For comic book geeks and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it was old news that Lovecraft Country and Da 5 Bloods star Jonathan Majors was set to join the MCU in the third installment of the Ant-Man franchise.
What we didn’t know, what we couldn’t know was that Majors would actually make his Marvel-world debut in the season finale of the highly-acclaimed Disney+ Loki series. An appearance, by the way, that placed the entire season in a much different and MUCH blacker context.
In a powerful piece written for theGrio, Dr. Jason Johnson, professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University and Political Contributor at MSNBC and SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio said Disney has a history of hitting fans with some unintentional Blackness. More specifically, he wrote:
Every once in a while Disney shocks viewers with some unintentionally extra-Black revolutionary messaging in their movies and TV shows. While some saw Zootopia as a story of funny animated animal cops solving crime, you don’t have to don a full kufi and dashiki to realize it was obviously a metaphor for how white supremacy led to the War on Drugs – I certainly did!
This kind of messaging slips out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. You could easily rename Captain America: Civil War as “Captain America Defunds S.H.I.E.L.D” and nobody would’ve noticed. WandaVision was the story of a magical Karen going through a quarter-life crisis and the token Black friend who literally had to gain superpowers to stop her from terrorizing the neighborhood.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier was about a Black guy who gets screwed over by ‘The Man’; and has a choice between joining a radical liberation movement run by a Black woman or take the base out of his voice, occasionally put on whiteface and work within the system. Basically Barack Obama with wings and a shield.
However, Johnson contends, and I concur, that the Loki season finale was not about subtle blackness, read-between-the-line messages of our dopenessor just belowthe surface coded messages of Black affirmations that would elicit from us head knod “We see you Marvel.”
No. With Major’s appearance in the show, along with the character he plays and the implications of his actions, Marvel hit audiences, and Blackfolk in particular, with what George Clinton would describe as “The P-Funk, uncut Funk, the Bomb!”
Here’s how Johnson described it:
Loki’s finale frames the whole season as a parable of whiteness in America, how Black people fight and toil to hold this whole dysfunctional country together only to see White America tear it all down if they don’t get what they want, even if it dooms us all. Essentially, Disney made the perfect Black Lives Matter show for post-Insurrection America.
And believe me, I’m not worried in the least that my words written hereare spoiling things for those who haven’t been keeping up with the show. Blackfolk on every social media platform in existence already took care of that, posting, Facebook Living, tweeting and Tic Toking their responses to the major reveals of Blackness Majors put down.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one character appear on screen or stage in a mid or late-season cameo and change the entire game like “Atticus,” excuse me, like “He Who Remains” did in Loki episode 6. Majors’ brief time on screen radically changed how the audience sees the shows many storylines, institutions and events, and how viewers define all the other characters [played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ravonna), Wunmi Mosaku (Hunter B-15), Owen Wilson (Mobius), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and others].
I’m not even going to attempt to catch up the uninitiated on who Loki actually is and how he relates to the Avengers and others. I’m not going to give you a rundown of the main characters or institutions in Loki (okay, I will tell you that the TVA is an all-powerful operation responsible for keep all order in the known worlds. They are “Big Brother” with more power and attitude that in the novel 1984).
But I’m not going to go deep into Marvel Comics lore and provide you with cliff notes on Majors’ character…although his character (Kang… Majors is playing Kang the Conqueror, or at least one version of him. It’s complicated) was long given away by Blackfolk who don’t know how to act on social media.
But the reason they/we lost all posting decorum is because of the impact of Majors’ appearance, his actions in the episode and the implications that will reverberate throughout the Marvel Multiverse for years and movies and TV series to come.
Yes, it was that deep.
But what made it even deeper was what Majors’ role says about Blackfolks’ place not only in America, not only globally, but literally our place and role and impact in and upon the cosmos.
Again, yes, it was that deep.
And like I said, I’m not doing a show synopsis, but I will let Johnson provide you with a piece of one:
The TVA is trying to stop a white woman named Sylvie (Silvia Di Martino) a version of Loki from another dimension who wants to destroy the whole system because it ‘ruined her life.’ Sylvie rallies white men (Loki and Mobius) to help her take down this entire Black-run business because she can’t get customer service on the line. How does she do it? By seducing Hunter B-15, an underappreciated Black woman, into believing that she can have a better life by betraying Ravonna and the entire TVA.
But you don’t have to believe me. Check out some of the responses our sisteren and brethern shared on them internets after viewing the Loki season finale:
And don’t forget the memes…