The saga of Mobius M. Mobius just keeps getting stranger.
Owen Wilson's performance as the character in the first season of Disney Plus' Loki show quickly garnered him a legion of fans despite his lack of flash as an action-oriented superhero.
Mobius may strike the image of a high school history teacher, but he's proven his worth both as a badass field analyst and something of an armchair psychologist, managing to get inside Loki's head and, even more remarkably, seemingly making a genuine friend of the Norse god of mischief and the MCU's foremost lovable miscreant in the process.
With a brand new trailer for the hotly anticipated second season having just landed it's clear that both Loki and Mobius will have their work cut out as they investigate the multiversal threat posed by Kang. Before the new series lands, why not get up-to-speed on the mind-bending comics history of the character? Spoilers ahead for Loki season 1.
Who is Mobius M. Mobius in Marvel comic books?
Mobius M. Mobius - 'Moby' to his pals - is one of the uncountable number of bureaucrats working for the Time Variance Authority, a cosmic organization which exists outside of time, that monitors and fixes trouble in the timestream.
Nearly all of the agents of the comic book TVA are clones, genetically engineered to serve their specific functions in the organization under so-called lifetime employment, rising through the infinitely vast ranks of the TVA until they are killed or meet some other fate.
In the case of Moby (we're all friends here right?), he started out in middle management before rising all the way to the rank of one of the TVA's judges of time-based crimes thanks to his eidetic memory for facts and minutiae.
It's in this capacity that Moby (it's growing on us, we're starting to think less of the musician now) has had most of his encounters with the Marvel Universe at large - though not with Loki, whose comic book relationship with the TVA is limited to a few panels.
Instead, Moby spent a good portion of his time chasing down Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, trying to make him and his team take responsibility for their own time-breaking shenanigans.
First appearing in 1991's Fantastic Four #353 from writer/artist Walt Simonson, Mobius M. Mobius was one of the managers who dispatched Justice Peace (the first TVA agent to appear, also created, as was the TVA itself, by Simonson) to bring in the members of the FF. The Fantastic Four naturally resisted, and Moby became something of a recurring nemesis for the team as he managed to move up in the TVA's ranks despite his failure to capture the FF.
Ironically, it was actually the Fantastic Four who wound up helping Mobius get his promotion, as they helped him apply for work in Chronopolis, the far-flung future city ruled by Kang the Conqueror. In business terms, Moby leveraged his offer from Kang to garner a promotion from the TVA, which set him on his upward trajectory from then on.
Later, Moby (that's the Honorable Judge Mobius M. Mobius to you!) was one of the judges who presided over the trial of Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk in the story She-Hulk: Time Trials - and the only judge at the trial to survive the attack of the villain Clockwise, who She-Hulk defeated to earn her freedom.
And that's pretty much where comic books left Mobius M. Mobius - although, with time travel and the TVA involved, it's not so much a matter of if he'll return, it's a matter of when.
Who was Mobius M. Mobius based on?
Oddly enough, Moby's comic book appearance is itself based on a real person - none other than long-time Marvel Comics writer and editor Mark Gruenwald, whose years-long run on Captain America introduced the character of John Walker and formed the basis of much of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Likewise, Gruenwald's work on the Avengers, which helped define the powers and origin of the Scarlet Witch including tying in the Darkhold to her history, was hugely influential in the story of WandaVison.
Known for his almost encyclopedic knowledge of and memory for the history of Marvel Comics, Gruenwald started as an editor for the publisher in 1978. Following a brief diversion as a penciler (including a few illustrations for DC's Who's Who character guide), Gruenwald began contributing to Marvel Comics as a writer in the early '80s alongside his editorial duties.
Like Mobius M. Mobius, Gruenwald became known at Marvel Comics for his nearly inexhaustible knowledge of the publisher's characters and history, eventually taking a position as Marvel's executive editor while also writing his seminal Captain America run.
When Walt Simonson created Moby, he drew on the demeanor and encyclopedic mind of Gruenwald, paying homage to his behind-the-scenes role as Marvel's unofficial keeper of continuity for the character - right down to Mobius M. Mobius being depicted on the page as a caricatured version of Gruenwald himself. In fact, an editor's note from editor Ralph Macchio (not the Karate Kid) in Fantastic Four Annual #24 describes the TVA as "sort of the Mark Gruenwalds of time continuity."
