One of the joys of a giant, sprawling franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that after a while, it becomes a world unto itself with a history and set of cultural in-world references. But because this is a franchise based in the world of comics, one that stretches back nearly a century, there’s a double layer of sources to pull from. With the advent of TV series on Disney+, drawing both from the MCU’s established world and the comics, there are more callbacks than you can shake a stick at. And yet, the franchise does a nice job of not overdoing it. The Marvel easter eggs in Loki, for example, are the fabric of the established world and sprinkled in just lightly enough as not to distract from the main plot.
Warning: Spoilers for Loki Season 1, Episode 1 follow. Loki is a slightly different beast than the previous Marvel outings on Disney+. Both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were stories inspired by the events on the big screen that were conceived and written to tie back to future big-screen adventures. (Falcon, for instance, followed its finale not with a Season 2 renewal, but the announcement of the feature film, Captain America 4.) But Loki is separate from the big screen world by the very nature of its outside-the-flow-of-time setting. That means the easter eggs aren’t there as clues about to what’s to come in Phase 4 at the movies, but instead are first the moral equivalent of establishing shots before subtly calling back to things only hardcore fans will get.
Let’s run down all the Marvel easter eggs in Loki so far:
Loki Episode 1 Easter Eggs
Loki's premiere opened with a pair of MCU references, first to his capture in 2012's The Avengers, when Loki was given center stage as the villain, and then to the redux of the same scene from Avengers: Endgame when he escaped.
These clips were only the tip of the iceberg in an episode filled with entire scenes from Marvel's big-screen films. Other movies that warranted clips throughout the hour included everything Loki has ever been in. For instance, the episode covered the scene from Thor when Odin blessed both Thor and Loki as well as Frigga's death scene from Thor: The Dark World. It also showed Loki and Thor making up in Thor: Ragnarok and Loki's death scene from Avengers: Infinity War.
But it wouldn't be a Marvel show if those were the only easter eggs in the hour. After all, these clips of previous films aren't exactly hidden; essentially, they're plot point reminders for those who haven't had time to do a rewatch or never saw the Thor films.
The other easter eggs in this episode are less in your face. For instance, when Loki arrived at the TVA, he was asked if he is a fully organic being. Loki responded by asking, "Do a lot of people not know if they're robots?" That's a reference to the Life Model Decoy program from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which robots replaced several characters. (They were, in fact, unaware that they were robots.)
Another callback can be found in the Miss Minutes video, when the Timekeepers were introduced. Fans of the older animated series will recognize that the animation in this sequence is a direct recall to the 1960s era Saturday morning Marvel cartoons.
Then there are the silly things, like the Josta that Mobius is constantly drinking. The short-lived 1990s era soda is a cult-favorite; fans even had a decade-long quest to bring it back. That Mobius drinks this short-lived soda (because he can travel to the ‘90s wherever he wants and pick it up) is just one of the hints of the benefits of time travel.
And of course, there are the hints of stories untold, like Casey's desk drawer full of Infinity Stones ("We get those all the time!"), or the revelation that there's another Loki that the TVA is hunting. How many times has Loki screwed with the timeline? Do they all stem from Avengers: Endgame? Only time (heh heh) will tell.
Loki continues Wednesdays on Disney+.