Ravonna Lexus Renslayer made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Loki season one, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. And though, as the chief judge and administrator of the Time Variance Authority Ravonna was one of the show's central characters, fans were left with more questions than answers about her following the season finale.
But in Marvel Comics, Ravonna's history goes much deeper than what the show has so far let on, with a storied history both as the consort of Kang the Conqueror (with her own Variants to boot) and as a villain in her own right.
(Read all about Kang's Variants right here).
Most recently, in September 15's Kang the Conqueror #2 (opens in new tab), Ravonna made a slightly unexpected comic book return with the introduction of a new Variant tied to one of Kang's most prominent incarnations - as well as a totally different Marvel hero, Moon Knight.
With Loki putting Ravonna in the MCU spotlight, and Marvel Comics expanding on her history in new ways, it's almost a sure thing that we'll get more Ravonna - both on-screen and on the page - sooner rather than later.
So read on to find out all about the Marvel Comics history of Ravonna Lexus Renslayer, and how it could come into play in her MCU story.
Who is Ravonna Lexus Renslayer?
Introduced way back in 1965's Avengers #24 from Stan Lee and Don Heck, Ravonna is the daughter of King Carelius, the ruler of an unnamed kingdom in the far-flung future of the 40th Century, whose empire was conquered by Kang.
A quick TL:DR on Kang, cause he's gonna stay relevant: Kang is one of many pseudonyms for a time-traveler who conquers numerous eras and empires throughout Marvel's history by way of his time powers, and who has a burning desire to defeat the Avengers in combat on his own terms.
After conquering her father's kingdom, Kang fell in love with Ravonna, though she spurned him for taking over her home and forcing her father to serve him. Blinded by his love for Ravonna, Kang allowed her kingdom to enter open rebellion against him until he had no choice but to use his vast empire to fight back.
Coming up with a fairly roundabout and honestly kinda typical for Kang plan, the conqueror brought the Avengers to Ravonna's kingdom to witness its downfall, believing, through his own twisted logic, that Ravonna would fall for him if he exercised his strength over both her homeland and the mighty Avengers.
If you can believe it, this totally flawless plan to win Ravonna's heart failed, and Kang was eventually forced to team up with the Avengers to fight his own soldiers, who felt he had betrayed them by falling in love with Ravonna. Turning to Ravonna's kingdom for aid, Kang and the Avengers freed Ravonna from the dungeon Kang had placed her in, and they all fought together against Baltag, Kang's mutinous general.
Baltag tried to kill Kang as the fight was ending, but Ravonna, deciding she actually DID love Kang, sacrificed herself to save him, with Kang placing her dying body in stasis and departing, vowing to restore her and save her life.
That's not the end of Ravonna's association with Kang or the Avengers though - not by a longshot. And we'll tell ya, things aren't gonna get less complicated from here.
Ravonna Lexus Renslayer in the Marvel Universe
Following his defeat, Kang, reeling from the mutiny of his army and seeking to revive Ravonna, entered a game with the Grandmaster (known to MCU fans for his role in Thor: Ragnarok, though the comic book version is even more cosmically powerful) in which his chosen champions, the Avengers, were forced to fight the Grandmaster's champions the Squadron Supreme.
Grandmaster promises Kang that if Kang wins, he'll be granted the power to save Ravonna from stasis and kill the Avengers.
Kang lost through his own hubris, losing his chance to save Ravonna - but not all was lost.
Through a set of bizarre time travel-based circumstances, a duplicate of Ravonna from another point in time becomes Kang's new lover, before revealing she's actually in the employ of one of Kang's biggest time-traveling rivals - Immortus, his older self.
OK, it's not so fair to Ravonna to keep talking about Kang the Conqueror while explaining her backstory, but a bit more history is needed for everything that comes next - including some ridiculous plotting and scheming on Ravonna's own part.
As we said, Kang has many aliases, some of which he has used at different points in his life, or which have been used by versions of him from other timelines - including some who also go by the name Kang. In this case, there's just one other version of him who becomes relevant - Immortus.
Immortus is a much older version of Kang from a time when he has relinquished his conquest and begun working for the Time-Keepers, a group of beings depicted as the three enigmatic statues and described as "lizard-people" in the first episode of Loki. Immortus actually hates Kang (his own younger self) and blames him for screwing around with the timestream.
This all leads to a long, evolving saga of time-tossed duplicates of Kang, Ravonna, and more, all culminating in Kang hunting down and killing many of his duplicates, while Immortus's ally Ravonna reveals she's actually the original version Kang fell in love with, rescued by the Grandmaster only to vow revenge on Kang for not saving her himself.
If we're talking about a tangled web, the rest of Ravonna's story may as well be a web of webs all tangled together in a veritable Gordian Knot.
Taking her revenge plans on the road, Ravonna takes on the identity of none other than Nebula, the comic book and MCU daughter of Thanos, using the disguise to subvert and mind-control Dr. Druid of the Avengers, a Z-List sorcerer whose history is almost better left unsaid, who rises through the ranks of the Avengers to become the leader under Ravonna/Nebula's influence.(opens in new tab)
When this scheme to manipulate the Avengers and the Council of Cross-Time Kangs (a group of Kangs from numerous timelines all working together) into destroying each other fails, Ravonna, still disguised as Nebula, moves on to trying to trick the Fantastic Four into helping her steal the Ultimate Nullifier, a cosmic weapon which erases its targets from existence.
