Loki Season 2’s Ending Just Debunked a Major Kang Theory
Marvel’s issues with Kang may finally be resolved.
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has a Kang problem. While he may have started out as a much-needed shot in the arm for a rudderless franchise, Jonathan Majors’ time-traversing baddie has since become an unfortunate distraction. The actor has been confronting accusations of domestic violence since March 2023, but Marvel’s reluctance to distance itself from Kang and his many variants puts the franchise in a difficult spot.
The controversy was especially apparent as Loki returned for its second season. Its Season 1 finale introduced Kang’s omniscient variant, He Who Remains, and set the stage for Kang himself to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. A handful of insiders warned about Majors’ growing role in the MCU, particularly in Loki Season 2. A blistering tell-all from Variety implied that Episode 6 put Marvel in an impossible position: “I don’t see a path to how they move forward with him,” one dealmaker told the trade.
Now that Loki’s final episode is out, however, those concerns were definitely overblown. Sure, Majors is a presence in the finale — he returns as He Who Remains, as well as his 19th-century variant, Victor Timely — but the show is still, first and foremost, about its title character. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) reaches his final form in Season 2, patenting his own personal brand of time travel and reshaping the entire multiverse in his image. By the time the credits roll, he’s surpassed He Who Remains as the steward of time. The finale feels like the perfect resolution to Marvel’s biggest issue: It closes the book not just on Loki and the Time Variance Authority, but maybe even on Kang altogether.
Could the Loki Finale Give the MCU a Chance to Solve Its Kang Problem?
Back at the TVA, Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) discuss the threat that Kang’s remaining variants could pose in the future. Now that they know the truth, they’re able to monitor each of them — and they don’t seem too fazed by any of them. The biggest acknowledgement they give to the Kang variants’ potential threat is the mention of one causing some “ruckus” in an Earth-616 adjacent realm, but that the universe’s heroes handled it.
That’s subject to change, of course, especially if Marvel sticks with its plan to build Kang up to Thanos’ level in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. But it’d be just as feasible to phase Kang out of future projects entirely. Loki brought peace to the multiverse, at least for a little while. That gives Marvel time to pivot to a different conflict, and a less controversial antagonist.
There’s no shortage of characters that could take Kang’s place as the Multiverse Saga’s big bad. Variety claims that the studio could replace Kang with Victor von Doom, which may take some finagling — but the Loki series finale offers plenty of alternatives. The Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall theorized that, since Loki essentially replaced He Who Remains, his variants may end up starting the next multiversal war. Such a pivot could potentially undo the character’s decade-long redemption arc, but there are ways to keep Loki’s fitting end intact.
If all else fails, there’s always Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The TVA judge caused plenty of trouble for our heroes in Loki Season 2. She’s demonstrated her own ruthlessness time and again, and though the series never fully adapts her tenuous relationship with Kang onto the big screen, it does set her on something of a war path. In Episode 6, Ravonna is exiled to the Void at the end of time, and there’s a chance that she meets her end then and there. Knowing Ravonna, though, killing her won’t be easy. She could just as easily pop up in the future under a new alias, Terminatrix, and make life hard for our heroes at the TVA and in the real world.
Whatever Marvel chooses to do, there’s no excuse moving forward. Kang might have been instrumental to Loki, but the franchise does not need him to make the Multiverse Saga interesting. If anything, his presence would only distract from the larger story. Marvel has all the tools they need to make a seamless transition in a new direction.