Early in this week’s episode of Loki, “The Variant,” Agent Mobius briefs a team of Minutemen led by Hunter B-15 on the particular variant they’re hunting. “We’re not just looking for a time criminal, we’re looking for a Loki,” Mobius explains. “A type we should all be very familiar with, because the TVA has pruned a lot of these guys, almost more than any other variant. And no two are alike—slight differences in appearances or … not so slight.”
As Mobius teaches his Loki 101 course, he projects some helpful visual aids to demonstrate the kind of time criminals that they could be searching for. Take Loki Variant L1247, for example, who looks like he just won the Asgardian Tour de France:
Or Loki Variant L6792, who is from a timeline in which he kept his bright blue, Frost Giant skin:
Or perhaps my favorite of the group, Loki Variant L8914, who might as well be the long-lost third member of LMFAO, Party Rock Loki (I still have no idea what’s going on here, to be honest):
Though the scene offers a fun look at some of the infinite versions of Loki that exist through space and time, these silly variants serve as the perfect setup to the episode’s cliffhanger, and the biggest moment of the season to date: the introduction of Lady Loki.
Lady Loki is the first alternate version of Loki that our trickster protagonist has met face-to-face, and thus far she has shown that she truly is the superior Loki (though the original Loki would fight you on that). While Loki claims to be using the TVA in order to earn an audience with the Time-Keepers and take control of the TVA (a plot that Mobius has seen through the entire time), Lady Loki has outplayed and outsmarted him every step of the way. Loki quickly and cleverly discovered how she had been escaping the TVA by hiding in various apocalyptic events throughout history. But all that did was bring him and the TVA to Lady Loki in time for a front-row seat at her attack on the Sacred Timeline.
Since we’ve only recently met Sophia Di Martino’s mysterious Lady Loki, we don’t know anything about her past or her motives. What we do know is that she’s learned how to find the omniscient Time-Keepers by kidnapping and extracting information from Hunter C-20. We also know that she’ll go to dangerous lengths to complete her mission—when the TVA finds C-20, she’s trembling and repeatedly saying, “It’s real.” More importantly for now, though, Lady Loki has just launched enough reset charges into the Sacred Timeline to create an avalanche of Nexus events that could bring about “the collapse of reality as we know it,” as the anthropomorphic clock Miss Minutes puts it at the beginning of the episode. Lady Loki may have wandered off her predetermined path on the Sacred Timeline to earn a one-way trip to the TVA, and now she’s attempting to exact her revenge on the organization that stole her life away. Whatever her intentions may be, Lady Loki could have already triggered the multiversal war to end all time, shaping not only the rest of the season, but potentially the MCU’s future.
Lady Loki was first introduced in the comics in 2008, the same year Iron Man ushered in a new era of success for Marvel. When the Thor series was essentially rebooted following the Ragnarok event that destroyed Asgard, just like in Taika Waititi’s film, the God of Thunder returned to Earth and rebuilt Asgard in the middle of Oklahoma. Thor’s quest then became to reawaken all of the fallen Asgardians, whose spirits had been displaced in human bodies. When he finds his beloved Lady Sif, an Asgardian warrior, he learns that his brother Loki’s soul has inhabited her body:
Despite convincing her ever-gullible brother Thor that she had changed, Lady Loki quickly gets back to her devious ways, eventually finding a way to get the new king of Asgard banished from the home he’d just recreated. (If that’s not bad enough, Lady Loki also fools Thor into unknowingly killing his long-absent grandfather in the process.) Though Lady Loki has transformed into a male kid, as well as the slightly older, more noble Agent of Asgard in the years since, she’s remained a fan favorite out of the many shades of Loki through the years.
But just as Mobius made an error in trusting Loki, we can’t get ahead of ourselves in trusting Loki. Although Marvel fans have long expected Lady Loki to appear in the series due to her recent comic book history and popularity—as well as the show’s hints at Loki’s gender fluidity—there is a likely chance that Di Martino isn’t actually playing Lady Loki. (It wouldn’t be the first time an MCU Disney+ show has pulled off a stunt like this, and Loki presents the perfect opportunity for head writer Michael Waldron and Co. to get a little mischievous.) After all, we know very little about Lady Loki, and no one has even referred to her as such yet; meanwhile, the show has dropped several hints—both intentional and definitely unintentional—that Di Martino is playing another Asgardian villain from the comics who has a penchant for the color green: the Enchantress.
The Variant shares the Enchantress’s blond hair, and one of the first things that Loki says to her after she takes control of Hunter B-15’s body is: “Enchantment is a clever trick.” Loki is capable of such magic as well, but the word choice does not feel like a mere coincidence. Meanwhile, the Variant not only scoffs at being called Loki, but as she tosses Loki around the Roxxcart superstore, Loki makes a point to comment that he would never treat himself this way. But the most telling clue (and certainly the most unfortunate one) came during end credits for the episode. As at least one perceptive fan on Twitter discovered, a foreign market version of the credits accidentally listed Sophia Di Martino’s character not as “The Variant,” as all other languages had, but rather as “Sylvie.”
While the error certainly isn’t as glaring as if they’d simply credited the character as the Enchantress, it’s still a massive hint based on Sylvie’s role in the comics. The Enchantress was originally an Asgardian goddess named Amora, but when Lady Loki found a new home in Broxton, Oklahoma, she decided it’d be fun to create a mortal who believed themselves to be an Asgardian. And that mortal’s name? Sylvie Lushton. Gifted with her own set of magical powers, Sylvie takes up the mantle of the Enchantress (along with her love for all things green) and heads to New York City, where she eventually joins a villainous new iteration of the Young Avengers.
Despite the unfortunate credits mishap, it’s still a little too early to tell whether or not the Variant is actually the Enchantress rather than Lady Loki, or if she’s some combination of the two characters. Whoever the Enchantress is, she and Loki are about to get acquainted and possibly team up to bring about this very serious-sounding multiversal war. Whatever transpires in the temporal rabbit hole Loki just followed the Variant into, this probably won’t be the last time Loki crosses paths with an alternate version of himself. (Here’s hoping we get to meet Party Rock Loki in person.)
With two Lokis potentially finding a common enemy in the TVA, and with four episodes still left to go in the season, the mischief—and the chaos that always follows close behind—is only beginning.