And that’s how Marvel’s great Multiversal War began. The season finale of Loki removed the sacred timeline with one twist of the blade, and opened the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the terrifying concept of… free will? That’s the endgame embraced by He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) – the timeline-guarding despot that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) confront at the Citadel at the End of Time, which we like to imagine this down the street from the Restaurant at the end of the universe. Maybe we’ll visit that hotspot soon: Disney+ closed “For All Time. Always” with the big reveal that Loki is the first Marvel series to score a season 2.
For most of its runtime, the Season 1 finale played out as a one-man monologue, as Majors explains to his captors exactly who he is, how he came to be, and the consequences their action — or inaction — will have. have on the MCU in the future. It is already known that the actor will play Kang the Conqueror in Phase 4, but the version we meet here might be Immortus, the so-called “Gardener of Time.” That would certainly be in line with his obsession with “pruning” errant branches of the timestream.
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Here’s the short version of his backstory: In his own part of the timeline, Kang/Immortus was a 31st century scientist who discovers that other universes, with different variants, are stacked on top of his own universe. Those variants initially got along well, but inevitably started a feud that culminated in a full-fledged Multiversal War.
Our Kang/Immortus finally got the upper hand by transferring the powers from Alioth – a being that cannot be bound by such simple concepts as time and space. To keep the forces of multiverse chaos at bay, he then began building the Time Variance Authority, recruiting unwitting variants – including our friends Ravonna, Mobius, and Hunter B-15 – to act as his police force. Kang then presents Loki and Sylvie with a choice: show him the exit and take his place in the Citadel or kill him and release the war dogs.
Of course the vengeful Sylvie chooses the latter. By defeating Loki in one-on-one battles and sending him through a door back to the TVA, the impostor and sorceress drops her knife into the chest of He Who Remains. Moments later, she watches through the windows of the Citadel as the sacred timeline sprouts branch after branch. As for Loki, he is treated to a Planet of the Apes-cliffhanger ending — the Tim Burton version, not Chuck Heston’s — when he discovers he’s in an alternate version of TVA HQ: one that exists in the shadow of Kang’s looming statue.
Needless to say, Twitter struggled to catch a breath after the season finale’s universe-changing implications.
So where do we go from here? Sure, all those branching timelines point in one direction: the upcoming Marvel animated series, What if…?, which premieres on August 11, and features variants like T’Challa Star Lord, Captain Carter, and Iron Killmonger — all voiced by their traditional live-action counterparts, including Chadwick Boseman’s final appearance as Wakanda’s King.
The multiverse effects will also be felt in December Spider-Man: No Way Home, as Alfred Molina has already confirmed his return as the Doc Ock from Sam Raimi’s original trilogy, while rumors of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s participation also continue to circulate. And speaking of Raimi, the director is coming director Doctor Strange sequel — opening in March — put the Multiverse in its damn title!
Meanwhile, there’s little mystery about the cryptic “See you soon” goodbye He Who Remains gave Sylvie just after she stabbed him. Majors is currently filming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania where he will officially take on the mantle of the conqueror variant of Kang. The film will hit theaters on February 17, 2023 and conclude Peyton Reed’s trilogy of small adventures, though Kang is guaranteed to play a huge role in the future.
As for where on the Phase 4 timeline Season 2 of Loki could fall, that remains to be seen. Nor the Emmy nominee WandaVision nor The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are getting a second year as Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ slate focuses on freshman shows like hawkeye — who has a strong Black Widow link — Mrs. Marvel, She Hulk and Moon Knight, all of which are in different stages of production or post-production.
But the Loki creative team, including director Kate Herron and writer Michael Waldron, have yet to announce their own return to work date or even not return at all. (Waldron has a second job on a top secret Star Wars project overseen by Kevin Feige, head of Marvel.) When it flows, Hiddleston’s loyal army of impostors is ready for more alligator-heavy journeys into mystery.
Loki is currently streaming on Disney+
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