The first episode of ‘Loki’ is a full-fledged introduction to the Time Variance Authority. The Loki series will have a significant impact on Phase 4.
Marvel Cinematic Universe has already rebooted itself with just one episode of Loki. Just like in 2008’s Iron Man, Loki crashes into a desert after escaping captivity from Avengers just as Tony Stark did shortly after forging the suit that bought him his freedom. Loki, unfortunately, is captured again, and he soon travels to an unseen, timeless place that is impervious to his magic. Before long, Loki’s entire past and future become moot as he realizes that he has ended up in the hands of the most powerful organization in the multiverse as the whole: the Time Variance Authority, aka TVA.
The first episode of Loki has not only resurrected the character who met his demise (Loki)
in the opening minutes of the movie Infinity War, but it swiftly resets the power structure of the MCU. Suddenly, Thanos’s desired Infinity Stones and even the Avengers seem inconsequential compared to the Time-Keepers and the bureaucracy that they created in the TVA. Loki finds out that he has no “glorious purpose” in life, just a set path which the Time Keepers dictated that he’ll inevitably follow over and over again in infinite realities.
With the help of an animated anthropomorphic clock named Miss Minutes, we learn that the TVA and its workers were all created to protect the Sacred Timeline. The Time-Keepers also fashioned by neatly clearing up all the multiverse realities into a single timeline, just like many cosmic Marie Kondos. The Sacred Timeline thrives on providing order and on avoiding the outbreak of another multiversal war between all timelines. The TVA exists to ensure the sanctity of that timeline.
While we have to wait and see these all-powerful Time-Keepers in the flesh, Loki has already understood how much TVA’s operation works. The first TVA employees Loki meets are the Minutemen, a police force armed with a time-manipulating device that can dictate the speed of other people or reset altered timelines. Hunters, like (Wunmi Mosaku) (Hunter B-15), “prune” timelines that are branching off the course of the Sacred Timeline, which requires them to bring in trailblazing variants like Loki to stand trial before the TVA’s judges. As of the first episode, the only judge we’ve met is Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ravonna Renslayer), who, as she curtly explains to Loki, “dictates the proper flow of time according to the Time-Keepers’ dictations.” Judges like Renslayer closely work with TVA agents like Owen Wilson’s Mobius, who investigates dangerous variants like the iteration of Loki, who has been killing Minutemen. The TVA workers spend their lives behind desks, pushing across a multiversal amount of paperwork, such as the unfortunate Casey.
The interdimensional and time-traveling nature of the Time Keepers and TVA is just as weird and confusing as it gets in the comics. The Time-Keepers were created by the last living creature in existence and the final director of the TVA, known as “He Who Remains,” who spawned these omniscient beings to safeguard the next cycle of time.
Beyond the comics, Loki is also gloriously burdened with laying down much groundwork for the MCU as it moves deeper into Phase 4. Both The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and WandaVision were very much focused on the past. Whether through the idea of legacy or a character dealing with trauma and while the Loki premiere also served up the character’s greatest hits along the way, it opened up a host of new creative possibilities in a way that no previous MCU films or shows ever has. Loki is walking its audience through the multiverse so future stories can run right into it.
While it is not a coincidence that Loki’s head writer Michael Waldron is also in charge of writing a sequel to Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Doctor Strange sequel is far from the only project which may build based on events that take place in Loki. There have been various rumors regarding Spider-Man: No Way Home for months, suggesting that Tom Holland may collide with the Spider-Men of days past in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, setting up a live-action Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Whatever the future of the MCU may hold, Loki still has a lot of ground left to cover, and plenty needs to be revealed about the mysterious origins of the TVA. The Time-Keepers, for one, is a rich text overflowing with cinematic potential. But will they eventually be shown as giant, blue CGI cosmic creatures? Or could they instead be three massive comedic stars, cast in secret, to lean into the absurdity of it all?
Chief among all the TVA workers to watch is Mobius, the agent with a heart who has taken a specific curiosity in the God of Mischief. Despite both Renslayer’s and Hunter B-15’s persistent urges that working with Loki is a terrible idea, Mobius sees potential in him as a tool that, even if unintentionally, can help others “achieve the best versions of themselves.” Only time will tell if Loki and Mobius become the dynamic duo that will save the Sacred Timeline or if the ever-deceitful trickster retains the backstabbing nature that has defined him across infinite timelines and realities.