Loki is about to catapult the Marvel Cinematic Universe into truly weird territory. The series has pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated aspects of the MCU, including the multiverse – the science-fiction concept that was glimpsed in Avengers: Endgame, acted as a red herring in Spider-Man: Far From Home, featured as an Easter egg in WandaVision, and will potentially have a major impact on Spider-Man 3. Now, ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Loki has sent us careening into that unexplored territory.
Loki, the God of Mischief, has long been a chaotic character. Whether scheming with Thanos to conquer planet Earth (The Avengers) or lounging around in disguise as Anthony Hopkins (Thor: Ragnarok), Loki is unpredictable. Considering how the new Disney Plus series has already shown that Loki is D.B. Cooper and the villain is another Loki variant, it's a certainty that the show will continue Loki's devious and outlandish antics.
That, of course, goes without mentioning a bizarre animated talking clock that tells Loki about the multiverse, the Sacred Timeline, and Nexus events. Thanks to the Time Variance Authority, or TVA, we now know there was once a multiversal war and that the Timekeepers are taking great pains to prevent a catastrophic timeline event from ever happening again. However, they didn't count on this chaotic version of Loki, snatched from the events of The Avengers, turning up. There's a high chance the show could be setting up Marvel's next Endgame-style cinematic event: Secret Wars.
A multiverse of possibilities
Secret Wars is one of the best known comic-book arcs. There are two versions: the first essentially sees multiple versions of the same heroes and villains fighting each other; the second depicts several alternate universes mixing together, with some vanishing completely. Now, think of those Spider-Man 3 rumors about three cinematic Spider-Men finally meeting, and imagine the possibilities when Loki inevitably ends with the Sacred Timeline splintering. That's one massive, universe-shaking event.
One sign of things to come – other than the Doctor Strange sequel having "multiverse" in the title – is the incoming villain Kang the Conqueror, a timeline-travelling supervillain who conquers numerous eras and empires throughout Marvel's history and will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The Loki series has already teased his presence with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter egg. Considering Kang could be a Thanos-level villain, this is a huge deal. Could he show up early in Loki, like Thanos' appearances pre-Infinity War? It's entirely possible.
There are a few characters in Loki with comic-book connections to Kang. First, there's Owen Wilson's Mobius M. Mobius, who once applied for a job in Chronopolis, the far-flung future city ruled by Kang (Mobius then used the job offer to leverage a promotion at the TVA). With links to She-Hulk and Fantastic Four, could Mobius end up being the Nick Fury of timeline oddity, the constant that connects all the multiverse shenanigans?
Then there's Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Judge Ravonna Lexus Renslayer, who has her own complex history with Kang: in fact, Kang once fell deeply in love with Ravonna. Plus, the TVA has its own twisted history, and in the comics held a tribunal for the Fantastic Four after they meddled with time. And while none of this might make the jump to the MCU – remember the cautionary tale of WandaVision fan theories, like the aerospace engineer? – it's interesting how many links these characters have with potential upcoming projects.
There has already been some confirmation that Loki will have a lasting impact. The series' head writer Michael Waldron, who also penned the Doctor Strange sequel, has indicated that Loki will be making a splash. When asked if the Disney Plus series will link to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he told Total Film: "That would just be crazy conjecture… All of these stories, in their own way, are interconnected, and have ramifications. I think that certainly our aim with the Loki series was for it to have wide-reaching ramifications across the MCU moving forward. So, you know, was I having to clean up some of the messes that I made [with Loki]? Maybe so."
It's also worth noting that all of the Marvel Phase 4 shows have sent tremors through the MCU to varying degrees. WandaVision might not have been the reality bending shocker we predicted, but it did give Monica Rambeau powers ahead of The Marvels (AKA Captain Marvel 2) and turned Wanda into the Scarlet Witch. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier widened the MCU with the debut of Madripoor, introduced Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa, who recruited US Agent, and officially crowned Sam Wilson the new Captain America. It's no surprise that Loki looks set to be just as important as its predecessors – potentially even more momentous.
With its combination of an anarchic main character and its willingness to dive into timeline mischief, Loki looks set to blow the bloody doors off the MCU, reshaping our understanding of events both past and future. As Samuel L. Jackson said in a different cinematic universe: "Hold onto your butts."