With episode two of Loki only just hitting Disney+, it would be madness to believe it would give us anything huge and potentially devastating to the future of the MCU this early on. However, considering we are talking about a series centering on the God of Mischief, and it looks like we should perhaps begin to expect the unexpected. By the end of episode two, not only have we had a much rumored villain be confirmed, but perhaps we have also seen the creation of the multiverse that will bear heavily on the upcoming Phase Four movies. Spoilers are most definitely coming.
The climax of Loki’s second episode left us with our first taste of the much expected Lady Loki’s arrival in the universe, but what was more surprising was her seemingly creating the Multiverse of Madness that Doctor Strange will come up against in his new solo outing next year, and which is rumored to have an impact on the likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Ant -Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, and on Disney+ also gives a nice lead in to the upcoming animated What If…? series. So has Loki really blown its doors off only a third of the way in?
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While it was revealed at the end of episode one that the Time Variance Authority were trying to track down a “variant” that was highly suggested to be another version of Loki, I don’t think anyone really expected that by the end of the follow hour we would not have only been formally introduced to what turned out to be a female variant of Tom Hiddleston’s character, but that she would have set in motion a series of resets along the series’ “sacred timeline” that has effectively created the “multiverse of madness” that the TVA have been trying to prevent and set up Doctor Strange 2 in the process. With each of her “resets” branching a new timeline, and many of them almost at a point of being irreversible, it seems that as well as her targets on 20th century Earth – which could itself lead to some of the potential cameos we have been promised by writer Michael Waldron – there are a number of well-established extraterrestrial locations mentioned that have played important roles in the MCU’s history.
The list of these locations includes Hala and Xandar, both of which are far back in time, having an impact on the history of the Kree among others. The living planet of Ego, which was played by Kurt Russell in Guardians of The Galaxy 2 in which it was revealed as Star-Lord’s father. Nefleheim, Sakaar and Asguard, the destruction of which would throw out the timelines of Thor, Hulk and Loki himself, as well as seeing the destruction of the Asgardians and eradicating the events of Ragnarok in the process. Finally, the only future location on the list, Vormir in the year 2301, the once-home of the Soul Stone that was referred to by Nebula as “the center of Celestial existence”. What could the destruction of Vormir bring into or take out of the MCU over 200 years in the future from current events?
With so many branching realities created in one swoop, we are looking at not only a very interesting series developing for Loki that pretty much rips up the rule book on the little we thought we knew about the series, but also a possible explanation of the What If..? series, which will deal with various alternative reality theories from within the MCU and could well be a more important part of the overall story than the small flight of fancy it seems to be on the surface. Add to this suggestions that the branching realities set in motion here could eventually lead us to the X-Men’s arrival, but have bearing on the sudden appearance of The Eternals after they remained hidden throughout the events of the Infinity Saga, and could have a connection to Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, which is expected to feature time travel using the Quantum Realm and of course the arrival of Kang The Conqeror, the movie’s villain who is no stranger to time travel himself.
It is safe to say that going into Loki, many were probably expecting a rollicking good adventure, but no one expected this much, this early in proceedings. It’s time to sit up and take note, as it looks like the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has begun right now. New episodes of Loki arrive on Disney+ on Wednesdays.