With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania about to fly into theaters and launch Phase 5 of the MCU — and given that Loki‘s Season 1 finale came out more than one-and-a-half years ago — here’s a quick refresher on Jonathan Majors’ Marvel debut as the Kang variant known as “He Who Remains.”
The Loki finale (aka Episode 6, “For All Time. Always.”) brought Loki and Sylvie (played by Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino) face to face with the person responsible for the creation of the vexing, micromanaging TVA (Time Variance Authority). But this “man behind the curtain” wasn’t some bumbling Wizard of Oz type who was going to ride off in a hot air balloon. No, he would be revealed to actually be quite dangerous, someone who knows everything that’s about to happen before it happens — and whose death could incite a catastrophic, multiversal war.
Here are a few quick, important things to remember (or perhaps know for the very first time!) about Loki‘s He Who Remains, played by Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania star Jonathan Majors. (I also highly recommend a Loki finale rewatch via Disney+, in part to appreciate what Majors keeps/changes with his fantastic big-screen Kang performance).
'He Created All and He Controls All...'
When Loki and Sylvie first entered The Citadel at the End of Time that lies beyond Alioth (the giant “smoke monster” that Classic Loki sacrificed himself to vanquish), they were greeted by Miss Minutes. The inscrutable Southern… clock… said that that He Who Remains — the man who “created all and controls all” — has been impressed by their journey. So much so, that he wants to offer a deal: The TVA will keep operating as usual, and Loki and Sylvie can get reinserted into the timeline in a way that gives Loki the power he has always craved, and lets Sylvie wake up in a tomorrow filled by a lifetime of only happy memories.
“Y’all can live the lives you’ve always wanted,” Miss Minutes promised, and by accepting the deal they can have “Everything, exactly the way you’ve always wanted.”
'I've Been Dubbed Many Names... A Ruler, a Conqueror'
After neither accepting nor declining said deal, Loki and Sylvie encountered the apple-chomping king of the castle, known as… “He Who Remains.”
Introducing himself while offering Loki and Sylvie a seat in front of his “office” desk, the enigmatic host said, “I’ve been dubbed many names by many people. A ruler, a conqueror…. He Who Remains, a jerk. But it’s… it’s not as simple as a name.” (Note, the name Kang is never expressly said during the Loki finale, though he who remains is clearly a variant.)
He Who Remains informed his guests that while they may think they cunningly sneaked up on him, he instead was responsible for paving the entire, treacherous road that led them here. “You just walked down it,” he taunts, making clear: “I know it all. And I’ve seen it all.” (Film fact: This will be a recurring mantra in Quantumania.)
He Who Remains explained that without the TVA in place to enforce the order that he’s brought to the Sacred Timeline, “everything burns.”
'Not Every Version of Me Was So... Pure of Heart'
Flicking onto his desk a bit of mercurial goo that proceeds to animate the story he’s about to tell, He Who Remains shared his origin story, and it went a little something like this:
A scientist variant of He Who Remains, who lived in the 31st century, discovered that there were other universes stacked on top of his own. As these universes collided and the variants of the scientist met each other, their initial peace and harmony and sharing of technology and knowledge gave way to an all-out war for power and control.
“Not every version of me was so… so pure of heart,” He Who Remains explained. “To some of us, new worlds meant only one thing — new lands to be conquered.”
'If You Think I'M Evil... Just Wait Until You Meet My Variants'
The origin story continued….
The battle between the unnamed scientist’s variants only ceased when He Who Remains weaponized Alioth and used it to end the multiversal war. Now, he says, the TVA and Sacred Timeline exist to prevent such chaos from happening again.
“Once I isolated our timeline, all I had to do was manage the flow of time and prevent any further branches,” he said. “Hence, the TVA. Hence, the Time-Keepers and a highly efficient bureaucracy.”
Then, and perhaps most ominously, He Who Remains suggested that were he to be killed, infinite variants of him would appear and another multiversal war would surely start.
“I keep you safe,” he maintained. “And if you think I’m evil…. just wait until you meet my variants.”
'See You Soon....'
As Loki and Sylvie debated the validity of their host’s story/claims/warnings, the time-traveling companions got into a bit of a scuffle, once Sylvie speculated that Loki was plotting to align with He Who Remains in some backstabbing power grab.
Having grabbed He Who Remains’ TemPad bracelet from his desk, Sylvie opened a time door and pushed Loki through it, sending him back to the TVA. And with Loki now gone, Sylvie didn’t hesitate to follow through with her own plan and drive her sword into He Who Remains. Ignoring his aforementioned, ominous warning.
“See you soon,” Majors’ character said with a wink before expiring — after which we saw that the colorful, ribbon-like Sacred Timeline outside the Citadel had started branching like crazy!
'Someone Is Coming, Countless Versions of a Very Dangerous Person'
What did that frayed timeline mean?
Loki, having been sent “back” to the TVA by Sylvie, rushed to find Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius M. Mobius. Frantically recapping what he just learned at the Citadel from He Who Remains, Loki told Mobius, “He’s seen everything. He knows everything. But someone is coming, countless different versions of a very dangerous person. And they’re all set on war.”
It quickly became apparent that neither Mobius nor B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) recognized Loki. Meanwhile, the notorious trickster’s face grew confused and terrified as he noticed that the enormous stone statue that towered over the TVA atrium and used to depict a random Time-Keeper now looked exactly like He Who Remains!
And that, folks, is everything you should know/remember when heading into the Cineplex to see another Kang’s story unfold in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.