Tom Hiddleston on Track To Solve Disney’s Major “Johnny Depp” Problem

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Tom Hiddleston as Loki (L) and Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow (R)

Credit: Marvel Studios (L) / Disney (R)

Tom Hiddleston is back on screens as the God of Mischief, Loki Laufeyson, in the Michael Waldron-created Loki series on Disney+. The beloved actor is now likely set to solve The Walt Disney Company’s major new “Johnny Depp” problem.

Tom Hiddleston looking scared and sad in the 'Loki' series
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Loki series first debuted in June 2021, unprecedently, on a Wednesday, changing the Disney formula of releasing new material on a Friday. Loki debuted with the biggest audience viewership and ushered in a major change for the House of Mouse’s streaming agenda.

Loki came after the likes of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and before TV shows like What If…?, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and Secret Invasion. To this day, the Loki series is still the most revered of the catalog, merging a time travel adventure with a deeper exploration of Hiddleston’s long-standing Marvel Cinematic Universe character.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Loki series
Credit: Marvel Studios

After first appearing in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor (2011), Hiddleston went on to star in numerous projects in Kevin Feige’s interconnected universe. From Phase Two’s Thor: The Dark World (2013) to Taika Waititi’s acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Avengers movies such as Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Hiddleston’s God of Mischief is as popular as many of the MCU’s more central characters.

The Loki series saw audiences re-introduced to the 2012 version of Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) son and brought the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA), numerous Loki Variants, and the Multiverse into the MCU. Owen Wilson (Mobius M. Mobius), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ravonna Renslayer), Wumni Mosaku (Hunter B-15), Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie), Eugene Cordero (Casey), Tara Strong (Miss Minutes), and Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains.

Loki, OB, Mobius, and Hunter B-15 in 'Loki'
Credit: Marvel Studios

In the Loki Season 1 finale, Loki and Sylvie venture to the End of Time, where they encounter the TVA creator and manipulator of time, He Who Remains. Acting as one of Kang the Conqueror’s Variants, Jonathan Majors brought a Shakespearean gravitas to the MCU and was immediately celebrated as a positive addition to the franchise.

He would return to Feige’s live-action Marvel universe in this year’s and Phase Five’s first entry, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), from director Peyton Reed, and starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the eponymous heroes. While the movie was slated by critics and audiences alike, one highlight was the return of Majors, this time as the chilling Kang the Conqueror — or at least a Variant more akin to the Marvel Comics character.

Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains in Loki Season 1
Credit: Marvel Studios

Shortly after, though, perception would shift regarding the MCU’s new Big Bad. In March 2023, Majors was arrested in New York City for a domestic disturbance case, including assault, harassment, and strangulation. He was arranged in the New York City courts a day later, pleading his innocence and telling the public that this was a misunderstanding that would undoubtedly blow over.

Around the same time, Majors’ attorney Priya Chaudhry released text messages allegedly sent by the victim, recanting the claims of abuse. Majors’ team eventually countersued his alleged victim, later identified as British citizen Grace Jabbari, who was arrested in late October, but her prosecution would not stand.

“The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has officially declined to prosecute the case against Grace Jabbari because it lacks prosecutorial merit. The matter is now closed and sealed,” an official told US Weekly (via Yahoo! Entertainment). Majors’ trial date is set for November 29, 2023.

Jonathan Majors wearing an orange polo in an office in Devotion
Credit: Columbia Pictures

This type of case is all too familiar in the Hollywood sphere, thanks to last year’s high-profile defamation lawsuit between the former married couple and actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Spanning close to six years, the pair’s legal battle crossed continents and came to a head in Fairfax County, Virginia, last year, where the jury — presided over by Judge Penney Azcarate — found that Amber Heard had defamed Johnny Depp in matters relating to her now-disclaimed opinion essay in The Washington Post.

The defamation case came two years after the libel trial in London, United Kingdom, in which Depp lost his case against British publication The Sun and its parent company, News Group Newspapers LTD. The result of the 2020 libel trial left Depp shut out of his roles in Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts franchise and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Johnny Depp screaming as Jack Sparrow
Credit: Disney

As Disney and Marvel face their new “Johnny Depp” problem with Majors’ domestic abuse trial, it is not yet clear just how the House of Mouse will act when it comes to his future with the franchise. In the run-up to the release of the next chapter of the Loki series, where Majors would reappear as Variant Victor Timely, executive producer Kevin Wright acknowledged that the Majors situation was “complicated,” suggesting that Marvel Studios and Disney are waiting for a verdict to be given before making any decisions. Fans are expecting plans, including Majors’ Kang, to change, potentially establishing a new villain for the upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2026) and Avengers: Secret Wars (2027).

Jonathan Majors as Victory Timely presenting his Temporal Loom in 'Loki' 2.04
Credit: Marvel Studios

Enter Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston may be the face of Loki in the MCU, but dots have been connected to suggest the actor may be taking over another role in the Loki series — and potentially beyond into the rest of the franchise. A recent teaser and mid-season trailer for Loki Season 2 reveal that Tom Hiddleston is likely going to solve Disney’s major new “Johnny Depp” problem by becoming the new He Who Remains.

Sharing to X (formerly Twitter), the official Loki account revealed new footage for the final two episodes of the season.

You won’t believe what’s coming. Catch up on Episode 4 of #Loki Season 2, before a new episode arrives this Thursday at 6PM PT on @DisneyPlus

In the clip, there is a short scene that shows streaks of green magic, and eagle-eyed fans have noticed something similar in a recent teaser. Novelle (@novellex) posted images of the image, which shows a different version of Loki walking down some steps and using the same type of green magic.

OH MY GOD????

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This then caused another user to point out that the background looks very similar to the throne room in the citadel of He Who Remains at the End of Time, and another post called out the similarities in the costumes of both Loki and He Who Remains. All these signs point to the arrival of a new Loki Variant that will likely take over the role that Jonathan Majors left behind.

And this idea isn’t as far-fetched as one might think; in fact, Kevin Wright also confirmed that during the early plans for Loki Season 1, Tom Hiddleston was considered to play He Who Remains. The show officials, however, decided to opt against a Loki Variant being He Who Remains, as not to make this sprawling Multiverse feel too small.

Tom Hiddleston looking scared and sad in the 'Loki' series
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Removes Chris Hemsworth, Goes All in on Tom Hiddleston

As for Jonathan Majors, Disney recently dropped the actor’s award-season vehicle, Magazine Dreams (TBD), from its December release date, leaving its release indefinitely delayed. After his arrest, both the United States Army and Texas Rangers dropped their Majors-featured ad campaigns, and his role in The Man in my Basement, an adaptation of Walter Mosley’s 2004 novel of the same name, will also be recast.

Loki Season 2 sees the return of many of the first season’s cast members, with Academy Award winner Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) joining the show as Ouroboros/”O.B.” in the new season.

What do you think of Tom Hiddleston taking over Jonathan Majors’ role in the Loki series and potentially further beyond in the MCU? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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