At this stage it seems safe to say that Marvel’s next big play is the Multiverse, with at least two future films (specifically Spider-Man: No Way Home and the aptly-named Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) reported to revolve around the idea of parallel worlds and alternate heroes.
But now, in Marvel’s new Disney Plus series Loki we may have just had the first hint at how exactly that big crossover story will begin, with the first episode explaining some background to the Multiverse (as we’d previously speculated) while also dropping a key detail – it doesn’t exist yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Best of all? The exposition was delivered via the medium of a dancing cartoon clock with a Southern accent.
“Long ago, there was a vast multiversal war,” Tara Strong’s ‘Miss Minutes’ tells Tom Hiddleston’s Loki as he stews in the headquarters of the Time Variance Authority.
“Countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy, nearly resulting in the total destruction of… well, everything.
“But then, the all-knowing Time-Keepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganising the multiverse into a single timeline – the Sacred Timeline.
“Now, the Time-Keepers protect and preserve the proper flow of time for everyone and everything.”
In other words, while there was once a multiverse these extra-dimensional beings called the Time-Keepers put a stop to it, ostensibly to save all of reality. The result? Just one universe, progressing along nicely, with the Time Variance Authority stepping in to erase any potential new universes when individuals stepped off the Time-Keepers’ Sacred Timeline.
One such individual, of course, is Loki himself, as is explained to him later in the instructional video.
“Stepping off your path created a Nexus event, which, left unchecked, could branch off into madness, leading to another multiversal war,” Miss Minutes says, while the words “Danger: Multiverse” flash onscreen, before the video concludes by explaining how the TVA keep everything in order.
This segment of Loki is intriguing for a number of reasons, giving a real hint as to what’s next for Marvel, and their subtle gameplan in general. You see, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of “Nexus” in the MCU – it actually turned up before in WandaVision during one of that series’ fake commercials in a scene that seemed to imply a kind of multiverse connection.
“Feeling depressed? Like the world goes on without you? Do you just want to be left alone?” the advert said. “Ask your Doctor about Nexus, a unique antidepressant that works to anchor you back to your reality, or the reality of your choice. Side effects include: feeling your feelings, confronting your truth, seizing your destiny, and possibly more depression. You should not take Nexus until your Doctor has cleared you to move on with your life. Nexus: because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Or does it?”
Fans were quick to note that in the comics, “Nexus” beings are described as “rare individual entities with the ability to affect probability and thus the future, thereby altering the flow of the Universal Time Stream” – and while this advert didn’t end up coming to much in WandaVision, perhaps it was always intended as a nod to Wanda’s future role in Doctor Strange 2, and her own status as a Nexus being. The fact that it’s turned up again in Loki suggests that it wasn’t just a throwaway reference, and that these new rules and terms will become important as Marvel’s Phase 4 continues.
And as for what it means for Loki? Well, we’re going to take a wild guess and say that over the course of the series, either he or someone else is going to cause the Sacred Timeline to diverge rapidly, effectively creating the Multiverse for it to be a major story point in the Doctor Strange and Spider-Man sequels.
In a way it all makes sense – the Multiverse hasn’t turned up in the MCU before this point because it hadn’t been created yet – and if true, this theory shows just how important these Disney Plus series can be to the overall Marvel plot.
Then again, we could be wrong about this whole thing. We still haven’t forgotten The Mephisto/Quicksilver incident *shudder*.
- Meet the cast of Loki on Disney Plus
- Loki TV show’s timeline explained: Making sense of the alternate timelines
- Is Loki dead in the Marvel Universe?