Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Loki season 2 episode 1
Marvel has just revealed a huge detail that changes everything about the MCU timeline and sets up the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s reboot. In an incredible twist, a hidden detail buried in Loki season 2 episode 1 reveals the exact date the Marvel timeline is set to reboot, thanks to new information concerning Kang’s first Multiversal War.
In a somewhat surprising twist Loki season 2 kicked off with a revelation that completely undid the twist of Loki season 1’s ending, officially blowing apart the theory that Sylvie’s murder of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) sent Loki to a timeline where Kang had already taken over. In actual fact, Loki was sent to the past, to hundreds of years before he first arrived at the TVA in season 1, to the period closely following the end of the first Multiversal War.
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Kang’s First Multiversal War Is In The Future Not The Past
In Loki season 2 episode 1, when Loki time-slips to the past, before the TVA have their minds wiped, he comes across an audio recording of He Who Remains and Ravona Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in which the former guardian of the Sacred Timeline thanks her for helping him win the Multiversal War. Shockingly, the clip comes with two immediate revelations:
Ravona Renslayer was He Who Remains’ partner, and he promised they would rule together in the Citadel at the End of Time He Who Remains wiped the memories of the TVA, to sell the lie of the Time Keepers (and probably did it multiple times, according to Loki)
Rather than He Who Remains building the TVA after his success in the first Multiversal War – which season 1 suggested was down to Alioth the temporal monster from the Void – they were soldiers in the same fight, and He Who Remains betrayed them and took power for himself.
But the bigger revelation is a more subtle one, and can only be found by pausing the moment Loki finds the audio recording, and looking closely at the player. In the information about the recording, beneath the visual of the sound waves and under the heading Event Date Vector, the date of the recording is shown to be 06.12.2321 – June 12th, 2321. That offers a tangible point for the end of the First Multiversal War.
In other words, the First Multiversal War actually happened hundreds of years in the future after the time of the MCU’s present. That means He Who Remains’ victory happened in the distant future and his curation of the Sacred Timeline happened in retrospect, confirming exactly how the TVA knew which branched timelines and variants to prune, and also why He Who Remains stronghold is called the Citadel at the End of Time.
This was clearly only possible thanks to the TVA operating outside of time and being able to manipulate any point of the timeline, whether in the past or the future. In effect, He Who Remains wasn’t just attempting to ensure the Multiversal War didn’t happen again, but was attempting to guide the Sacred Timeline in such a way that it never happened. That also raises the explosive revelation that time is an eternal loop and the Marvel timeline is heading either towards destruction or a reset.
Loki Proves The MCU Has Already Reset
Instead of He Who Remains’ origin story happening in the distant past, it happened in the future, 300 years ahead of the present MCU timeline, almost to the exact day of Loki’s season 1 release date, in fact. When He Who Remains explains that a variant of his discovered that multiple timelines existed, stacked on top of one another in season 1, he’s telling the story of an earlier version of Marvel’s Sacred Timeline, before the variants came into conflict as some of them sought dominion of the timeline. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s exactly what the MCU is building to for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, and first time out, the Multiversal War was won by He Who Remains and the TVA, who built the Temporal Loom, resetting time into the approved Sacred Timeline.
When did the MCU timeline reset? It could only have happened at least 5000 to 10000 years in the past, before Odin’s birth as the MCU character with the most tangible age. Others, like the Celestials, and Universe Elders like The Grandmaster and The Collector are suggested to have lived since the very beginning of existence, but the point of an actual timeline reset isn’t to go back to year 0. As with He Who Remains, whoever oversees such a reset would just be controlling the flow of time with the majority of existence unaware of their existence, and the rules are all so vague now that a reset could mean anything. All that’s really known is that however it happened, He Who Remains managed to wipe the events of the Multiversal War out of collective memory, which will be key if the MCU does indeed use Loki‘s story to set up a hard reset.
Is Loki Setting Up The MCU’s Reboot?
It’s no accident that Loki season 2 episode 1 is called “Ouroboros“. As well as showcasing Ke Huy Quan’s stand-out new addition to Loki’s cast of characters, Ouroboros also nods to the image of the ancient snake eating its own tale: an eternal, inescapable loop. In effect, Loki is telling the audience that the Sacred Timeline is a loop, and everything that will happen has already happened, and the endpoint is a Multiversal War that ends all things. Shockingly, that also means that the most likely outcome for the MCU’s future is a reboot, if He Who Remains does return or is replaced (perhaps even by Loki himself, as was teased in season 1).
We’ve seen this story before, of course, in The Matrix original trilogy, when Neo is faced with the revelation that the Matrix he inhabits is a repeat and that each cycle ends with the Architect resetting the Matrix once more. In that case, Neo chose freewill, defying his fate, which is presumably also the only way that the MCU could survive a full reset. But with mutantkind coming to the MCU in Marvel’s Phase 6 without explanation, and the precedent for reset timelines from Marvel Comics, there is compelling evidence to suggest that the MCU will actually reboot with Avengers: Secret Wars. It’s just a matter of how at this stage and what it will mean for the existing heroes.
In Marvel Comics, Secret Wars destroyed the Multiverse, resetting the Marvel timeline, with only a handful of characters actually remembering the events on Battleworld. While that may seem drastic, the same event would offer Marvel Studios some significant benefits:
The already very complex lore of the MCU could be pruned, simplifying things dramatically Marvel could effectively do the housekeeping that Bob Iger’s ominous promise to pull-back on the MCU promised, letting go of less valuable properties and focusing on a smaller scale to build again Retired and dead characters with massive brands and huge financial drawing power – like Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thanos, Ultron, Black Widow and countless others could be brought back in new iterations, giving Marvel a James Bond-like continuity refresh A new Marvel timeline could include mutants and every element previously made impossible by rights issues that have now been resolved, without having to retroactively change continuity to include them. The MCU was built from smaller parts, without the confidence that the shared universe would be viable or command longevity, so it only became a shared universe of real scale as things were bolted on. A reset could allow cleaner integration. Every element of the current MCU timeline could be considered for preservation: actors could remain with narrative impunity and clean slates allowing a whole new generation of Marvel fans to enjoy what those fans who came onboard in 2008 with Iron Man the opportunity to engage with something new, without tens of movies and TV shows worth of continuity homework.
At this stage, an MCU reboot might not be the most unpopular direction for Marvel Studios, and using the Multiverse story set up in Loki, and potentially delivered upon in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars would be a far better way to handle it than a destructive reboot that goes back to square one entirely.
New episodes of Loki release every Thursday on Disney+
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Key Release Dates
Captain America: Brave New World
Marvel’s Fantastic Four
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
Avengers: Secret Wars
The latest MCU release, Loki season 2, includes a hidden revelation that changes everything for the future of the MCU timeline. And the past. Read More