On Wednesday, Loki ended its first season with a fitting final dose of chaos. Kang the Conqueror, otherwise known as He Who Remains, made his grand entrance as the mysterious creator of the TVA. And while he remains no more following a swift stab in the chest, his absence will usher in a multiversal war that could tear apart the MCU as we know it.
Following the releases of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki is the first MCU TV show to come to a close without a definitive ending. There was no sunset awaiting the God of Mischief at the end of his journey, only signs of a harsher road ahead. He finds himself in a sort of cruel time loop that Lady Sif would surely enjoy—returning to the same place he started, alone again, facing a greater threat than ever before.
But Loki is also the first series to announce a second season before the end of its credits. Tom Hiddleston’s decade-long run as the Asgardian trickster is far from over. “I still am not quite able to process that we get to have another go at this,” Hiddleston told Marvel.com after the finale. “I am so excited by the possibilities. We are already in discussions. Deep, deep, deep discussions. I can’t wait to get started.”
With no date currently set for Loki’s return, there’s no telling how much upcoming projects like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will change the MCU before the God of Mischief’s journey continues. But the finale still left plenty of hints at where the series and the MCU could be headed from here, so without further ado, let’s break down some of the biggest lingering questions after Loki’s first season.
Where is Ravonna Renslayer going?
Ravonna and her true origins, along with her motives, had remained a mystery up until the finale. The TVA judge knew the truth about the so-called Time-Keepers, the Void, and the fact that all TVA employees are variants, and yet she knew just as little about the man behind the curtain as Loki or Sylvie. Not unlike Sylvie, Ravonna was, and still is, prepared to do whatever it takes to finally meet him.
While Ravonna didn’t get that chance to meet He Who Remains in the finale, the TVA’s creator left one last clue to her before meeting his own fate at the Citadel at the End of Time. When we last saw Ravonna, in the fifth episode, she was ordering Miss Minutes to bring her all the files on the founding of the TVA. When the TVA’s animated mascot reports back to Ravonna in the finale, she returns with a gift from He Who Remains instead. “This isn’t what I asked for,” Ravonna says.
“I know, but he thinks this’ll be more useful,” Miss Minutes replies ominously.
We never get to see what sort of information is in those files, but whatever it may be, it provides Ravonna with the direction of where to go next. After claiming that the only being with any free will is whoever’s in charge of the TVA, Ravonna tells Mobius that she’s leaving “in search of free will.”
A potential clue of where that could be appeared in a glimpse of her past life, before she even knew the TVA existed. As Mobius and Hunter B-15 discover, Ravonna was once a vice principal at a high school in Fremont, Ohio. But as the degree from Ohio State University on the wall of her office reveals, her name was originally not Ravonna Renslayer, but Rebecca Tourminet—another alias that her character uses in the comics. While this could merely be a sneaky Easter egg, it could also be signaling a story line that features her meeting with Kang the Conqueror.
In the epilogue of the early-’90s limited series Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective, Ravonna assumes the name Rebecca Tourminet as she travels back in time to reconcile with Kang. We don’t need to get into the full backstory here, but this encounter happens after Ravonna kills a variant of Kang’s in the distant future after he proposes they rule his empire together. (Bottom line: Don’t mess with Ravonna.)
Since Kang is the Master of Time, the early 20th century Wisconsin town he’s living in is called … Timely. (Marvel loves very on-the-nose names.) And while the context in Loki would be entirely different due to the fact that Ravonna has seemingly yet to meet Kang, He Who Remains could similarly be leading Ravonna somewhere to finally meet face-to-face. Whether or not this town is actually on the other side of Ravonna’s time door when Loki returns, Renslayer will surely be meeting some variant of Kang’s soon enough as she continues her own quest to discover who’s behind the TVA. The couple rules over time itself together in the comics, and there’s still plenty of Ravonna’s story left to tell.
What’s next for Sylvie?
So, Sylvie messed up pretty badly, huh? She and Loki had the chance to take control over the TVA, and all of the multiverse itself; they could have recreated the TVA any way they wanted, ruled over the Sacred Timeline however they saw fit. And instead, Sylvie killed He Who Remains and started another multiversal war. In the end, she stuck to her ways, and finished her lifelong goal to get revenge on the one who stole her away as a child. But after you complete your life’s work, and lose the only thing that’s ever driven you, what comes next?
Despite accomplishing her mission, Sylvie ends the episode in tears, sitting alone in the Citadel at the End of Time. The Sacred Timeline is splitting apart before her, and presumably, the next variant of Kang will be joining her there eventually. The one thing she still has is Kang’s incredibly souped-up Apple Watch, which combines the ability to open time doors like a TemPad and manipulate time like a Time Twister. (And along with being a two-in-one time device, the thing can apparently project extremely detailed three-dimensional stories, should Sylvie ever find the need.) Sylvie could seemingly go wherever she wants in the entire multiverse, whether she decides to find Loki (whom she owes quite the apology to) or her own version of Asgard. But with an infinite number of Kangs now freed from the limits of their own timelines, she probably won’t get far without one catching up with her. As He Who Remains tells her with his final breath, “I’ll see you soon.”
What happened to the TVA?
When Loki returns to the TVA near the end of the finale after getting kicked to the curb by Sylvie, he slowly realizes that something has gone terribly wrong. He tries to explain to Mobius and Hunter B-15 that he and Sylvie made a mistake and frantically warns them of the man at the end of time, only to learn that neither of them recognize who he is anymore. “Take it easy,” Mobius tells him. “You’re an analyst, right? What division are you from?”
“What?” Loki asks, stunned. “What are you talking about?”
