Let’s talk about the end of ‘Loki’

Loki, Marvel’s latest Disney+ television series, ended last night with several surprises, but perhaps the most surprising thing is that it was a season finale –cliffhanger and all– rather than the end of a self-contained series.

There are a few big revelations, so let’s talk about them, what they might mean, and a few thoughts I have on where things might go. Yes, this article will be riddled with spoilers (and assumes you’ve watched the series).

Holy Shit, Jonathan Majors!

So the first big reveal was, of course, Jonathan Majors. Now, we know that he will be playing Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but in this episode, they never actually speak his name beyond “He Who Remains.”

He Who Remains explains that it was his variants that discovered the multiverse and eventually started a multiverse war that nearly destroyed, well, everything. He further explains that he figured out that he could stabilize things and keep his variants at bay and created the TVA to do so.

He gives Loki and Sylvie a choice to either run the TVA and maintain the status quo or kill him and let chaos reign. Sylvie kicks Loki through a portal and takes the latter option.

Now, I love this reveal. I did not think it was going to be Kang the Conquerer, and, if I’m being pedantic, it wasn’t. In the comics, Kang, aka Nathaniel Richards, adopts many personas and names in different periods. It seems clear that this version is most likely Immortus, the older, calmer version of the character. It also appears that each branched timeline will spawn a different variant with different goals rather than the same character adopting personas.

Honestly, I love this. It means that despite having met Kang now, we have no idea what the character will be in subsequent appearances, and Majors can play the character in many different ways. It also means that they can defeat him over and over again –hopefully without it getting boring. Did I expect them to reveal their next big bad so early? No. Is it super exciting how they did it? Absolutely.

Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15 in Loki

So where is Loki now, and what is Sylvie’s deal?

Sylvie kicks Loki through a doorway back to the TVA, but when he approaches Moebius and Hunter B-15, they don’t know who he is, and the statues of the timekeepers have been replaced with a statue of He Who Remains. This is because the timeline has already started branching. Then, before a hard cut to black, credits roll, and no post-credits scene.

This big cliffhanger is quite the setup for season 2, which I am sure will at least in part feature Loki going full Doctor Who travelling the multiverse trying to figure his way back to his friends.

Sylvie, I worry, might get the same hate that Star Lord did in Infinity War for failing to see the big picture when she kills He Who Remains and sparks chaos, but this is precisely where she was headed the whole time, people. Loki may have learned to trust in others, but she has spent her entire life on the run. Will the act have given her what she needed? Surely not. Does it make sense? Sure does.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer in Loki

What about Ravonna Renslayer & Miss Minutes?

Ravonna heads through a door, saying she is searching for free will, and that’s the last we see of her in the season. She spares Moebius’ life but heads out regardless. My bet is that she will next show up as an ally of some variant of Kang because that’s her thing in the comics.

I also found the reveal that her place on the sacred timeline is as a school teacher, and I am sure that someone with a deeper knowledge of Marvel lore than I do has some theories about that.

Miss Minutes proves simultaneously more and less interesting than I had previously guessed. Yes, she’s a sentient being, but no, she’s not in charge. I do wonder exactly what she is, though.

Owen Wilson as Moebius and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer in Loki.

And Moebius?

I am as bummed as the rest of you that we didn’t get to see him on a jet ski, but I’d be willing to bet that whatever they have planned, we see that at some point—maybe the one we love, or maybe his original self. In fact, that’d be a fun twist. Maybe at some point, Moebius will die or sacrifice himself, and Loki will meet his non-variant self. I bet that’d be touching as hell.

So what next, for the show and the greater MCU?

So here’s where we get into some speculation (and one minor worry) about the future.

First, the multiverse is a thing now, explaining how Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire will appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Second, the Spider-Verse is a big thing in the comics (and you know they’re chasing some of that Into the Spider-Verse goodwill).

This is presumably how the upcoming What If…? series will tie in, which despite being animated, will be a canonical part of the MCU. Obviously, this ties directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

I wonder whether Kang –or, more specifically, different variants of Kang– will be the villains in every major project moving forward. That feels like a ton of work for Jonathan Majors and audiences to keep track of, but Marvel has already made comic book style continuity accessible, so anything is possible.

I have two particular worries about this, though. First, that the What If…? series will have some kind of through-line besides The Watcher. I loved those comics as a kid, and I love that they are one-offs, but the trailer makes it seem like maybe Doctor Strange is travelling the multiverse. This is all conjecture on my part, but I’d really prefer that series stay as a set of one-offs.

Second, I am sure that Marvel has a plan for this, but I worry that the multiverse will be difficult to explain in each subsequent entry in the franchise. This worries me because they might, as a shorthand, say, “well, watch Loki to get in the loop.” Why would that be a problem?

First, the franchise’s strength is that every film can stand alone, and relying on everyone having seen a TV series to understand a movie is a lame idea. Second, and more importantly, if they did do that, Disney+ is a subscription service. Disney hasn’t yet made any moves to release WandaVision or Captain America and the Winter Soldier on home video. That’s not to say they couldn’t, but they haven’t yet, and it sure would be a crummy move to make the films beholden to a series not everyone can see.

All of this is kind of doom-saying on my part, and I am sure that Marvel has a plan. Of course, Marvel always has a plan, even if it’s not as well-formed as we all think it is, but this thought is stuck in the back of my mind.

Lastly, I do hope that Kang is indeed Nathaniel Richards, a 21st-century descendant of Reed Richards and Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four. We know that they are coming to the MCU in a few years with their own movie, so this would make sense. When we first heard that Kang would be in the MCU I had assumed they’d make him a long-lost descendant of Tony Stark instead, but at this point, I think getting a bit of distance from him would be a good thing.

All in all, Loki was a great success, and we know that it is coming back for a season 2, so put your thinking caps on and start theorizing. What variant Lokis would you like to see? Will we ever see another female Loki (which, let’s be honest, we definitely should)? Will we ever see Alligator Loki’s homeworld, which I presume is exactly the same as the MCU we love but all Alligators? I can’t wait to find out.


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