There’s a frustrating tendency in revenge stories for the protagonist to finally stand in front of the person they want to kill and suddenly hesitate. Cue the monologuing, the confusion, and the “we’re the same, you and I” stuff. So it was refreshing in the Loki finale when Sylvie attempted to kill Kang the Conqueror right after meeting him.
His precise knowledge of everything they’d say and do meant it was impossible to land a finger on him, but in the end Sylvie did what she came to do. But, in retrospect, maybe she should have stayed her blade. Though much of the Loki finale was devoted to exposition on who Kang is, it’s worth explaining why his death had such sudden and drastic effects, and why this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.
At the start of the series, the TVA’s purpose was explained as keeping the Sacred Timeline flowing to stop the universe from collapsing into multiversal disarray. And, surprisingly, that proved to be absolutely true. The twist is that the multiversal war is always caused by Kang variants who always ultimately end up brutally conquering other universes.
So why does killing the Kang at the end of time – known as He Who Remains – screw things up? Well, the TVA exists throughout all time simultaneously in order to stop branching timelines creating new Kangs. So once He Who Remains is dead there’s no-one to direct the TVA to prune any timelines, no orders coming from above, and new Kangs immediately begin to appear and wreak havoc.
We get a taste of what this will be like in the final moments as Loki arrives back at the TVA to find that a Kang has already taken control of it. The speed of this makes sense as the TVA’s tech and strategic position outside of regular time make it a prize for any ambitious Kang discovering it.
This means the Kang we meet might be the most benevolent it’s possible for a Kang to be, with future incarnations likely to be much less chatty. Oh well, at least Sylvie got her revenge.
The ripples of Sylvie’s decision will likely change the MCU forever, with the next consequences coming in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, both of which will deal with alternate universes and timelines.
Let’s hope we delve deeper into this whenever Loki returns for season 2 – hopefully sooner rather than later!