“Who are you?” Mobius continues, as Hunter B-15 alerts other Minutemen to join them in the archives. “What’s your name?”
Loki turns to see a massive statue of Kang the Conqueror where there used to be three Time-Keepers instead. While it is identical to the place Loki started the series in, this is now a different TVA, with different origins. It’s like Marty McFly traveling back to the future after altering events in the past, or Mark Wahlberg returning to Earth to find a very different Lincoln Memorial at the end of the 2001 Planet of the Apes remake; time-traveling events have transformed the TVA as Loki once knew it. Even though the TVA was previously built on a lie and the Time-Keepers were a part of a made-up narrative, He Who Remains chose to do so in order to create a more efficient bureaucracy. In the timeline of this new TVA Loki is at, the Kang variant in charge wants it known that he’s the one in charge.
We’ll have to wait to see what other changes this new Kang has made in his version of the TVA, such as if the TVA employees are aware that they’re variants or not. Whatever the case may be, the TVA is still facing the same emergency of branching realities—and now Loki has lost all of his allies.
Has Loki changed?
Over the course of Loki’s six episodes, the God of Mischief went through quite the transformation. He fell in love for the first time and made some friends, even if he fell in love with himself and almost all of those friends were also … himself. (OK, so Loki is still as much of a narcissist as ever, but there’s more.) After being taken to the TVA by Hunter B-15 and her crew of Minutemen, Loki began the series with the intentions of taking control of the TVA so that he could wield more power than he’d ever dreamt of. But by the finale, with that goal within his grasp, Loki doesn’t take it. His priorities had completely changed, as Sylvie’s well-being took precedence. “I’ve been where you are,” Loki says to Sylvie tearfully, as he tries to stop her from killing He Who Remains. “I’ve felt what you felt. Don’t ask me how I know. All I know is I don’t wanna hurt you. I don’t want a throne. I just want you to be OK.”
Despite Sylvie telling Loki to kill her and rule over the TVA himself, Loki refuses, relinquishing all control and leaving his fate up to Sylvie. And then she kisses him goodbye before kicking him right back to the TVA so she could finish the job herself.
After being betrayed by the only person he’s ever allowed himself to be vulnerable with, is Loki still a changed man, or is he back right where he started? Early in the season, Loki told Mobius that trusting in anyone other than yourself was foolish, and that trust was only for “children and dogs.” After Loki learned to trust Mobius and Sylvie, the former doesn’t even know who he is anymore and the latter just betrayed him with the fate of the multiverse at stake. Loki finds himself in a strange new TVA, all alone again, with no one to trust but himself. When Loki returns next season, we’ll see whether he, brokenhearted, went back to his deceitful old ways.
How does the finale influence Phase 4?
The arrival of Kang the Conqueror and the multiversal war set up the MCU for years to come. Jonathan Majors’s Kang is already set to be the main villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The upcoming film is still years away from being released, but it will surely continue to explore the depths of the Quantum Realm, the alternate dimension in the multiverse that the franchise introduced well before Loki came to be. Kang is one of the Avengers’ all-time villains in the comics, with origins that date back to the 1960s, and now that Sylvie has freed infinite versions of him to conquer the rest of the MCU, he’s positioned to be the next crossover villain following Thanos’s Infinity Saga.
Beyond Kang himself, though, the multiversal war has ripped apart the Sacred Timeline, creating a countless number of branching realities that, as the helpful TVA graphic below shows, are already colliding into each other:
With the Sacred Timeline fragmented, the MCU just gained limitless storytelling potential as the entire multiverse plunges into madness. Perhaps the best example of this is the upcoming animated series What If…?, which basically takes the history of the MCU and tosses it into a blender, as the stories we knew veer wildly off of their original timelines to create alternate outcomes. (Tony Stark is saved by Killmonger before he ever becomes Iron Man, Peggy Carter takes the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, T’Challa is abducted by Ravagers instead of Peter Quill, etc.) Though the trailer for What If…? was released before the end of Loki, it now makes sense how the series could not only exist within the MCU, but also set up other stories and projects in the future, as Tom Hiddleston suggested in a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Similarly, these colliding realities can provide the bizarre opportunity to pull actors who appeared in Marvel films before the MCU even existed right back into the fold, with Spider-Man: No Way Home rumored to feature former Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, as well as some of the villains they faced over the years like Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx). Loki also sets up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which brings back Loki head writer Michael Waldron as its co-writer. As Earth’s protector from mystical threats, the Sorcerer Supreme is going to play a major role in this upcoming multiversal war. And with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch expected to appear in the film as well, she now has the opportunity to reunite with her children in alternate realities and use her reality-bending abilities like never before. Like I said, the storytelling possibilities are limitless. Things are only going to get stranger from here.
Where does a second season of Loki fit into the MCU?
This is a tough question to truly speculate on at the moment, but it’s an intriguing one nonetheless. With the interconnectedness of the MCU, there’s really no telling how much a movie like Multiverse of Madness could impact the events of Loki, just as Loki set up the events of so many future projects. With Kang being at the center of this multiversal war, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t at least make an appearance in the Doctor Strange sequel. And with Loki reportedly set to appear in the film as well, it isn’t clear whether the second season will even pick back up with Loki still at the TVA.
Depending on when the show returns, there could be a number of MCU projects that could influence the course of Loki’s second season. But with its first six-episode effort having the rare feel of a stand-alone story and its narrative existing outside of the confines of any singular timeline, Loki clearly has the potential of continuing to live in its own world while raising the stakes of the MCU around it.
Will Alligator Loki be back?
Oh, he better be.