After WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier arguably played their final episodes a little too safe, the season finale of Loki is utterly bonkers. Not only does the hunt for the force behind the Time Variance Authority come to its conclusion, but our answers lead to bigger questions and branch off into several upcoming Marvel projects including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and more.
Oh, Loki. You’re always on the ground floor when it comes to meeting major Marvel movie threats.
Kang the Conqueror
Much of the episode borrows from The Matrix Reloaded and the meeting between Neo and the Architect. Loki and Sylvie visit the citadel at the end of time, only to be greeted by He Who Remains, as played by Jonathan Majors. The energetic enigma never says his real name, but does refer to himself as a “conqueror.” We also know that Majors is already set to play time-travel villain Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, so make no mistake, this is kind of Kang, but also not.
He Who Remains explains that the TVA exists as a failsafe. Once upon a time, Kang, a scientist in the 31st century, discovered other realities and chose to explore. He soon met up with other versions of himself who had the same idea. Friendship and collaboration ensued…at first. Some of those Kangs were villains and soon conflict kicked in. Timelines started going to war with each other. He Who Remains came out on top, started the TVA, and insisted on a single timeline in order to prevent the rise of his evil selves and the catastrophes that would follow.
Considering the many, many people who have died for the “greater good” and how He Who Remains is supposed to be a benevolent version of Kang, it really says a lot about how dangerous and sinister his darker selves really had to be.
Or will be.
Kang spends much of the episode a step ahead of the Loki variants due to his knowledge of what will happen. That reaches its end point. Now, tired of being in charge of the timeline after what he describes as a million lifetimes, Kang gives our heroes a choice on how to proceed…
The Fate of the Loki Variants
Early into the series, Loki wanted to usurp the Time-Keepers and rule everything. Sylvie simply wanted to burn it all down and get her revenge. As it turns out, those were the choices Kang gave them.
The ultimatum is simple: take over Kang’s operation and keep the timeline from branching and creating a self-destroying multiverse or kill Kang and let the multiverse commence. The kicker is that the former choice will lead to no free will for anyone but Loki and Sylvie.
Loki chooses to rule, but he has grown over the series. He doesn’t want to rule because of ego, but because of his fear of a multiverse of Kangs. This is him trying to make the responsible choice, not for himself but for Sylvie’s safety.
Sylvie doesn’t care for this and would rather have both her revenge and free will for all. Plus, as she’s once stated, the universe craves chaos and her very existence is like reality trying to rebel against the TVA’s control over everything. After sending Loki away, she kills a welcoming Kang, and the timeline branches intensify.
From here, what becomes of Sylvie is up in the air. Where she might go and what she might do is unknown and not the easiest to figure out.
As for Loki, he knows the threat of the multiple Kangs and figures he needs to try and do something about it before it’s too late. That leads us to…
The Fate of the TVA
Loki is in fact too late. He runs through the TVA, passing through its officers without anyone paying him any mind despite the fact that he’s a wanted fugitive. He comes across Mobius and Hunter B-15 and tries to explain what’s going on, but they look at him with confusion. They’ve never met him before. Seeing a massive Kang statue (in a Planet of the Apes-esque moment), Loki begins to realize that this isn’t the TVA he knows. He’s in another timeline completely. One unleashed in the wake of He Who Remains’ death.
It is worth noting that B-15 refers to a “he” wanting the timeline to branch and Mobius saying they couldn’t stop it if they tried. So does this mean this reality’s Kang wants the multiverse to bloom, making him the opposite of He Who Remains? It’s also worth noting that the statues of the Time-Keepers have been replaced by those of Kang, perhaps meaning that Kang takes a more active/visible role in this reality than the literal puppet Time-Keepers we dealt with for much of the series.
Judge Ravonna Renslayer
Meanwhile, Judge Renslayer’s situation is the biggest question mark. He Who Remains has given her information for her eyes only. When confronted by Mobius, she acts like she believes in He Who Remains’ ideals, but leaves through a portal while claiming she’s embarking on “the search for free will.” But she also seemed perplexed by Miss Minutes’ references to He Who Remains. So that one’s up in the air.
Also note that the Renslayer we see exiting through that portal is still “our” Renslayer who we’ve gotten to know all through this series, and doesn’t appear to be part of the new TVA timeline that Loki finds himself in at episode’s end. Similarly, the B-15 who finds Renslayer at FDR High School in 2018, is still “our” B-15, while the one Loki tries to explain everything to in the final scene is not.
The Future of the MCU
Much like Spider-Man: Far From Home trailers coming out before Avengers: Endgame and telling us that Spider-Man would be resurrected after the snap, we were a little bit spoiled going into this episode. Of course there was going to be a multiverse again, since there are already various upcoming MCU projects coming up based on that.
First off, we have What If coming out August 11 on Disney+. The series is all about Uatu the Watcher telling us about alternate timelines where plots diverge . A world where Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum. A world where Yondu abducted T’challa. A world where Clint Barton became the Hulk. Couldn’t really make that show work if He Who Remains was still doing his thing.
But with the events of the Loki finale, it seems that What If is more than just a fun way to fill time in between major MCU projects. It seems that the death of He Who Remains in the Loki finale actually make those scenarios canon in some fashion. It’s very clever.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022) are both about traveling through different realities. Again, we kind of had an idea that the multiverse would be a thing when it’s in the title of Doctor Strange’s sequel.
While we know that Kang will be a major threat in the long run, the only definite appearance we know of at the moment is when Majors will appear as the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, coming to theaters on February 17, 2023.
Loki Season 2 Confirmed
Otherwise, we’ll see some follow-up on this development when Loki season 2 gets here. It’s confirmed, as per that amusing “post-credits scene” but who knows when that’s actually coming.
Oh yeah, and then there’s Kid Loki. Considering how good Marvel’s been about spreading the players onto the board over the course of all these TV projects, there’s a good chance of there being some kind of Young Avengers project down the line.
Got any more questions about the Loki finale? Let us know in the comments!