Just when you thought Marvel had already conquered every possible inch of the realm of pop culture, think again! Studio 8H, the legendary filming site of “Saturday Night Live,” will be the new home of Marvel fan favorites for two back-to-back weeks. Jonathan Majors, fresh off his buzzworthy debut as He Who Remains in the Disney+ series “Loki,” will be hosting the show on Nov. 13, followed by Simu Liu, the beloved star of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” on Nov. 20. Both of these actors represent a new wave of Marvel stars, as they are only in the beginning stages of character arcs that are bound to continue throughout many films and seasons of television.
Beyond getting excited to see some of your favorite superheroes (and supervillains) try out goofy sketch comedy, the fact that “Saturday Night Live” is providing such a massive platform to stars like Jonathan Majors and Simu Liu should be celebrated. While it is true that every Marvel fanatic is aware of these actors and their obvious talent, “Saturday Night Live” is so different from anything Marvel produces that it will undoubtedly introduce a whole new demographic to these relatively new stars.
Moreover, pairing a lesser-known star like Jonathan Majors with an extremely well-established musical guest like Taylor Swift, who will be promoting the release of her latest re-recorded album “Red (Taylor’s Version),” only further amplifies the potential positive effect the show can have for an actor’s popularity. The same can be said of Kieran Culkin, a standout on HBO’s “Succession” who recently hosted the show on Nov. 6 with musical guest Ed Sheeran.
Although it must be tempting for “Saturday Night Live” to constantly recruit big name stars to host the show for the sake of ensuring high ratings, this trend of handing the stage over to budding talent is even more exciting. Audiences are already aware of how talented hosts and comedy legends such as Kristen Wiig and John Mulaney are at sketch comedy — and while space should and likely will always be made for them, hopefully the show continues to allow audiences to be surprised by the breadth of comedic talent present in Hollywood newcomers. With network television slowly but surely succumbing to streaming giants, “Saturday Night Live” possesses an increasingly rare form of cultural capital, and it is rather admirable for the show to employ that capital to broaden the scope of pop culture.
Inversely, it is rather remarkable that Marvel, which used to constitute a rather niche aspect of American culture, has garnered so much popularity in the public sphere that it can now send even some of its newest stars to the hallowed halls of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.