Loki's Place in the MCU Timeline Is Key to Marvel's Next Phase

·3-min read

In our great pastime of watching—and trying to understand!—the shows and movies with Marvel's name on it, there's usually one question we're always asking ourselves: when the hell does this take place?

There might not be a story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that's messed with our sense of time and space more than Loki, which premiered on Disney+ this Wednesday. Want to know why? Because almost the entire show—at least, in what we've seen so far—basically shatters our concept of how time works in the universe we've followed since 2008. So, just like Loki, we were a little dumbfounded at first learning about the ins and outs of the TVA, and even which Loki we were even watching take in all of this information. You might be too. So let's run through the ins and outs of what Loki has revealed to us about its place in the MCU so far.

All right. Let's start with Loki. In Avengers: Endgame, Cap and the team travel back to the events of 2012's The Avengers to return an Infinity Stone to its proper place. While they're there, Loki steals the Tesseract and disappears with it. So, the Loki from 2012's The Avengers is the Loki who shows up in Loki. Got all that? When we catch up with him in Loki, the Time Variance Authority shows up and takes him back to their headquarters. We learn through a metric shit-ton of exposition that Loki was not supposed to disappear with the Tesseract, which makes him a "variant" who could catalyze alternate timelines where bad things happen. That's why the TVA exists, by the way. To make sure that doesn't happen.

One more note on Loki: throughout the episode, we see Mobius show him all of the key events in his life. For us, that means everything that happens to Loki between The Avengers and Endgame. Mobius casually explains that he can see everything that has and will happen for people. Scary! Loki sees his mother die, his redemption in Thor: Ragnarok, and his death at the hands of Thanos in Endgame. By watching all of that, you kinda get the idea that Loki gets a secondhand, lite version of his arc in the MCU—and might already be somewhat of a good dude by Episode Two.

Now, the existence of the TVA—and just, well, how they came to be in the first place—is even more complicated. Apparently, there were a bunch of different timelines in the origins of the MCU, and one day, they decided to... have a war? Whatever happened there (details are scarce in that retro-looking informational video), one single timeline came out of it. That's the timeline we've been living in since we first met Iron Man in 2008. There are these near-divine beings who monitor the timeline (they created the TVA to help them out), which is a concept that's even too big for Loki in this episode. For now, it seems like it's most important to know that Loki will be skipping around time and space, hunting for another variant: himself.

Hopefully, this will help you out with your bearings going into Episode Two, which will most definitely cancel half this stuff out and leave us asking more questions.

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