Hasitha Fernando on the biggest lessons learned from Marvel’s Loki and what it could mean for the MCU in the future …
Of the three MCU TV shows that debuted on Disney, Loki was undoubtedly the biggest Influenced the future Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series creator Michael Waldron took advantage of Tom Hiddleston’s innate charm and charisma to create a thoroughly intriguing multi-layered drama with multiversal implications that will grab your attention. But I digress, let’s not waste any time and dive right in to take a look at the biggest takeaways in Marvels Loki and what they could mean for the MCU in the future …
The TVA or the Time Variance Authority is one Infinite red tape responsible for overseeing the timelines of the Marvel Universe and keeping temporal disruptions to an absolute minimum. Put simply, they can best be described as a kind of temporary police force acting as an authority responsible to people who fool around with time travel and screw up the established order. Since their first appearance in Thor # 372 in October 1982, created by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema, they have morphed into an integral part of the larger Marvel Comics universe. However, the impact of the TVA over time is not absolute. And there have been several instances in the past where they’ve been on a collision course across the time landscape with the likes of Kang the Conqueror, Alioth, the Delubric Constortium, and Revelation.
The MCU incarnation of the TVA differs in several ways slightly different from the original material. In episode 4 of Loki we learn that all TVA employees are actually variants from different timelines with modified memories. In the comics, most of the TVA’s employees are born and bred for their respective roles, genetically cloned to stamp out inefficiencies and increase productivity. The decision to give individual TVA employees their own identity in the context of the show was most likely a creative one and has certainly added an additional emotional layer, especially with regard to Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Hunter C-20 (Sasha- Alley). In the series finale, He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) Loki and Sylvie describes how the TVA came about. A multiversal future war created by the Kang Variants brought tears to reality that led to the birth of Alioth. He Who Remains (also a variant of Kang) armed Alioth and trimmed the multiverse to a timeline, effectively ending the multiverse war and creating the TVA to oversee their activities. And if the conclusion of season one was any hint, it’s pretty obvious that this won’t be the last time we’ll see the TVA as Loki will actually be returning for another round of mischief in the near future.
The most of us pretty much assumed that actress Sophia de Martino would play the MCU incarnation of Lady Loki. Our assumptions turned out to be equally right and wrong, as it turned out in episode 2 that Sylvie was indeed a renegade Loki variant, eager to bring down the TVA at all costs. Now, from their point of view, Sylvie’s destruction mission was certainly justified, since as a child she was suddenly ripped from Asgard by Ravonna Renslayer and a gang of Minutemen. But we wonder why she was chosen to be circumcised. Perhaps she had already deviated from her chosen path and was thinking about becoming a heroine instead of playing the more villainous role that fate had planned for her.
In any case, Sylvie was kidnapped by the TVA because she accidentally caused a nexus event, and as explained by Miss Minutes in Episode 1, those nexus events could be something as big as starting a revolution you shouldn’t, or something as mundane as being late for work. But even the sands of time could have guessed the next bold step she was about to take – He Who Remains to kill. At the beginning of the series finale, Loki and Sylvie Alioth enchant and finally get access to the citadel at the end of the time. There they meet He Who Remains and after an unsuccessful chat with the charming robber, Sylvie pushes Loki back through a time door to the TVA and deals our antagonist a fatal blow. And then Sylvie realizes the effects of her terrible act … she had brought about the beginning of the end by breaking the sacred timeline. We’ll no doubt see Sylvie again in Loki’s second season, but the fact that the aftermath of her actions can be felt in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania speaks Volumes about the chaos that lies ahead of us in the MCU.
Ravonna Renslayer was first introduced to comic book readers on the pages of Avengers # 23, published in 1963. The daughter of King Carelius, a ruler of the 40th century earth, was loved by none other than Kang the Conqueror. And because of Kang’s weakness for her, he spared the kingdom of Karelius and made it the last untouched bastion of civilization. At first, Renslayer did not return the affection Kang showed her, since she was a king and he was a common citizen. Undeterred, Kang tried to win her heart by imprisoning the Avengers in his future time to show his abilities in combat by fighting them. Although Renslayer was initially unresponsive to his efforts, she confessed her love for him with her dying breath as she threw herself in the way of a burst of energy destined for Kang. Refusing to let his love die, Kang used advanced science to keep it in a state of suspended animation, neither dead nor alive. After a fight with Thor some time later, Kang ‘Prime’ landed in the timeless realm of Limbo, where he uses a device to pull Renslayer out of harm’s way and create a deviant reality in which Kang is killed instead of her / p> Going back to the MCU version of the character, we find that she is actually a variant captured by He Who Remains, her memory erased, and made to work at the TVA as one of her loyal collaborators. As a hunter, A-23 Renslayer played an essential role in conquering the Loki variant Sylvie and later became a TVA judge who carried out the commands of the time watchmen. Passionately loyal to the cosmic bureaucracy of which it belongs, Renslayer firmly believed that the entire Multiverse would be in chaos without the TVA. However, during the events of Episode 4, Renslayer understood that the time-keepers were a ruse and began to question what it all meant, even asking Miss Minutes to find the files related to the beginning of the TVA. At the end of the series finale, Renslayer used her TemPad to open a time door and disappeared into it to “find her free will”. But judging by Renslayer’s previous collaboration with Kang in the source materials, it’s certainly likely that we should see more of her and the over-talented Gugu Mbatha-Raw soon.
