Lokis don't like being fooled.

Well here’s one Loki mystery solved.

Remember how episode 4 revealed that the mysterious Time-Keepers, three cosmic entities charged with maintaining the so-called Sacred Timeline, were actually robotic fakes? After big reveal that included an exchange of words between Loki and the supposed Time Variance Authority bosses and a pitched battle, the truth is accidentally revealed.

That dialogue exchange raised some questions, though. If the Time-Keepers as they’d been introduced so far were actually fakes, who was sitting behind the proverbial curtain providing their voices? Now we know: It was Jonathan Majors, who made is Marvel debut in Loki‘s sixth and final episode as “He Who Remains.”

Loki executive producer and director Kate Herron confirmed the bit of trivia in a new interview with EW. The small but crucial roles for each of the three Time-Keeper voices hadn’t yet been cast when Majors joined the production. But since the series would eventually reveal him to be the one behind the Time-Keepers fiction, Herron — who used Wizard of Oz as a reference point for Loki — saw in the Majors casting an opportunity.

“I was like, ‘Oh, let’s get Jonathan to do it, because he’s an amazing character actor,” she said. “We sent him the art of all the characters and it was really fun [because] he was sending us all of these different voices he could do for each character, which was great.”

Majors lending his voice to the three parts served the dual purpose in the end of slyly introducing the actor to Marvel audiences before his character ever appeared while also feeding into the fiction that He Who Remains is the Oz-ian “man behind the curtain.” We already know that Majors is poised to play a big role in the looming events of Marvel’s post-Endgame future.

When Marvel revealed its big plans for Phase 4 of the MCU back at the end of 2020, one of the big revelations was the news that Majors would be joining the cast of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as Kang the Conqueror. As fans of Marvel know too well, the comic book Kang is a real threat, on par with the likes of a Thanos.

While Loki introduces what is essentially a Kang variant in He Who Remains, the first season’s final episode is littered with contextual clues and hints in Majors’ dialogue that pave the way for Kang. At one point during the episode’s central showdown between Loki, Sylvie, and He Who Remains, the latter suggests he’s had many names over the years, including, he says with a bit of extra relish on the line read, “conquerer.”



There’s also that big moment at the end, when Loki pops up in an altered version of the TVA headquarters where he’s apparently been forgotten. The last thing we see before the credits roll is a massive golden statue that’s immediately reminiscent of all the Time-Keepers statues that popped up throughout the series. This one looks different; the face resembles He Who Remains but the costume cuts closer to the Kang that Marvel Comics fans would expect.

Marvel has pulled plenty of fake-outs in the past after big build-ups, such as the Iron Man 3 moment when “the Mandarin” was revealed to be… something else. (Pretty much the same trick worked again years later when WandaVision introduced Ralph Bohner to the world.) But there’s reason to think this Kang stuff isn’t more of that.

For one, Loki already revealed that probably-Kang is the real string-puller behind the TVA’s activities. Adding another being behind another curtain immediately feels like a step too far, even for Marvel. But the way the season ends, along with the fact that we’re officially getting a Season 2, also lends weight to the idea that Kang is a real-deal threat. It’s the entire setup for Season 2!

All of which is to say: It was a clever move to get Majors on board for voicing the fake Time-Keepers. It’s Marvel implicitly telling us how important this character is to the bigger picture. The MCU works in large part because of how fully realized its fictional world feels, and turning the actor behind He Who Remains into the actual “man behind the curtain” is totally in keeping with that approach.

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