So far, Marvel’s first two series on Disney+ have dealt with the aftermath of the Blip. WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Solider focused on the trauma of returnees like Wanda and Monica or those left like the Flagsmashers. But for its third outing, the MCU streaming world is going to follow a different track. As fans saw in Avengers: Endgame, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) cheated his coming death by grabbing the tesseract and creating a new timeline that forks off the events of 2012. In this new Loki clip, fans get a good look at where it takes him.
Most people are used to thinking of stories in three dimensions: width, breadth, and height. Loki is going to play with the fourth dimension, time. In science fiction, especially Marvel Comics, time is not just a linear track like a monorail going straight from birth to death. Instead, it’s the dimensions of possibilities, of multiverses, of one change here that can erase the lives of millions there.
Fans have seen this sort of storytelling before, like in Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, where there’s a bureaucracy dedicated to keeping the central or “prime” timeline. Anything that would derail that official reality and substitute its own would be a threat and require removal. Marvel’s version of that is called the “TVA,” the Time Variance Authority.
It doesn’t take a genius to guess the new 2012 Loki that escapes from the Avengers is precisely the kind of derailing force the TVA is dedicated to removing.
From the looks of this clip, Loki has been up to time-altering shenanigans and is not subtle about it either. With Loki in a TVA-labeled prison jumpsuit, it seems he wasn’t quick enough off the mark to escape capture.
But that’s where this clip gets interesting. Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) doesn’t seem much like a correctional officer, nor is he a lawyer fighting for Loki’s freedom. Instead, he’s taking Loki somewhere that’s not his cell. As previous trailers have suggested, the TVA seems to have decided that Loki’s trickster god could be put to work, keeping the timeline on track. But if Loki’s out there protecting time, who’s protecting time from Loki?
Moreover, fans are probably super confused at Loki’s offhand comment about “space lizards.” That’s a reference to the creatures appointed to run the TVA by the Celestial who founded the organization, known as “He Who Remains.” Known as “Time-Keepers,” the three, called Ast, Vort, and Zanth, are the ultimate arbiters of the universe’s reality.
But their introduction to the MCU only raises more questions. What do the Time-Keepers have planned, and why do they need Loki to carry it out? Will their work (and their relation to a Celestial) tie into Marvel’s Eternals due out later this year?
Loki could be a show with far-reaching implications. The series premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.