Caution: spoilers ahead for Loki
Here are all the biggest theories regarding how Loki will come to an end. Once upon a time, bringing the MCU to Disney+ seemed like a monumental gamble. That trepidation now seems a trifle misguided, as WandaVision, Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Loki have all found streaming success, and the God of Mischief perhaps more so than Wanda, Viz, Sam and Bucky. Fresh from the Battle of New York (immediately after 2012’s The Avengers), Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is picked up by the Time Variance Authority, who decree the villain should’ve been detained by the Avengers and consigned to Asgardian jail as planned.
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Since then, Loki has discovered a whole new world of his own variants, one of which he, predictably, fell in love with. Together, Loki and Sylvie have run amok through the TVA; revealing the sacred Time-Keepers as inanimate androids, proving every employee is just a brainwashed variant, and discovering what really happens when a timeline or person gets pruned. Now the pernicious pair have got the better of Alioth, the guard dog of the Void realm, and found some kind of castle on the other side. There, they assume, lies the truth behind the TVA’s meddling.
In its first five episodes, Loki has twisted and turned in ways fans haven’t necessarily predicted, leaving a multiverse of possibilities for the ending. There are plenty of theories out there, but here are the most exciting and intriguing routes Loki might take as the end looms.
Loki & Sylvie Meet Kang
The first order of business for Loki episode 6 is revealing the person behind the curtain – or, more accurately, the person inside the castle. Loki and Sylvie are heading straight to the top, bypassing Alioth to meet whatever mysterious force sits at the center of the TVA, and Kang the Conqueror is current odds-on favorite. Loki has dropped Kang hints aplenty, from the presence of Ravonna Renslayer to the Qeng Industries sign spotted within the Void. In the Marvel comics, Kang is a time-traveling villain from the future who uses a genius intellect and advanced weaponry to rule a temporal empire. Not only would it make sense for Kang to manipulate the MCU’s timeline through the TVA, but the character has already been cast for Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, with Jonathan Majors taking the role.
Should Loki and Sylvie enter the otherworldly citadel introduced in episode 5 and discover Kang sitting atop the throne, it’s safe to assume they’d be unable to defeat him. Kang still needs to trouble Paul Rudd in 2023, and can’t be made to look weak in his MCU debut. Kang might, however, explain his true purpose in creating the TVA, perhaps revealing that his plan has already come to fruition in spite of recent Loki interference. Kang would then blast off into times unknown, ready for a later appearance.
Assuming live-action Kang is motivated by the same lust for conquering as his comic counterpart, there are several ways forming the TVA could’ve helped attain his goal. Pruning the multiverse into a “Sacred Timeline” might’ve let Kang mold history to his advantage as the precursor to full-scale invasion. This would explain why the TVA believed their three Time-Keepers were working on an idyllic “ending” for the Sacred Timeline, and also fit a popular theory that the TVA exists within the Quantum Realm. Alternatively, Kang might’ve been using pruned timelines to source the very best weapons and warriors for his own personal forces, once again in preparation for a temporal war. In either scenario, revealing Kang as the TVA’s mastermind would effectively make Loki a prequel to Ant-Man 3 – and perhaps also establish him as the franchise’s “new Thanos.”
He Who Remains Reveals His Plan
Should Loki adhere more faithfully to the Marvel comic books, viewers can expect the man in the castle to be He Who Remains. Like Kang, He Who Remains dwells within a citadel at the end of time – a description that matches the mystery location Sylvie envisioned in Loki episode 5. He Who Remains is also the Time-Keepers’ creator and secret director of the TVA in Marvel’s comic continuity. The last remnant from a previous universe, He Who Remains serves as the guardian of time, attempting to steer our current universe away the mistakes made during past cycles. Thor and Jane Foster visit He Who Remains and explain how his actions are actually hurting the timeline, and this encourages the ancient wrinkly one to alter his approach as a Sentinel of time and space.
Mirroring this storyline, Loki and Sylvie could switch places with Thor and Jane in a pleasing moment of redemptive symmetry. The two Lokis would enter He Who Remains’ citadel and explain how the current treatment of variants is cruel and destructive – especially plucking young children from their families without properly explaining the crime they’ve committed. Faced with the loved-up Asgardians, He Who Remains might find a better way to guard the timeline; something that doesn’t involve condemning entire worlds to the Void.
Of course, this would mean the TVA and Time-Keepers weren’t created out of malice, and the true intention of He Who Remains was to protect the timeline and prevent a cataclysmic universe-ending event (even if some details bent the truth). This isn’t necessarily what Loki has been building towards. By hiring hypnotized staff and pruning with reckless abandon, the TVA has a palpably sinister edge, which suggests its leader isn’t just an old man tasked with protecting reality. Also, why would He Who Remains bother hiding behind three fictional omnipotent beings from the beginning of time when that’s precisely what he is anyway?
