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Despite revolving around an alternate version of a character killed off years ago, it seems Marvel's Loki could have significant implications for the franchise's future.
The Disney+ show's premiere, which debuted Wednesday, sees the 2012 version of Tom Hiddleston's Loki detained by the Time Variance Authority after escaping in Avengers: Endgame. As the show explains, that's because in the Marvel universe, there's one "sacred timeline," and the TVA is tasked with dealing with "variants" who stray off their predetermined path in this timeline. If not dealt with, we're told, these variants could create branching timelines that might lead to "madness" and "another multiversal war."
This comes as Marvel is expected to delve into the multiverse in a big way in its upcoming films. Spider-Man: No Way Home will reportedly see iconic Spider-Man characters from non-MCU movies return, possibly from other timelines, and the multiverse will apparently also factor into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So given that Loki teases the danger of branching timeline "madness," could its plot set a movie storyline involving the multiverse into motion?
Some fans have theorized Loki could build up to the TVA's dismantling, leaving no one left to prevent the existence of branching timelines and leading into Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Another possibility is that Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) actually causes the multiverse madness by trying to rescue her kids, as teased in WandaVision, but Loki would establish key timeline mechanics involved.
Either way, given that Loki's creator also co-wrote the Doctor Strange sequel involving the multiverse, it's fair to expect connections, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has promised Loki will have "more impact" on the MCU than WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Ultimately, if Disney wants to establish that its streaming shows are just as important to keep tabs on as its blockbuster movies, perhaps emphasizing that could be Loki's true glorious purpose.