Marvel Cinematic Universe movies didn’t invent the post- and mid-credits scene. But the franchise has elevated it; making audiences stay in their seats until the last “thank you” has rolled into an art form. The tradition did not initially extend to the smaller screen fare when Marvel TV was broadcasting on ABC and Hulu, but the move to Disney+ has changed that approach. Both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made judicious use of these bonus scenes in the back halves of their runs. Now, having passed its season’s halfway mark, Loki joined the party as well. Loki’s Episode 4 mid-credits scene is the first the show has done, and it added extra Loki for your buck.
Warning: Spoilers for Loki Season 1, Episode 4 follow. In most cases, it’s not necessarily obvious when a particular episode will have a post- or mid-credits scene. But Episode 4 took the big step of killing off both main male leads, including the titular Loki, before the hour was out. Viewers required answers, and they appeared at the end of the first half of the credits, at the 44:38 mark.
Both Loki and Agent Mobius were “killed” in the same fashion: stabbed by an instrument known as a pruner, which supposedly dematerializes someone from the sacred timeline. The illusion that this act actually killed off characters might have held if it were only Mobius who went. But the moment Loki was offed, fans knew that the “pruners” must not really be killing people, but rather sending them elsewhere, out of time, and away from the TVA.
The mid-credits scene showing Loki awakening on the surface of a faraway place confirmed the theory, even as he wondered if he’d awakened in Hel, the home of the Dead of Asgard. But no, he’d just been transported to find his people. Remember, variant Lokis are a dime a dozen around the TVA. Everyone’s pruned at least a couple. Wherever pruners are sending the pruned to must be littered with Lokis.
And so it was, as Loki found himself blinking at three other human variations of himself. Here’s how they are credited: From left to right, there’s Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei), Kid Loki (Jack Veal), and Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant). There’s also Crocodile Loki, a non-human version, just for kicks. (One assumes he would exist in the same multiverse as Peter Porker’s Spider-Ham and Throg.)
Moreover, note where they’re all hanging out: post-apocalyptic New York City, the one where the Avengers didn’t save the planet during the battle of New York. It seems like Sylvie isn’t the only one who hides in the folds of the ends of worlds.
There’s a lot to unpack in this tiny blip of a scene. Boastful Loki’s not-quite Mjolnir is raising a lot of eyebrows and fans, of course, need to know more about the Crocodilia of Mischief. But it’s Classic Loki and Kid Loki that have actual backstories from the comics. “Old Loki” was a comic book character introduced in 2014’s Loki: Agent of Asgard #1 who does manage to become King (at least for a while.) Kid Loki, on the other hand? He’s a Young Avenger.
So far, each of the Disney+ series has introduced teens who could be part of the Young Avengers. At first, many fans were convinced Sylvie would turn out to be Enchantress, because Enchantress is a Young Avenger. But the longer fans hang out with Sylvie, the more obvious it is she’s no teenager from the Midwest, but a peer in age and ability to her male counterpart. On the other hand, Young Loki is exactly the right age to be part of the Young Avenger crowd. Fans will have to stick around to see if that’s how it plays out.
The Loki overload continues every Wednesday on Disney+ with new episodes of Loki.