(SPOILERS for Disney ’s Loki and the MCU will be found below.)
Whew. Marvel’s known for its secrecy, but when they want to tell fans that something’s coming, they get pretty damn forthright. After all, they’ve been telegraphing the arrival of the multiverse for a while and going into Disney ’s Loki, Marvel fans had to know that the multiverse was coming. The biggest clue there was the admirable audacity of the next Benedict Cumberbatch-starring film being called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. No subtlety there!
Also, WandaVision began to make suggestions in the same direction (Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch will appear in the Strange sequel, too), and there’s also more fun to had with Kevin Feige linking up FOX superheroes with the MCU. With Loki, the whole trickster aura of Tom Hiddleston’s character lent the perfect vibe to crack open the multiverse, and it sure looks like that’s what happened at the end of Episode 2. That happened after Owen Wilson’s Mobius character did his damndest to explain the rules of a multiverse without confusing anyone. It was a heck of an expositional feat, but Mobius didn’t anticipate the character who’s caused all hell to break loose.
Matters grew both more and less confusing at the end of Episode 2, when the shrouded character who killed a bunch of Timekeepers in Oklahoma revealed their identity: Lady Loki (portrayed by Sophia Di Martino).
She’s the mystery Variant that the Time Variance Authority has been chasing, and she presented herself straight to Loki’s face. He did not appear to be impressed.
However, we must get real here. What Lady Loki does is something that the actual Loki (and it’s confusing, obviously, since we’re dealing with Loki Variants, including the version that Tom Hiddleston is portraying in this series) would have never dared to or thought to do. Sure, the Loki that we’ve come to know is the same guy who invited the Chitauri down to Earth for a bunch of murderous mayhem in Avengers, but Lady Loki’s shaking things up to a degree that’s possibly beyond repair. What’s going on?
Lady Loki’s murders throughout the Sacred Timeline have been a ruse to snatch up the TVA’s timeline-resetting devices. They’re all rigged up now, and Lady Loki appears to be creating the multiverse with them.
Mobius is heard wondering where the heck these devices are going, and let’s just say that it’s not good. Bye bye, Sacred Timeline, and hello, MCU multiverse.
From here, we should (clearly) expect chaos to unfold. What form that takes remains a mystery, but Kevin Feige is truly using Loki to set up Phase Four and beyond, whether we asked for the multiverse or not. Anything is conceivable now, and I sort of wonder if that Infinity Stones gut punch last week would be redeemed by this show suggesting that Natasha Romanoff is alive and well somewhere. That could get messy, considering that the Black Widow movie is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but I could see this multiverse stuff factoring into how the Taskmaster learned how to fight all those Avengers, including Black Panther, without us seeing any of it onscreen. Say what you want about Kevin Feige, but he masterfully guided the layered stories of the Infinity Saga, so he might be upping his game even more.
How, exactly, the revelation of Lady Loki plays into that layering — particularly the show’s blink-and-you’d-miss-it revelation that Loki is gender fluid — it’s hard to guess. Loki’s gender fluidity is something that’s well-sourced both in the comics and in Loki’s Norse mythology roots. Lady Loki might have nothing at all to do with the gender-fluid revelation, although it could be notable that Feige decided to reveal her right after confirming the gender-fluid identity of Loki. Perhaps we’ll hear more on that note next week, or not. I suspect that the ball might be dropped there with the gender-fluid confirmation being as far as Disney wants to go on that issue.
What matters at the moment is this: Lady Loki is even more mischievous (and crafty) than the actual Loki or any Variant that we’ve seen so far.
Also, Kermit is not MCU canon, but with reactions like this one, I wish he was.
Disney ’s ‘Loki’ will stream new episodes on Wednesdays.