'Loki' Cast and Crew on Filming the Surprising Finale (and Keeping That Big Reveal a Secret)07/14/2021
Marvel does many things extraordinarily well, but the studio just might have no rival when it comes to preserving secrets and hiding massive character/casting reveals until the absolute last second (except maybe its Disney sibling, Lucasfilm). The recently-concluded Loki continues this proud tradition, springing one of its biggest surprises yet during its finale. Fans can certainly count themselves as constantly impressed, but that’s nothing compared to the actual cast and crew involved in bringing Loki to life. For the sake of the spoiler-averse, we’ll save their quotes and reactions for further down below.
Major spoilers for the finale of Loki follow. Seriously. This is your last chance if you haven’t watched that final episode yet.
Still here? Good, let’s get right to it.
In the aftermath of the final episode, “For All Time. Always,” we’re left to ponder the multiverse-spanning ramifications of Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killing off Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror, the all-powerful being revealed to have been behind the Time Variance Authority all along. But as all supervillains have a tendency to do, the mysterious “He Who Remains” is far from out of the picture for good. As explained to Sylvie and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) throughout the episode, he seemingly has an army of his own variants ready to step in and wreak some havoc.
Rest assured, a studio doesn’t cast an actor as in-demand as Majors for a brief appearance in the finale of a Disney+ show.
While we can only speculate on what will happen next season, Marvel.com talked with the creators and cast of Loki to get their insights on everything that went into the decision to wrangle Majors for this role. Creator and writer Michael Waldron goes into detail about the new supervillain’s backstory, his place in the greater MCU, and generally all things Kang:
“We knew that we wanted this show to be huge, and we wanted it to really end with a bang and have a huge impact on the MCU moving forward. Knowing that Kang was probably going to be the next big cross-movie villain, and because he is a time-traveling, multiversal adversary, it just always made so much sense. I came up with that big multiversal war mythology and pitched it out in the room one day to our producers. And they said, yeah, let’s go for it. We knew we were going to end up meeting the man behind the curtain. And then it was just on us to make sure that that meeting really delivered.”
As director, Kate Herron had the pleasure of collaborating with Majors up close and personal on set. Fittingly enough, his presence ties the entire series together and embodies much of the show’s main ideas.
“I was quite excited that we got to show him because he is the one that brings it all [together]. [He’s] the theme of our show. No one is completely good or completely bad, and people do fall into that gray area. I thought his reasoning with [Loki and Sylvie] that you can take me out, but I’ll be back here anyway…you’re going to awaken all these versions of me. And they are much scarier than me. I really believe him when he says that.”
The Jonathon Majors Effect
The reason so many were excited about Majors’ casting in the first place mainly has to do with the amount of sheer charisma he brings to any role, which Marvel fans definitely got a taste of in the finale. Majors has enjoyed a much-deserved hot streak in the last few years, starring in the wonderfully understated The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and the HBO series Lovecraft Country. As you might imagine, this screen presence factored in to just how to adapt the comic book villain Kang (whom Waldron describes as a “very charismatic sociopath”), toeing the line between being fun to watch and also genuinely up to no good, particularly when it comes to his variants.
“You had to leave a lot of meat on the bone in terms of how evil he could be, because that’s He Who Remains’ whole thing, that it’s not me who you should be afraid of. ‘It’s the other versions of me that are going to come.’ It was trying to really hint at that terrifying evil within without going all the way there.”
In response to Marvel pulling off yet another magic trick with Majors’ casting, Waldron goes on to call it, “So exciting and humbling. You have such an astounding actor who is that much more of a cool thing. You had to write him in a way that he felt worthy of being the villain at the end of our show.” It’s safe to say that few others but Majors could pull off such a casually easy-going attitude while still playing a convincing Big Bad, and Waldron seems to agree. “I knew I could always breathe a sigh of relief knowing we had Majors in that finale. We hung a lot of our hopes on [the character]. This guy is laying out, ‘Here’s the deal,’ and it’s one final test between our two Lokis.”
The universal adoration for Majors isn’t limited to the talent behind the camera, either. Hiddleston himself isn’t shy about heaping praise onto his villainous counterpart, as well:
“I just want to salute Jonathan Majors. He came in the last lap of this series and made an extraordinary impact. And it’s quite something to do that for a story, to get to its final chapter and to introduce the character of such breadth, and depth, and charisma, and intelligence. He was dazzling. It was our final week of filming, literally. He came in and blew us all away.”
“It was so exciting for me to watch because I knew that for Jonathan, as an actor, it’s his entry point into the MCU. To watch him come in and be so ready, and so agile, and so prepared, and so surprising. Sophia and I sat and watched him deliver this extraordinary performance of such wit and with such intelligence. It was a real thrill to watch him do that.”
And according to co-star Di Martino, “He was so much fun and he absolutely blew it out of the park. As soon as he was on set, he was phenomenal. Like, no one could take their eyes off him. You knew something magical was happening and it was like, ‘Oh my god, are you watching this? This is going to be amazing.’”
We could gush endlessly about Jonathan Majors, but fortunately he’s sure to be a fixture in the MCU for years to come. Keep an eye out for more of our coverage of Loki.
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