Spoilers for Loki season 1 ahead.
Loki variants might be survivors above all else, but they’re also frustratingly pitfall-prone. Case in point: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has died numerous times throughout the multiple phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, usually due to a two-pronged overestimation of himself and underestimation of his enemies. And in the Loki season 1 finale, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), continually overzealous in her quest for vengeance, plunged a dagger into the heart of He Who Remains—and, by proxy, plunged the universe into madness.
As He Who Remains (a version of Kang the Conqueror, as played by the delightful Jonathan Majors) explains, the character is the arbiter of the one Sacred Timeline, a construct he created in order to protect the universe from multiple versions of his own (less “benevolent”) self. If the timeline were to branch out, a “Multiversal War” would bend the arc of reality into chaos. But in order to keep the Sacred Timeline aligned, He Who Remains has had to “prune” and kill untold numbers of variants such as Hiddleston’s Loki and Di Martino’s Sylvie—characters who strayed from their set-upon path and tested the waters of free will. He sees these eliminations as a necessary evil. Loki doesn’t necessarily agree, and Sylvie is too furious to register anything other than her own revenge.
He Who Remains then presents them, rather gleefully, with a choice: They can become the arbiters of the Sacred Timeline themselves, or they can kill him, allowing the Multiversal War to begin—only for a He Who Remains variant to rise up and create the Sacred Timeline anyway—bringing the whole saga full circle. He seems equally titillated and soothed by the idea of placing this choice in hands that are not his own. For once, he doesn’t know what will happen next.
But Sylvie does not give herself or Loki much time to think. The two of them fight as she tries to reach He Who Remains with her weapon, and Loki attempts convincing her that—perhaps, maybe, this time!—they have it all wrong. She refuses to listen, kissing him into submission before tossing him back through a TemPad portal into the TVA headquarters. Finally alone with the dictator, she kills him; Loki, back at the TVA, realizes almost immediately that the horror is done. A He Who Remains statue has replaced the Timekeepers’ likeness on the wall. The Multiversal War is here.
And so we’re all wondering: Now that everything has changed, what comes next? Here’s everything we know about season 2 of Loki—and the remainder of Marvel’s Phase 4.
Will there be a season 2 of Loki?
Thankfully, yes. Disney+ has officially renewed Loki for a second season. The streaming service revealed the exciting news during the finale’s end credits, when a case file was marked with a stamp saying, “Loki will return in season 2.”
Who will return?
Disney has not yet announced the cast members who will return for the second season. But it’s safe to assume we’ll see villain-turned-hero Loki and Sylvie again, as well as Owen Wilson’s Mobius, Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer, and Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15. Majors certainly could reprise his role as He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror, but given his confirmed appearance in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, his fate remains unclear.
When will season 2 be released?
Disney has yet to confirm an official release date for season 2, and with so much yet to come in the MCU, it’s difficult to parse out an exact timeline. Since Majors is slated to star in Quantumania in 2023, it’s likely that the next season of Loki would come out before or around that time.
What does the finale mean for the future of MCU?
Loki head writer Michael Waldron spoke to Marvel.com about Majors’s earth-shattering appearance. “Knowing that Kang was probably going to be the next big cross-movie villain, and because he is a time-traveling, multiversal adversary, it just always made so much sense,” he said. “I came up with that big multiversal war mythology and pitched it out in the room one day to our producers. And they said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for it.’ We knew we were going to end up meeting the man behind the curtain. And then it was just on us to make sure that that meeting really delivered.”
With Kang set up to become a bigger, badder Thanos, we’re likely about to see the multiverse split open among multiple corners of the MCU. Hawkeye is coming, and with it a new generation of heroes. There are rumors that Spider-Man: No Way Home will feature multiple iterations of Peter Parker in the forms of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature Wanda Maximoff’s return, perhaps in a villainous role as she harnesses the “chaos magic” powers that could lead her to Kang. And then, of course, there are the huge implications of Quantumania.
Buckle up, Marvel fans. The universe is at stake again, and this time Steve Rogers isn’t around to set everything back in order. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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