Jonathan Majors Is More Than a Marvel Supervillain

Inside​ ​the​ ​captivating​ ​mind​ ​of​ ​a new Hollywood star.

In February 2023, the actor Jonathan Majors will emerge as a central villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following up on his episode-stealing debut as He Who Remains in the "Loki" series last year, Majors will reappear as a far more inimical version of that multifarious Marvel character, the time-traveling antagonist Kang the Conqueror, in the movie "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

"It's become a cliché over the decades to compare somebody to a young Marlon Brando, but Jonathan has that," Peyton Reed, the "Ant-Man" director, told me. "He has just this energy and this presence, and our movie is definitely benefiting from that." The role is no one-off. Kang will influence what happens in what Marvel refers to as "Phase 5" and "Phase 6" of its ever-expanding roster of superhero movies and series; the fifth film in the Avengers franchise, for example, is currently scheduled for release in 2025 with the title "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty."

The character of Kang offers a distinct opportunity because he is a character with numerous identities across numerous timelines. Some of his aliases in the Marvel comic books: Victor Timely, Pharaoh Rama-Tut, Blue Man, Lord of the Seven Suns, King of Kings, Master of Men, Victor Timely Jr., Victor Timely III, Scarlet Centurion — it's a vast sandlot for an actor to play in. And the results may be some of the more multivalent, ugly, ridiculous and dark work we have seen from Marvel yet.

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