We didn’t get to see much of Loki in Avengers: Endgame, but his brief appearances showed that the character remains one of the most charismatic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki disappearing from The Avengers-era New York with the Tesseract has led to some fevered speculation over what this means for him and the wider Marvel timeline, and now, we finally have some answers, with Joe and Anthony Russo explaining how the Space Stone will affect Tom Hiddleston’s trickster god.
Joe recently commented that the intention was Loki would “correct the past timelines at the point that the stones left,” saying:
“Loki, when he teleports away with the Time Stone, would create his own timeline. It gets very complicated, but it would be impossible for [Cap] to rectify the timeline unless he found Loki. The minute that Loki does something as dramatic as take the Space Stone, he creates a branched reality.”
All this seems to set up the upcoming Loki television series on Disney’s new streaming platform, with the Space Stone being used to give the character relative freedom to bounce between different alternate timelines.
The multiverse idea is one that should give Marvel the means to tell stories that the events of the recent MCU films have touched on, including a WandaVision series with Scarlet Witch and Vision. However, the time travel gambit is one that already required lengthy reshoots on Avengers: Endgame, as well as some intense debates over the implications of Steve Rogers’ alternate timeline.
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I’m all for time travel if it serves the story, but taken too far and the concept becomes a get out clause for Marvel writers, whereby anything that doesn’t quite make sense can be justified as an ‘alternate timeline.’ This takes us dangerously close to “a wizard did it” territory. What I would love to see is the MCU multiverse actually doubling down on the chaos of alternate timelines, much as DC has done so with its many ‘Crisis’ storylines. After all, multiple timelines and versions of characters is an intriguing prospect, as shown in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
In any case, Loki’s love of mischief should tie nicely into this chaos, and my hope is that the upcoming TV series will see him do some damage to the established continuity of Avengers: Endgame, making the character’s journey a dark version of Quantum Leap where he basically messes up Marvel’s history.