Among this overwhelming tidal wave of Disney project news that consumed us all Thursday night, we got to see the new trailer for Loki, which will be hitting Disney+ this coming May. As shown, this Loki isn’t the one who got choked to death in the opening moments of Avengers: Infinity War, but the Loki appearing during the Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame. After the events of the first Avengers went awry, that version of Loki was able to sneak away with the Tesseract and create a tangent universe.
And now…he’s stuck running suicide missions with the Time Variance Authority. What a way for a god to spend his days.
Getting away from Tom Hiddleston, the trailer also makes everyone realize, “Wait, is this Owen Wilson’s first time in one of these? How has it taken so long for Owen Wilson to get a role in a Marvel movie?”
Plus there’s the big question of who he’s supposed to be.
While we don’t know the full details of what’s going on, Loki is dealing with the Time Variance Authority. Due to that telltale mustache, Owen Wilson appears to be Mr. Mobius M. Mobius.
The Time Variance Authority was introduced in Thor #372, but wasn’t fully figured out as a concept until afterwards. Most notably, the group antagonized the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #352-354. They’re meant to keep time travel under control and prevent paradoxes, but instead of being a rad setup of jacked, soldiers in colorful spandex begging for their own comic series, the TVA is essentially a bunch of boring, cosmic bureaucrats.
While the lowest level employees of the TVA are faceless goons, the middle-management folks are human-looking. In fact, they all look like the same human. More specifically, they’re made to look like Mark Gruenwald, a beloved Marvel writer/artist/editor known for his passion and endless knowledge of detailed Marvel history.
You want to make sense out of the multiverse and timeline malarky? Make a bunch of clones of the guy who can tell you what issue Luke Cage fought Mr. Fish without having to look it up. He was the guy writing the Official Marvel Handbook of the Universe and he was celebrated for being that guy.
Gruenwald was a major asset to Marvel back in the 80s and former 90s. His lengthy run on Captain America gave us US Agent, Crossbones, Diamondback, and that amazing sequence where Magneto captured Red Skull and left him to die in a bunker. He also wrote Squadron Supreme, where he put together a deconstructing take on Marvel’s Justice League knockoff team, acting as Marvel’s contribution to the Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen vibes growing in ’80s comics.
He also did a 5-year run on Quasar, notably doing a weird issue where – taking place sometime after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths – a blonde speedster in tattered, red tights showed up in Marvel and could only remember that his name sounded something like “Buried Alien.”
Dude was awesome, is what I’m saying.
Sadly, Gruenwald died in 1996 due to a heart attack. He remains beloved in the industry and lives on whenever the weirdos in the TVA show up to try and put a cage around the chaos. They usually fail, but the effort is there.
Mr. Mobius is just another one of his in-universe clones, but one that got promoted above his genetic equals. Not that he’s the man on top. No, that’s Mr. Alternity, who’s based on editor Tom Brevoort.
The biggest eyebrow-raiser in all of this is that there’s a minor member of the TVA, also a Gruenwald clone, named…wait for it…Mr. Tesseract.
Mr. Tesseract. In the same organization that will be showing up on a TV show born out of Loki sneaking away with the MCU’s Tesseract. No way is that sleeping dog going to lie.
This could very much mean that we won’t just be getting Owen Wilson, but a legion of Owen Wilsons! That’s a lot of guys going, “Wow!”
Loki will premiere on Disney+ in May 2021.