The evil Loki variant is traveling through time, confounding the Time Variance Authority – and they could be using the Tesseract to do it.
WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Loki episode 1, “Glorious Purpose.”
If certain logic bears out, Loki‘s evil variant could be using the Tesseract to travel in time. After the confusion of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU is finally making sense of its temporal mechanics. Loki stars the variant of the trickster god who escaped with the Tesseract in 2012 only to immediately be picked up by the Time Variance Authority. He was placed on trial for his crime against their precious “Sacred Timeline,” and would have been destroyed had agent Mobius M. Mobius not decided to make use of him.
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Mobius had just come from a mission in France, in 1549, where a routine nexus event had gone badly wrong and a number of the TVA’s Minutemen had been slaughtered. By the end of the episode, it was clear another variant of Loki was traveling through the timeline causing minor temporal anomalies to draw the TVA out, then killing the agents in order to steal their equipment. This evil variant of Loki is evading capture and detection, and their purpose is unknown. Mobius decided to follow the old principle of “set a thief to catch a thief,” figuring only another variant of Loki can deal with the threat.
Amusingly, this means Loki is essentially a detective story – a direction nobody expected the show to take. This evil Loki variant’s plans and purposes are a mystery, but there are other questions that need to be answered. The most important is a basic one: how is this Loki traveling through time in the first place?
The Loki Variant Probably Isn’t Using TVA Equipment
It’s possible the Loki variant has stolen time travel technology from the TVA’s Minutemen – presumably, the agents who arrived in the variant’s own branched timeline in order to destroy it. The TVA clearly possesses technology to travel through the entire Multiverse, after all, and the Loki variant is certainly stealing reset charges. But this seems unlikely, based on the technology that’s been shown so far. It looks as though the TVA’s time travel involves opening doorways from their own city, and there’s as yet no evidence they can jump from one point in time to another. There’s comic book precedent for that idea, because the TVA’s city resembles that of the city of Chronopolis in the comics, which became the base of Kang the Conqueror, and Chronopolis uses the same kind of doorways through the Multiverse. This means the Loki variant probably hasn’t stolen their time travel technology from the TVA – simply because any variant of Loki who gained access to that city would no doubt hatch far more ambitious schemes than triggering routine nexus events in order to draw the TVA out.
The Tesseract Could Be The Key To The Loki Variant’s Time Travel
In August 2019, a leaked production logline for Loki teased that one variant of the God of Mischief had their own way to travel through time. “The trickster uses the power of the Tesseract to travel throughout human history and change historical events,” it revealed. It’s true that this retcons the Tesseract’s power (once again), but oddly enough that particular retcon may not be especially problematic. The Tesseract contains the Space Stone, which is traditionally shown opening wormholes through space. According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, space and time are closely bound together, and in theory, wormholes would allow travel through time as well as space. In fact, in 1988 three scientists proposed models for how that would be possible. Thus this expansion of the Tesseract’s power would actually work according to the MCU’s pseudo-science.
This would fit well with some oddities in Marvel’s promotion of the Loki series, notably the studio’s emphasis upon the Tesseract as well as Loki’s own timeline– ahead of the show’s launch they released two Marvel Legends videos, one focused on Loki and the other on the Tesseract. It would make sense for Marvel to want to remind viewers all about the Tesseract, simply because it’s going to remain important – not just another Infinity Stone tossed in a TVA evidence drawer.
The Tesseract Would Make This Loki Variant A Force To Be Reckoned With
This would help explain why the Loki variant’s activities are so difficult to track. The TVA would probably know how to deal with their own technology, but they’re not used to considering the Infinity Stones as being especially important as they know the Stones are powerless when brought to their own plane of reality. They would never have needed to figure out how to detect the changes to spacetime generated by Tesseract-powered wormholes, so they wouldn’t know how to scan for evidence of such anomalies, still less how to track them through the Multiverse. The Loki variant would therefore be able to travel with impunity, and they’re taking full advantage of the Tesseract, creating anachronisms and nexus events that seem routine to the TVA – then killing the agents who are sent to the scene.
Fans have reacted with shock to the disdain with which the TVA treat Infinity Stones. It’s generally been seen as an indication of just how powerful the TVA really are, because the MacGuffins of Phases 1-3 are being used as paperweights. But that may actually be a plot point, because the TVA is used to not needing to worry about what an Infinity Stone can do. Now they could well be up against someone who has mastered the Tesseract, the Space Stone, the energy source that gave Captain Marvel her powers. Worse still, this Loki variant has clearly identified the TVA as their principal threat, and they’ve figured out their standard modus operandii. The TVA may be used to acting as the Multiverse’s police force, but now they’re out of their depth – which explains why Mobius M. Mobius has gone to such drastic lengths, even recruiting the 2012 version of Loki. If this theory is right, Mobius is wiser than even he realizes, because he’s just brought someone into the TVA who actually knows a little about the Tesseract and could therefore help the TVA fight back. Set a Loki to catch a Loki, indeed.
Loki releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.
More: Loki Fixes Endgame’s Time Travel Plot Holes (All Of Them)
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