Failing again, Ravonna moved into what may be called a downward spiral of manipulating Dr. Druid (still him???) through a series of cascading identities of her own such as 'Temptress' and 'Terminatrix' - a scheme which, miraculously, leads to Ravonna taking on Kang in combat and defeating him to become ruler of Chronopolis, his time-spanning empire.
Ravonna revives Kang - doing what he never could for her - and takes him on as her consort as the new ruler of Chronopolis until the empire itself is destroyed in Avengers Forever (opens in new tab), a time-traveling story in which Kang and Immortus actually go to war.
And sadly, along with the fall of Chronopolis came the final death of the mainstream Ravonna - though some of her Variants live on.
The recent Kang the Conqueror #2 (one of two recent Kang-centric comics to bring the term 'Variant' to Marvel Comics) introduced a new version of Ravonna - a Variant from the ancient era when Kang ruled Egypt under the guise of Rama-Tut.
In this incarnation, Ravonna is not only an opponent to Rama-Tut and a lover to his younger counterpart Nathaniel Richards but the Moon Knight of her era.
Though he's best known as a modern hero as embodied by Marc Spector, the title of Moon Knight has been passed down for generations by the agents of the Egyptian god Khonshu, similar to the way Black Panther is a title passed down by Wakandan monarchs.
The Moon Knight version of Ravonna was last seen being subverted by Rama-Tut as one of his enforcers, with Nathaniel Richards vowing to get his revenge.
Ravonna Lexus Renslayer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
That said, given the comic book Ravonna's history as a manipulator, liar, schemer, and outright villain there was always the strong possibility Ravonna wasn't exactly what she appeared to be, and that's been confirmed now that Loki season one is on the books.
In comics, Ravonna has little to no association with the TVA, aside from working with Immortus. But it's that juxtaposition right there that may have the most interesting implications for Loki season 2, and/or for the larger MCU.
We now know the Time-Keepers were a complete ruse and the TVA an unwitting arm of He Who Remains (actor Jonathan Majors), which Marvel Studios has used some artistic license to make one of the many identities of Kang, seemingly adapting his identity of Immortus to the name He Who Remains, a separate character in comic books.
In episodes 5 and 6 Ravonna seems to vacillate between not knowing the identity and motivations of He Who Remains, to knowing more than she lets on. In the end, it appears she doesn't know who He Who Remains is, but she doesn't seem to care either. Ravonna seems to have a singular agenda - loyalty to the Sacred Timeline regardless of who is in charge of it.
Her last scene is interesting and perhaps heavy on foreshadowing. Ravonna seems to display genuine feelings about her now lost friendship with Mobius, accusing him of betraying her, and expresses a zealot's dedication to the idea that only being should to allowed to have free will, is the being in charge of the so-called Sacred Timeline.
After she more or less kicks Mobius's ass, she's last seen exiting the TVA she's no longer is in control of through a time door to an unknown destination, telling Mobius she's leaving in search of free will - indicating she now seems dedicated to setting herself up as the one being in charge of the Timeline she believes is allowed to possess it.
It looks like Kang - who is being set up as a major through-line villain for the entire MCU - may have someone to contend with other than Marvel heroes in the near future.
But one last note. Loki episode 6 also reveals that Ravonna is indeed a variant of a normal human, who, as the pen from episodes 2 and 4 foreshadowed, worked at a Franklin D. Roosevelt high school in Freemont, Ohio, and whose real name isn't Ravonna. As revealed in a diploma hanging on her office wall, it's Vice-Principal Rebecca Tourminet, who has no idea who the TVA is.
A few things here: First of all, it should be immediately noted Hunter B-15 goes back to 2018 to find her at the high school, and 2018 was the year of Thanos's 'Snap' from Avengers: Infinity War, which eliminated half of all living things in the universe.
That can't be a coincidence. Perhaps all the TVA agents are variants of people that were snapped, but who He Who Remains kept from returning during Avengers: Endgame's 'The Blip' five years later.
And Rebecca Tourminet has Marvel Comics history too. That's an alias used by Ravonna when she attempted to reconcile her romantic relationship with Kang while he was living under the identity of 'Victor Timely' in the early 20th Century in a 1993 comic book series called Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective (opens in new tab).
The name reveal might be mostly an Easter egg, but at least seemingly reaffirms Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna will have a connection to Major's Kang.
As to the significance of the FDR high school, the scene ends on something of a cliffhanger without answers, to likely be picked up on in Loki season two.
So until then, or until Ravonna shows up elsewhere first (maybe in connection to the upcoming Moon Knight Disney Plus show, if her most recent comic book return is any indication?) her ultimate MCU role remains an open question.
Ravonna doesn't quite rate as one of the greatest Avengers villains of all time, but Kang does. Check out Newsarama's full rankings.