In the comics, Mobius M. Mobius was something of one bureaucratic authority at the TVA. As a member of senior management, the character created by Walt Simonson made his debut on the pages of Fantastic Four # 353. Mobius’ physical appearance was based on prolific comic book writer Mark Gruenwald who worked as Marvel’s editor-in-chief in the late 1980s. Even Owen Wilson, who played the character on the show, was created to resemble Grünwald’s uncanny resemblance. Starting out as a loyal collaborator at TVA, Mobius eventually realized that everything he believed in was a lie. Like Renslayer, he was a variant who led a normal life before it was snatched and his memory was erased by the TVA.
Aside from the two main cast, Mobius’ character arc on the TV show was also one of the most interesting and transformative from someone who never questioned the status quo to someone who questioned its purpose and existence. However, after Sylvie’s unceremonious posting of He Who Remains, we saw that the TVA and its residents – including Mobius – are now part of a new timeline where they have no idea what happened before. Suffice it to say that Season 2 will be a bag full of surprises now that TVA is under « new management » aka Kang the Conqueror and Mobius has no idea who Loki is. Ah good times are ahead!
How can we not talk about the god of mischief himself on a television show titled after him? And what a roller coaster ride that was! Loki discovers the existence of the TVA, gets to know Er Who Remains, meets Sylvie and falls in love. Yeah, it’s been quite an adventure for any favorite knitter. While in one timeline he is tragically killed by Thanos, in another Loki somehow manages to escape this terrible fate by using the tesseract to escape during the Avengers’ time robbery in Endgame. He is transported somewhere in the Gobi Desert, where the annoying TVA Minutemen arrest him for triggering a Nexus event. One thing leads to another and soon we find ourselves in a dilemma in which the fate of the universe is now in the balance. Despite He Who Remains’ insistence that his death would inevitably open a proverbial Pandora’s box, Sylvie kills him anyway, and this leads to the breakdown of the sacred timeline and multiversal madness.
As mentioned, the effects of Sylvie’s become more impulsive Plot reverberation across the MCU in the years to come, making Star Lord’s reckless mistakes in Avengers: Infinity War almost … forgivable. It’s uncertain if we’ll see Loki in an MCU-related movie anytime soon (he’s rumored for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), we know for sure we’ll see him next in season two of Loki when he does tries to wrestle with a TVA that is now run by none other than Kang the Conqueror.
Marvel sure tossed a real curvature ball when they featured Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains in the season finale. I mean, we all knew Majors was cast as Kang the Conqueror for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but no one in his dizzying daydreams would have thought he would be whoever stays! In the comics, He Who Remains was the last director of the Time Variance Authority and the creator of the Time-Keepers who lived in the Citadel at the end of time. First appearing in Thor # 245, published in March 1966, the character was portrayed as a wrinkled old man who was « the last of his race and the only guardian left at the end of eternity ».
Kevin Feige & Company has certainly taken some liberties with their interpretation of He Who Remains, made it a variant of Kang the Conqueror and allows a whiney major to just have fun with the role. Like its comic book counterpart, this version was a scientist with a brilliant intellect who had the foresight to create the TVA, oversee and maintain the sacred timeline – a timeline in which there is no annoying interference from evil variants of himself . With the demise of He Who Remains, however, we have seen that the current timeline will not be very kang-free, as evidenced by the gigantic statue of him that looms ominously over the TVA. It’s still early days to guess, but I think we just have a sneak peek of our next Thanos-level MCU threat. Let the Multi-Universal War begin!
Hasitha Fernando is a part-time doctor and full-time cinephile. Follow him on Twitter via @DoctorCinephile for regular updates on the world of entertainment.
Filed Under: Articles and Opinions, Featured, Hasitha Fernando, Television Tagged With: Disney, Loki, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe
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