How Jonathan Majors Paid Tribute To Heath Ledger’s Joker With Marvel’s Kang
We can see it.
When Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania finally opens in theaters on February 17, we are going to be introduced to a variant of Kang (Jonathan Majors), a conqueror that will be different from the version we saw in the Loki season finale but possibly only one of many Kangs that might cause headaches for the Avengers. But when he was preparing to bring this version of Kang to life on the big screen, Majors was looking to another contemporary classic villain who casts a major shadow over basically every other comic-book villain that has followed in its wake: Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight.
But as Jonathan Majors was doing press for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania this week, he revealed a specific tribute he worked in to Heath Ledger’s Joker, and it has to do with the scars that can be found on Kang’s face. Speaking with ReelBlend co-host Kevin McCarthy, Majors played coy regarding the origins of the scars on Kang’s face, and said that’s deliberate due to Ledger’s own vagueness. As the actor said:
You know what isn’t a secret? The fact that Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight changed the way the industry thought about superhero movies. His method shifted the concept of an actor’s approach to the genre, and led to more audiences taking these roles more seriously. There’s a reason that Joaquin Phoenix gave Ledger so much credit while winning his own Oscar for playing Joker in Joker.
Remember these scenes?
That performance heavily influenced Jonathan Majors, who also explained to EW:
Some critics have already seen Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Here's what they thought of it.
Majors told EW that he grew up in difficult neighborhoods, but he understood that the people around him weren’t all bad. There wasn’t “black or white” when it came to innocence. There are morally grey areas in our society, and the actor wanted to bring some of that deliberation to his acting gigs. He went on to explain:
Which is a huge part of the reason why Majors is one of the most exciting actors that we have working today. In even blockbuster fare like Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, he’s figuring out how to bring shades of doubt to our concept of a villain. Does Scott Lang agree with Kang, in certain aspects? And will that complexity also help us to possibly side with Majors’s character in Creed 3?
As he concludes to EW:
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of several upcoming marvel projects heading to both theaters and Disney+ this year. Make sure you bookmark our upcoming Marvel guide so you are able to stay up on all of the stories that will be unfolding in the studio’s sprawling Phase 5.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.