In his return to MARVEL blogging, Gavriel takes a deep dive into the season finale of Disney + series Loki. As if pointing out loads of hidden details wasn’t enough, Gavriel also speculates about what this might mean for the future of the MCU.
18th July 2021
It’s Been A Long, Long Time
The episode begins with the song “It’s Been A Long, Long Time”, first played in Captain America: The Winter Soldier but more memorably when Cap dances with Peggy at the end of Endgame, possibly creating at that moment a new timeline.
As the MARVEL title animation comes into focus we hear famous lines from each character as they begin to appear. But as the camera pans out and shows the Sacred Timeline in its entirety circling the “time citadel” the sounds merge and become a cacophony. Perhaps this represents the simultaneous occurrences of all these events and time as a whole from the perspective of the one who remains. From Spider Man’s web shooter to Peter Quill’s dance-off and “the friend from work” line, the sequence pays homage to the entirety of the MCU. Fun fact: a make-a-wish kid visiting the set of Ragnarok came up with that line, which is arguably one of the more iconic lines from the MCU.
Expanding the Loki “verse”
The voices then transition away from MCU lines to the words of notable people. Philosopher Alan Watts begins: “We think of time as a one-way motion from the past through the present and on into the future.” Watts argued that time wasn’t the past affecting the future but an imaginary concept we perceive from the present. Niel Armstrong’s first steps from the moon are recorded as a mysterious ship flies by, and then Greta gets a word.
Malala is also heard followed by Mandela as Tchaikovsky’s music from Swan Lake is heard. Putting on my English Literature student cap, this might represent the battle between light and dark. In a sense, this is like this variant of Kang’s battle with other, worse variants.
Beethoven’s Für Elise is then heard as we see two adjacent black holes. We zoom into the next black hole as we hear “GLORIOUS PURPOSE” screamed by the older, variant Loki.
In her initial conversation with Miss Minutes, Ravonna seems to have no clue who “he” (He Who Remains) is. However, when she has her chat with Mobius she seems far more agitated. She is certain that “he” is the only one with free will and she is determined to find him, disappearing off perhaps to find a variant of Kang.
Ravonna came from FDR high school, where she was the principal “Rebecca Tourminet”, an alias she uses in the comics. She is Kang’s love interest in the comics, and her search for free will might lead to her entanglement with Kang at some point down the line.
Kang/He Who Remains Explained
Kang the Conqueror was a scientist who discovered alternate universes and made contact with other versions of Kang. They were all narcissists and started fighting with each other, naturally. This version, “He Who Remains”, won their war, and he uses the TVA to keep his throne secure. When he is no longer able to control the timeline, the other Kang’s start fighting again.
“He Who Remains” is a variant of Kang the Conqueror. Jonathan Majors has been cast as Kang for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and his character in episode 6 was dressed like Immortus (another variant of Kang). He refers to himself as a “Conqueror”, and the light initially casts his face in blue which makes him look like his comic-book costume.
He snaps at Sylvie, calling her a murder and a hypocrite, similar to Kaecilius calling the Ancient One a hypocrite in Doctor Strange. The breaking of the timeline is depicted similarly to lightning, which is also seen in Doctor Strange when the Ancient One slows down time as she dies. At this point, neither He Who Remains nor the Ancient One can see beyond this point. When Loki returns to the TVA it has already changed.
That Was Loki Very Deceitful
When Sylvie stabs He Who Remains he winks and says “see you soon”. This scene is executed chillingly. She truly had no free will in their battle. Kang well and truly was in control the whole time, and in spite of his inability to see the future he set up a scenario in which he, and only he, could win.
Kang’s offer to promote Sylvie and Loki is backhanded. Their affection for one another (albeit somewhat inappropriate) makes them Nexus beings with immense powers when together. Kang probably realises this and thus drives a wedge between them the entire episode masked by his candid attitude. Now Kang can return in an even more dangerous form.
Loki and Sylvie
Despite their odd relationship, it is strange to see them fight. Their fight is undoubtedly a callback to Loki a few episodes back when he calls love a ‘dagger’. Up close you can see yourself in it and it is beautiful (Loki and Sylvie kiss). But, when you reach for it you bleed (Sylvie pushes Loki through a time-door).
Classic Loki’s wisdom reigns supreme. Blades are worthless against a Loki’s magic. However, Loki learned the key lesson Sylvie laid out for him at the beginning of the series – it truly isn’t all about Loki. Hopefully, we can see more of the duo in season 2 of the series. It will probably come out just before the next Ant-Man and the Wasp in early 2023.
Loki’s return to the TVA shows on the monitor many branches overlapping, and in our cosmic view of the multiverse, many sections are red. Perhaps this is an explanation for Scarlet Witch hearing her children calling out in the post-credit scene of Wandavision? Perhaps this will also explain how Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx will appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home. We should get a trailer for that soon.
Mobius and B15 don’t know who Loki is and the timekeeper statues are replaced by a statue of Kang the Conqueror. Its true creator (Kang) is now for all time, always. Well, at least until he is inevitably dethroned in a possible Fantastic 4 movie, or any other movie really. It does seem as if Kang has the potential to be the next big bad of MARVEL.
If you have any questions or theories feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to respond.
You will never be
a god me,