or not the character was inspired by Immortus, the older and world-weary version of Kang from the comics. During a recent appearance on ComicBook.com‘s Phase Zero podcast, Loki director Kate Herron teased as much — and also revealed other unique influences upon the character.
“He definitely drew inspiration from him,” Herron explained. “But it’s kind of, I suppose, a bit like Sylvie in our show — it’s an original version of the character for the show. But yeah, but we definitely drew inspiration from him. I mean, we even have a reference in the costume. It’s very subtle, obviously like with the colors on his chest. Oh, but the costume is a fun one to talk about as well. Christine, my costume designer, she kind of pulled inspiration from across multiple areas. Because obviously he’s a character that exists outside of space and time. But at the same time, obviously I think the pandemic might have affected it because we’re all living at home. And so it’s kind of like lounge-wear as well that he’s wearing. Which is kind of fun, but yeah, because he’s just chilling out in his office, but anyway.”
Herron also revealed her involvement in the casting process for Majors, who has already been confirmed to debut in the upcoming Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
“With the casting, it was me, the studio and [Quantumania director] Peyton [Reed], and we just kind of spoke about who we thought would be cool,” Herron revealed. “And Jonathan Majors was someone that we were all massively excited by. So yeah, I was kind of like, ‘How am I in this conversation?’ But this is great, just because it’s such a massive decision for Kevin Feige and his team. But I was very grateful to be at the table with them.”
“I knew that he was going to be a variant in our show, which in some ways alleviates the pressure because I don’t know what Jonathan is going to do in the future movies,” Herron continued. “But I knew for all when I was like, ‘Okay, well let’s just focus on all one, which is He Who Remains and he’s a variant.’ And I think me and Jonathan, I think really the fun of it, honestly, was finding that fine balance between a character — there’s the introverted sense that he’s living alone, right? I think the only person we sort of alluded that he’d probably talks to is Miss Minutes, but then the extroverted part is that yeah, he’s interesting. I think Jonathan spoke a lot about, he did a lot of clowning and he said that he drew inspiration from that. And I think for me, honestly, Jonathan is such a good actor. It’s really just about sort of giving him the runway to play and have fun with it. And then knowing the bits where me and him were like, ‘Okay. Let’s maybe bring them in and go quieter here.’ So I think that was the key thing was — where is He Who Remains being playful? And where’s he being genuine with them? Like when he says like, ‘Wait to you meet my variants.’ I feel like he’s being genuine then. Because you have to believe him then. Because I think he’s telling the truth at that point. So that was kind of the other thing as well is when is he lying? When is he not lying?”
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