Jonathan Majors’ Marvel Villain Sets Franchise Record

Jonathan Majors as Kang tested better than any other Marvel villain in the franchise

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

jonathan majors kang

In many ways, the real-life supervillain that gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe the most trouble is its own record of success. For example, Thanos was such a charismatic and memorable villain that it has been difficult to replace him, although that is exactly what Jonathan Majors’ Kang is meant to do.

But here’s some good news when it comes to bad guys: in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Marvel bigwig Kevin Feige revealed that the character is “the highest-testing villain we’ve ever had” during screenings, something they discovered when screening Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania for an audience of friends and family members.

In what might have been a note of wry self-awareness, Feige acknowledged that Jonathan Majors is a great villain even “without the effects.” Over the years, many have pointed out that Marvel’s idea of spectacle is to fill the screen with as many dizzying special effects as possible. Even though these screenings are missing many of the final visual effects, this villain still shines for the simple reason that “Jonathan is his own effect.”

Of course, the fact that audiences respond well to Jonathan Majors isn’t exactly a secret. He first appeared as Kang in the Loki Disney+ series, which is where he played a very unconventional Big Bad against our very unconventional heroes. Majors’ performance was very well-received on the show, but that didn’t mean Kevin Feige could rest easy for the simple fact that the Kang we saw in that show is very different than the Kang we see in Quantumania

The reason for this is, of course, the Multiverse. In Loki, Jonathan Majors played a version of Kang that went by the straight-out-of-Lovecraft name He Who Remains. That character claimed that he was mostly interested in preventing a multiversal war from being caused by any of his more warlike variants, and it is one of those variants that Majors plays in Quantumania.

Nobody understands what a wild gamble this character is more than Kevin Feige. In the interview, he acknowledged that what they were doing with Jonathan Majors’ character (specifically, building multiple movies around a character audiences had not yet met, which is very different than how the MCU handled Thanos) was one of the “fun rolls of the dice that we do at Marvel.”

Fortunately for Feige and fans alike, the gamble seems to have worked: Majors generated major buzz from the moment he first appeared on Loki, and by all accounts, he is the very best part of Quantumania (a film some MCU fans have said is otherwise even worse than Eternals).

Ultimately, it’s fair to say that Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel execs haven’t stopped rolling the dice when it comes to Jonathan Majors and the character of Kang. It’s nice that those who work at Marvel get to impress their friends and family with special screenings, but there is a large chance those who attend these screenings are so flattered and starstruck that they aren’t being very critical of what they are watching.

Throw in the dismal early reviews rolling in for Quantumania and Feige may want to hop back into the Multiverse and bring out some variants of his writers who know how to craft a decent script. 

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