Loki’s True Enemy Is A Loki Variant
In the words of Owen Wilson’s Mobius, throw a rock in the Void and you hit a Loki. By this logic, the man behind the curtain could be another version of the God of Mischief, and the TVA is just one giant, dastardly plan to conquer all of space and time… or something. The modus operadi of the TVA seems consistent with the schemes of a Loki, with the organization specializing in sorcery (the effects of magic are nullified in TVA HQ), manipulation (the Time-Keeper propaganda) and lying (pretty much everything). Through Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki, the Disney+ series has also demonstrated the true potential of Loki’s sorcery, which extends to enchanting minds and casting gargantuan lifelike illusions. Taking Loki’s power to its natural conclusion, the TVA’s mastermind could be the strongest variant yet.
According to Mobius, the TVA prunes Loki more than any other figure in history. While it’s natural to assume this is due to Loki’s unpredictable mischievousness, the real reason could be because “final boss” Loki knows the biggest threat to his rule is another version of himself – especially if their power is allowed to grow unchecked. Loki and Sylvie could team-up to defeat their evil variant in a thrilling final battle for the fate of all time. Episode 5 already teased how Loki and Sylvie’s powers complement each other, and two in-love Lokis might just be enough to defeat the villainous Time-Keeper Loki.
Loki and Sylvie fighting another version of themselves feels thematically appropriate as an ending to their Disney+ solo (duo) series. On an emotional level, the entire narrative has seen Tom Hiddleston’s Loki grapple with his own self-destructive tendencies, whether that be egotistical invasions or betraying the people he loves. Now that MCU Loki has completed that journey of self-discovery, it makes sense his final challenge would be to overcome the most outwardly evil Loki seen thus far.
Loki Frees The Other Variants (& Himself?)
Aside from revealing the TVA’s puppet master, Loki‘s finale must also address the fate of all variants, both within the Void and at the TVA. Many theories predict the Disney+ series could end with Loki & Sylvie liberating everyone who was ever pruned. One way to do this is restoring all the Nexus events and everyone within them, eschewing the TVA’s “one timeline” rule to create a multiverse full of alternate realities. President Loki goes back to his world, Kid Loki to his, etc. Even Throg is restored to whichever mad alternate timeline he sprung forth from. Almost everyone wins in this scenario apart from Loki and Sylvie, who would be torn apart to their respective homeworlds. The wrench of being separated could give Loki episode 6 its emotional kicker – freeing the variants is the “right” thing to do, but comes at great personal cost for the two protagonists.
Another potential way for Loki to save the day would be creating a separate world for all variants to live within peacefully, quite apart from the main timeline. Not only does this help preserve the MCU’s continuity by keeping splinter realities to a minimum, but Loki and Sylvie (and Mobius) would be able to live happily together until the end of time. The decision hinges entirely on whether Marvel Studios wants Loki back in the MCU proper, or whether the God of Mischief’s Avengers: Infinity War death is to be honored.
Whatever happens, viewers need Mobius riding a jet ski before the end credits roll. This could either happen within Mobius’ home timeline of the 1990s, or in the pocket universe Loki could create for himself and the other variants.
The TVA Ends – Multiverse Madness Is Triggered
Whether Loki and Sylvie chase off Kang, convince He Who Remains to change his ways, or defeat an evil Loki variant, the TVA’s future looks decidedly dim. After the organization’s true leader is revealed, the whole operation comes crashing down, and with Mobius promising to “burn it down,” a TVA worker’s strike looks very, very likely. This means Nexus events are no longer pruned before a split timeline is created, and without anyone to trim it, the Sacred Timeline suddenly turns into a myriad of conflicting realities. Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness will both delve into quantum craziness, and the TVA’s demise could be the trigger.
This is assuming the TVA’s Sacred Timeline explanation wasn’t just part of their rhetoric. Some theories claim the MCU already exists within a multiverse and the TVA has only been pruning some diverging timelines, not all of them. Even if a multiverse is already in place, the sudden influx of variant realities after the TVA’s dissolution could still catch Stephen Strange’s eye.
The TVA (& The Void) Is Reformed
With the first two MCU shows on Disney+, efforts were made to limit how much the wider franchise landscape was altered. This is likely to avoid alienating fans who are still only interested in big screen fare, and if Loki follows suit, viewers shouldn’t expect the finale to bleed directly into Marvel’s forthcoming Spider-Man and Doctor Strange movies. To keep Loki relatively self-contained and avoid triggering a multiverse, it’s possible that the TVA will be reformed, rather than abandoned altogether. Maybe Mobius or Loki takes charge of the organization, throws out the Time-Keeper propaganda, and starts recruiting variants openly instead of brainwashing them into subservience. And whereas the TVA was previously pruning Nexus events according to the Time-Keepers’ doctrine, the new-look authority might only prune timelines that lead to dangerous or apocalyptic outcomes. Under new leadership, the TVA could be a genuine force for good.
This way, the MCU’s structure remains mostly unchanged (Kevin Feige will have to find another way to instigate his multiverse madness), and the leftover variants, including Loki, are all offered a new purpose under a fairer regime – like when Lotso is kicked out of Sunnyside Daycare at the end of Toy Story 3, but with Mobius instead of Ken. Sylvie, however, might prove a sticking point. Even after the current leadership is ousted, Sylvie could never bring herself to work for the organization she spent her entire life hating. This difference of direction would put Loki and Sylvie on separate paths, but with the potential to bump into each other sometime in the future (or the past).
The final episode of Loki streams Wednesday on Disney+.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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