Loki's second episode ended with viewers' first look at "the variant," aka the version of the trickster god currently wreaking havoc on the TVA. Agent Mobius claims this Loki has killed multiple hunters and agents, and the episode's final moments felt like the culmination of the "evil plan" that comes standard in the criminal playbook of "bad and wrong things to do to the universe." All of this primed viewers to see the character as the show's villain. But some fans suspect the variant isn't the real antagonist and have started asking whether Ravonna Renslayer is the villain in Loki instead.
Warning: Spoilers for Loki Season 1, Episode 2 follow. Audiences could easily be forgiven for training their sights on variant-Loki as the show's main big bad. Shattering the "Sacred Timeline" with hundreds of Nexus events all at once might not be quite as bad as Thanos' snap, but it's got major manic malevolent implications all the same. Loki's dive after her from the Roxxcart further complicated matters, turning everyone's attention to a pair of wayward gods on the loose.
But the TVA shouldn't get a pass just because it has Miss Minutes and a bunch of useless Infinity Stones acting as paperweights. Fans already had suspicions about these would-be pruners after Loki tried and failed to get an audience with the Time-Keepers in multiple instances in Episode 2. Moreover, a second look at Agent Mobius' boss, Judge Renslayer, and her office had more than one Marvel fan on high alert.
The former Hunter seems like the typical "good boss," giving her underling the chance to prove that Loki is worth the trouble. But fans have noticed the show hasn't been very forthcoming in mentioning her name — Ravonna Renslayer. That's because fans of the comics will recognize it.
Initially introduced in Avengers #23, Renslayer is the daughter of a 40th-century king in a wayward corner of the universe ruled by Kang the Conqueror. They meet when he annexes her kingdom into his empire, and it's love at first sight. Well, for him, it is. Ravonna hates Kang for conquering and enslaving her people. (It's not the stuff of successful first dates.) But when she discovers that Kang is sincere about his feelings, it makes her reflect on what a dedicated and loyal murdering maniac he is. She realizes how much he cares for the people he tortures to death and how he's only doing it for the benefit of the galaxy. In short, a romance was born.
Now, the path of true love doesn't run smoothly for these two; there's imprisonment and comas for her, a failed game of chess to win her freedom by him, and a lot of misunderstandings that eventually cause a bitter breakup. (The war they wage as fallout from their failed relationship across the universe is quite extensive.) But the part of their history that matters here is that during Kang's time as Immortus, the duo have it together as a couple.
That matters because it's as Immortus that Kang takes over the TVA, kills the Time-Keepers, and becomes head bureaucrat in charge of the timeline. Renslayer is there as his right-hand woman and consort.
Now, as Marvel Cinematic Universe fans know, the MCU doesn't follow any particular comic run to the letter; it's more of a picking-and-choosing remix. Just because Ravonna in the comics is romantically involved with Kang doesn't mean Judge Renslayer is betraying her fellow TVA colleagues or manipulating them into doing Kang's will. But it’s suspicious, especially with fans’ heightened awareness Kang is the villain of 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Fans should keep a sharp eye out for how Renslayer handles Loki and the variant's antics. Audiences already heard her threaten Loki's life and Mobius' career if the plan didn't work. Now that it didn't, will sentencing be far behind? Or is Renslayer focused on a longer game?
Loki continues on Wednesdays on Disney+.