And, though he didn't create the TVA, Gruenwald did create the Time-Keepers - also a presence in Loki - a group who predate the Time Keepers in the real world, and who have in-continuity ties to the TVA's future.
Funnily enough, Gruenwald himself played into his own pastiche, writing Mobius M. Mobius in 1994's Fantastic Four Annual #27, which depicted another attempt to bring in the FF. In this story, Gruenwald introduces another executive of the TVA, his boss Mr. Alternity.
This is where things get hilariously meta.
As Mobius M. Mobius was based on Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald, Gruenwald himself based Mr. Alternity on his own boss Tom DeFalco, who was then serving as Marvel's editor-in-chief. So Gruenwald wrote a fictional version of himself dealing with a fictional version of his own boss, that his boss then had to edit.
Since these stories, just about all the agents of the TVA have been visually based on Gruenwald and DeFalco, who actually appeared as themselves in editorial comic strips that once ran inside Marvel Comics, in the classic Bullpen Bulletins section.
Mobius M. Mobius in the MCU
Meta commentary aside, Mobius M. Mobius could have an ongoing role in the MCU following Loki season 2. Since there theoretically could be infinite numbers of TVA agents who look like him (and we've already seen at least one Mobius variant in Loki season 1, episode 6), there's nothing but potential to bring the character back - or to have him spread out throughout the MCU's other shows and movies.
Now, of course, for the moment, the Loki season one finale sets up Mobius' immediate future.
Losing a physical fight with Ravonna in short order, Mobius expects to be pruned again like in episode 4, but his former boss (who displays genuine affection for him) spares him and makes her escape, seemingly off to seek the power to control the 'sacred timeline' by herself.
We don't catch up with Mobius again until the final seconds of the episode when Loki seeks him out at the TVA, having just been expelled by Sylvie from the Citadel at the End of Time, just before she kills the secret boss of the TVA, He Who Remains.
But there's a twist.
When Loki finds Mobius (and Hunter B-15), he discovers they don't recognize him, and Loki is in a TVA headquarters in which classic Avengers villains Kang (who is a variant of He Who Remains) is in charge, spelling trouble for the MCU.
Whether Loki is in another variant timeline where there is also a variant TVA or Kang rewrote the 'sacred timeline,' remains to be seen.
So it appears wherever Loki and Mobius appear next, they're going to have to establish their friendship and rapport all over again and interestingly somewhat in reverse, with Loki likely having to try to win Mobius' trust.
Though his comic book history isn't as dense as many of the other characters that the MCU adapts, Mobius M. Mobius plays a pretty unique role in Marvel lore and has the comic book story connections to find his way into many of the MCU's upcoming properties.
For one thing, there's Moby's whole relationship with the Fantastic Four - soon to make their MCU debut. With very little known about how director Matt Shakman will bring the FF to the MCU, and the Multiverse/alt-timelines only becoming more prevalent, it's possible that Moby or the TVA could play a role in bringing them into the story.
And of course, there's Moby's other big comic book connection, his appearances in She-Hulk as one of the judges at her trial.
She-Hulk is, of course, the star of her own MCU show on Disney Plus, with Tatiana Maslany in the title role of Jennifer Walters. Many of her most prominent comic book stories revolve around bizarre meta concepts like the TVA, who are central characters in at least one volume of her solo comic book title, including Mobius M. Mobius himself. That may just pave the way for an onscreen She-Hulk connection too - should the series ever return for a second season, that is.
The bottom line is, with multiverses, alternate timelines, clones, and more involved, Mobius M. Mobius could potentially go anywhere - or anywhen - in the MCU and provide connective tissue between the franchise's various films and shows. And that's saying nothing of what could be possible if Marvel Studios picks up the metatextual storytelling traditions that Mobius M. Mobius carries in comic books.
Of course, it should also be noted that Loki season 1, episode 4 reveals Mobius is just a variant of a real human person that had a life but was mind-wiped to serve He Who Remains' TVA. So he has a whole backstory to be told.
So while Mobius' future as a timeline-hopping TVA analyst in the MCU still has significant questions marks surrounding it, Wilson's winning portrayal seems to have garnered the new character an MCU fanbase and Marvel Studios will almost certainly find a place for him in the future.
Get to know all the Loki variants from comic books that play a role in the Disney Plus streaming series.