Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Lexus Renslayer has finally returned in Loki season 2 episode 3. And while the episode, which also officially introduces Victor Timely, a Kang Variant with an all new MCU origin, it also raises some big questions about Judge Renslayer and her place in the TVA, with Miss Minutes confessing that she knows a big secret about Ravonna.
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 both a villain and hero in her own right.
Read on for the Marvel Comics history of Ravonna, and how her comic backstory could inform the big secret about her that Miss Minutes hinted at in the finale of Loki season 2 episode 3.
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.
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, 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
Ravonna played the role of an up-and-up TVA Judge in Loki season 1. But since the death of He Who Remains and the reveal that Ravonna is a Variant of a human named Rebecca Tourminet, vice principal of Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Freemont, Ohio, her motives have become more personal, teaming up with Miss Minutes to attempt to manipulate Victor Timely into becoming He Who Remains.
In Loki season 2 episode 3, she becomes an outright antagonist to Loki, with Sylvie trapping Ravonna and Miss Minutes at the end of time, with the corpse of He Who Remains. Here, Miss Minutes reveals that she knows a big secret about Ravonna.
What that secret is remains unrevealed, with the cliffhanger setting up the next episode of the series. But fans have already come up with two major theories: one is that Ravonna had a much bigger hand in building the TVA than she realizes, with her memory having been wiped. The other is that she is, herself, a Kang Variant of some kind.
What's Ravonna's big secret and how will it play out in the MCU? We'll find out more as Loki releases new episodes every Friday.
Ravonna doesn't quite rate as one of the greatest Avengers villains of all time, but Kang does. Check out Newsarama's full rankings.