|For alternate versions of He Who Remains, see He Who Remains' Character Hub|
Nathaniel Richards was the first Variant who came into contact with alternate universes and other Variants of himself. When some of these Variants, such as Kang the Conqueror, attempted to conquer other realities, a Multiversal War ensued, which Richards ended by weaponizing Alioth. Under the moniker of He Who Remains he founded and ruled the Time Variance Authority to preserve the Sacred Timeline and prevent the rise of his counterparts. Residing at the Citadel at the End of Time for eons, He eventually met Loki and Sylvie Laufeydottir, where he was killed by the latter.
Defeating his Variants
While living on Earth, Nathaniel Richards discovered the existence of the Multiverse, consisting of alternate universes and alternate versions of himself. One of these Variants, a scientist in the 31st century, caused them to meet each other and share their knowledge and technology. However, some of his Variants, such as Kang the Conqueror, saw the alternate universes as places to rule over, thus starting the Multiversal War. After discovering Alioth, Richards harnessed its power and ended the war. Isolating a collection of realities who followed the same baseline, collection later dubbed the Sacred Timeline, Richards, now dubbed He Who Remains, created the Time Variance Authority to govern and protect it from being overrun by his other Variants.
He settled in a castle named the Citadel at the End of Time, from which he watched the Sacred Timeline. When Loki and Sylvie Laufeydottir approached his castle, he invited them in to speak with him. When Sylvie called him He Who Remains, he laughed that Miss Minutes was still referring to him as that, but said that He liked the name.
He tried to speak with Loki and Sylvie in the elevator, but Sylvie was too intent on revenge and tried to kill him repeatedly. However, He evaded her using his TemPad, and transported himself to his office.
He invited Loki and Sylvie into his office and to sit down in chairs in front of his table and offered them drinks. Eventually, the two sat down and he told them that he knew everything that would happen, showing them a script of the future. He then told them about the history about his Variants, the Multiversal War, Alioth, and why He created the Time Variance Authority. He then went on to say that not all of his Variants were like him, with some being evil versions of himself.
He then told Loki and Sylvie that he had put in place everything for them to get to him, stating he had let them go to Lamentis-1 and the Void. He told them that he wanted to be sure that it was them who could take his place. Stating that he was much older than he looked and was tired, He asked them to take his place to be in charge of the TVA and the timeline. He offered them two choices; kill him, letting the Sacred Timeline expand into the Multiverse and thereby letting his evil Variants wreak havoc - or become his disciples and ultimately the leaders of the TVA. However, Sylvie believed he was lying.
After thunder crackled above, He told Loki and Sylvie that they had just crossed the Threshold, which meant that he no longer was able to know what would happen in the future. He realized that branches started to grow off of the timeline. He told them that he was being honest with them about what would happen with whatever choice they made and offered up his TemPad to them to use.
He then witnessed Sylvie and Loki duel each other, as Loki was trying to stop Sylvie from making the wrong choice. He witnessed Sylvie and Loki's kiss and Sylvie's use of the TemPad to throw Loki out of the Citadel through a Timedoor. He told Sylvie he was impressed, before she threw his table aside and stabbed him in the chest. He winked at her, however, and cryptically told her that he would see her soon, before laughing and dying as his evil Variant's takeover was inevitable. Outside, the Sacred Timeline expanded infinitely, as he promised would happen, and thus the Multiverse became fractured.
He Who Remains has a playful, but almost unhinged personality. Underneath this, he is a scientist who has lived for the equivalent of a million lifetimes and grown tired of it all, explaining his flippancy. Nonetheless he is honest in his conviction that his actions were the least possible evil out of all potential outcomes, and that he was preserving peace with the one Sacred Timeline in order to prevent another catastrophic Multiversal War.
Powers and Abilities
- Nigh-Omniscience: Up until "the threshold," He Who Remains knew everything in the Sacred Timeline.
- Nigh-Immortality: He Who Remains was considered immortal, having lived for tens of millions of years due to the fact that he resided at the end of time. He did not age at all, and would have lived forever if he had not been killed by Sylvie Laufeydottir.
- Genius-Level Intellect: He Who Remains had the intellect and foresight to create the Time Variance Authority, a sprawling bureaucratic organization of enormous size and complexity. He also developed the protocols that the TVA used to pinpoint "Nexus Events" and prevent them from causing new timelines to branch off. He was successful at maintaining a single "Sacred Timeline" for millions of subjective years, and only failed in the end because he allowed himself to be found and defeated. He also had the intellect to tame and successfully weaponize Alioth, a being made of all the tears in time, and make it the guardian of his castle.
- Master Tactician: He Who Remains was a mastermind capable of setting up incredibly complex and elaborate plans and carrying them out flawlessly. He established an entire false history of the TVA for propaganda purposes, claiming that it was created by a trio of alien Time-Keepers and concealing the fact that its employees were Variants themselves. He also orchestrated Loki and Sylvie's rebellion against the TVA and led them to his castle, all while allowing them to think they were acting on their own initiative.
- Master Engineer: He Who Remains created lifelike androids designed to resemble the mythical Time-Keepers of his false history, using them as proxies to control the TVA from the shadows. He was also one of very few people to successfully develop Time Travel, and invented the highly advanced technology that the TVA uses to control the timestream.
- Multifunctional Tool: He Who Remains had an advanced tool that include many functions of the Time Variance Authority regular equipment. He used a function to produce a substance which could be morphed into various shapes such as figures of himself, his Variants, Alioth, and the Multiverse when telling Loki and Sylvie Laufeydottir about the Multiversal War.
- Citadel at the End of Time: After the Multiversal War, He Who Remains settled in a castle, dubbed the Citadel at the End of Time, located on an asteroid. For eons, he took up residence at the castle and watched the sacred timeline.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character is a composite of two characters in the comics:
- He Who Remains, the director of the Time Variance Authority in the Citadel at the End of Time. The "end of time" is merely the end of one iteration of the universe, before the next one begins. He Who Remains created the Time-Twisters in an attempt to teach the next universe; however, they were twisted and wrecked havoc across all of time. Thor and Jane Foster travelled to the end of time and convinced He Who Remains to kill them before they could be born. He Who Remains then created the Time-Keepers to protect time.
- Immortus, a future variant of Nathaniel Richards who worked for the Time-Keepers and opposed his past selves, notably Kang the Conqueror.
Behind the Scenes
- David Charles Warren III was a stunt double for Jonathan Majors in the role of He Who Remains.
- Eric Martin revealed that in one version of the For All Time. Always. episode, there would be a vast display room where He Who Remains kept artifacts from the timeline, like a massive version of the one belonging to Ravonna Renslayer.
- Martin also described He Who Remains as "Almost like a young tech CEO. As much a genius as they are charlatan".
- According to Jonathan Majors, He Who Remains' apparel came from different time periods. His cape came from the Victorian era, the shoes are from Genghis Khan himself and the pants are from Mongolia.