On Friday, October 6, 2023, the first episode of Loki season 2 will arrive for streaming on Disney+. While he may now be working as an agent of the Time Variance Authority, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has had a long road since he was first introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe all the way back in Phase One. Here’s everything you need to remember to prepare for the return of the God of Mischief in Loki season 2.
Origins & The Avengers
The MCU incarnation of Loki was first introduced in 2011’s Thor. This movie sets up the ongoing conflict between Loki and his adoptive brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor is next in line to inherit the Asgardian throne from their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). But while Thor is reluctant to take the throne, Loki is eager to seize it. Over the course of the movie, multiple recurring characters are introduced. These include Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Heimdall (Idris Elba), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and Doctor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård). At the conclusion of the movie, a stable situation has been achieved. However, a post-credits scene reveals Loki is manipulating Selvig as he is working the tesseract, one of the Infinity Stones.
Loki returned in 2012’s The Avengers. Now in possession of a scepter that housed the Mind Stone, a gift from Thanos (Josh Brolin), Loki led the Chitari Invasion of Earth. This scepter allowed him to mind-control multiple characters. At a key moment, Loki kills S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). However, at the conclusion of the movie, the Avengers are able to apprehend Loki. In the final scenes, an incarcerated Loki is taken back to Asgard by Thor.
Phases 2 & 3
As 2013’s Thor: The Dark World opens, Loki is shown to be incarcerated in Asgard. Over the course of the movie, Thor is compelled to free Loki. Eventually, it seems as though Loki sacrifices himself in the name of protecting Asgard. However, this is ultimately revealed to be subterfuge. At the conclusion of the movie, rather than taking the Asgardian throne, Thor returns to Earth with Odin’s blessing. But before the movie concludes, Odin is shown to be Loki in disguise.
The Asgardian royal family returned once again in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Early in this movie, Thor confronts Loki, revealing he has taken Odin’s place. However, Odin soon passes away, allowing Thor and Loki’s sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) to return. After she seizes control of Asgard, Thor and Loki must join forces to eradicate her. This is accomplished through Surtur (Clancy Brown), who destroys the location of Asgard in the process. However, as “Asgard is a people, not a place,” the Asgardians (including Thor and Loki) escape into space on a ship headed toward Earth.
The Black Mountain
In the opening scenes of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos intercepts the Asgardian vessel. He subsequently murders Loki in front of Thor.
But thanks to time travel, Loki returns in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. The Avengers take it upon themselves to travel back in time in order to retrieve duplicates of the Thanos-destroyed Infinity Stones. To this end, they return to the Battle of New York City. This creates a branching timeline in which Loki escapes being incarcerated in Asgard after The Avengers by using the Tesseract. The movie does not reveal where the time-travel duplicate Loki traveled to using the Infinity Stone.
The opening scenes of Loki season 1 pick up where Loki’s scenes in Endgame leave off. In “Glorious Purpose,” Loki is shown to use the Tesseract to escape to the Gobi Desert in 2012. However, he is promptly apprehended by Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and the TVA’s Minutemen. The now-inert Tesseract is subsequently confiscated by TVA employee Casey (Eugene Cordero). Loki soon learns that the TVA is charged with maintaining the integrity of the “Sacred Timeline.” Additional employees include Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane), Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and the hologram Miss Minutes (Tara Strong).
When a deviation from the “Sacred Timeline” is created, it is called a “Nexus Event.” Those responsible for Nexus Events are considered “Variants.” These Variants are taken by the TVA and placed on trial. If they are found guilty of a violation, they are most often sent to The Void. However, each of the aforementioned TVA employees (except Miss Minutes) are also Variants who have had their pre-TVA memories erased. It is also revealed that Loki is especially prone to generating Variants. Several of these are fully introduced in “Journey Into Mystery,” including Kid Loki (Jack Veal), Alligator Loki and Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant).
However, the most important Loki Variant in Loki season 1 is Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). Sylvie is very similar to Loki in terms of personality. However, as a child, she caused a Nexus Event by being female instead of male. However, she evaded the TVA by hopping between timelines. Loki and Sylvie eventually joined forces to confront the head of the TVA.
Kang the Conqueror
After a Wizard of Oz-style fake leader was revealed in “The Nexus Event,” Loki and Sylvie eventually did meet the organizer behind the Sacred Timeline in the Loki season 1 finale. The pair encountered He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) at the Citadel at the End of Time in “For All Time. Always.” HWR explains that he has many other Variants. These include Kang the Conqueror, the antagonist of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. According to HWR, his death will allow myriad Kang Variants to affect the timeline.
Nevertheless, Sylvie elects to murder HWR. In the immediate aftermath of his death, the Sacred Timeline begins to branch. Loki returns to the TVA offices but finds them changed. Most notably, a statue of Kang in his full Conqueror regalia lords over the organization’s library.
In Quantumania, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) faced and seemingly defeated a Kang Variant. However, mid- and post-credits scenes revealed additional Kang Variants. Furthermore, the final scene shows Loki and Mobius observing one Kang Variant in particular, who may also appear in the Loki season 2 trailer.
Just how Kang’s dominion over the TVA will take hold in Loki season 2 remains to be seen. Unless you’ve got a time machine, we’ll just have to wait until October to see how everything plays out.
You can stream all the MCU shows and movies mentioned above on Disney+.
This article was originally published on 8/30/23.
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