This article contains spoilers for Loki.
We’ve only scratched the surface of Loki, but with more jet skis, Josta soda, and jokes than you can shake a scepter at, it’s already one of the wildest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) outings yet.
For those who’ve been keeping their finger on the pulse when it comes to theories and speculation, most think the MCU is building towards the introduction of the multiverse.
With this in mind, here’s how Loki and alternate realities are already blowing the lid off what we think we know.
After the multiverse was first explained by Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One in Avengers: Endgame, the same movie teased its debut with Captain America’s botched return of the Infinity Stones.
Spider-Man: Far From Home then gave us a fake multiverse with Mysterio’s backstory, while WandaVision punked us again with Evan Peters’ Fietro/Ralph Bohner.
Even though it looks like we’ll have to wait until Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness to fully explore the multiverse, that doesn’t mean Loki can’t queue it up nicely.
Despite Loki’s freshman status, the series wasted no time (pardon the pun) in introducing the Time Variance Authority (TVA), Nexus Events, and multiple timelines.
It’s the TVA’s job to keep things on a singular path and monitor the Sacred Timeline under the watchful eye of the Time Keepers, but there’s more on them later.
This week’s The Variant featured Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius hunting an alternate Loki through the timelines with cataclysmic events.
Many had correctly guessed the Variant would be what appears to be a female Loki to give Hiddleston’s cocky upstart a run for his money.
The episode ended with the cliffhanger of Sophia Di Martino’s Loki variant “bombing” the Sacred Timeline and sending reset devices into the aether.
As things went haywire at TVA HQ, the timelines branched out from the Sacred Timeline and potentially showcased the multiverse.
A quick rundown of where the branches led to confirmed Nexus Events at MCU locales like Sakaar, Titan, Ego, and even Vormir – teasing that some familiar faces could be brought into the drama.
Remembering that while Captain America walked away scot-free, Loki was bizarrely arrested for his “crimes against the Sacred Timeline”. It’s therefore likely part of a bigger picture, as the TVA needed help tracking down the rogue variant, or could that be variants?
Spotting a get out of jail free card, Loki’s helpful streak was short-lived and he hopped into a new reality with his female friend/foe.
It’s unclear where things go from here, but there’s the idea we’re setting ourselves up for another Mephisto-inspired middle finger.
Although it looks like Kang The Conqueror will be the running joke to troll fans with this series, it’s unusual to reveal something as massive as the multiverse in the second episode of a Disney+ series.
We guess Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness will lean heavily into its namesake, and let’s not forget WandaVision also set up Scarlet Witch’s role in causing the madness of the multiverse.
In all likelihood, Lady Loki’s meddling will be part of a much bigger picture.
There’s something decidedly off about Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer and the TVA, meaning we’re probably in for an “it was Agatha all along” twist further down the line.
Expect the next few episodes to follow Mobius and the TVA agents dashing around the timelines and fixing the Variant’s meddling, while she sets out on her ultimate plan to become the Mistress Of Mischief.
There could be multiple rogue variants at play here – let’s not forget that Richard E. Grant is tipped to play Old Man Loki. We’re imagining a Rick And Morty-inspired Citadel Of Ricks where the various Lokis team up against the TVA, which will eventually be revealed as the ultimate big bad.
Loki has already warned us what happens when multiple timelines come together, with the first episode’s handy instructional video from Miss Minutes discussing a previous Nexus Event that saw multiple realities clash.
Some took this to mean the Secret Wars comic arc has already happened, but with the Variant busting open a spider’s web of timelines, the series has the potential to go beyond the multiverse to set up the MCU’s next big ensemble.
Having the multiverse made canon by Loki leaves the door open to upcoming animated show What If?, the rumoured inclusion of Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Jamie Foxx, and Alfred Molina in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and full exploration in Multiverse Of Madness.
Going beyond this, there are obvious ramifications that the multiverse can introduce the X-Men to the party and explain where they’ve been for the past four phases.
With each new entry to the MCU, franchise overlord Kevin Feige is taking another step toward the multiverse.
Loki cleverly mentioned the “madness” that ensues when a Nexus Event goes unchecked, which unites the worlds of WandaVision, Loki, and Multiverse Of Madness.
Considering Hiddleston is rumoured to pop up in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange sequel, the God of Mischief could be polishing his horns for a trip into the multiverse sooner than we thought.
Loki airs weekly on Disney+.