'Loki' finale explained: What it means for 'Thor 4,' 'Doctor Strange 2'

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Insider 14 July, 2021 - 01:07pm 12 views

Is there 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." ELLE.com'Loki' Season 2 Release Date, News, Cast, Spoilers, Trailer

Is Episode 6 of Loki the last episode?

Sylvie and Loki meet the puppet master behind the Time Variance Authority. Sylvie and Loki prepare to step into the Citadel at the End of Time. Loki's time-hopping adventure reached its end Wednesday, with the sixth and final episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe show hitting Disney Plus. CNETLoki season finale recap: Post-credits scene and ending for episode 6 explained

Who plays Kang?

Kang is played in the MCU by actor Jonathan Majors. Most viewers will probably recognize him for his lead performance as Atticus Freeman in HBO's short-lived but acclaimed drama series Lovecraft Country. He received notable praise and an Emmy nomination for his performance in the series. InverseWho is Kang? 'Loki' Episode 6’s powerful villain, explained

Who plays he who remains?

In “For All Time Always,” directed by Kate Herron and written by Michael Waldron & Eric Martin the Marvel Cinematic Universe is irrevocably changed as Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) reach The Citadel at the End of Time and confront the one pulling the strings of the TVA: “He Who Remains” (Jonathan Majors). Hollywood Reporter‘Loki’ Finale Pushes Marvel Into Its Next Saga

Loki Season 2 Announced - IGN

IGN 14 July, 2021 - 09:27pm

In a mid-credits scene, we see a close-up of some of the show's TVA paperwork, which is stamped with the words "Loki will return for season 2." No more details have been released at time of writing.

It's the first of Marvel's Disney+ series to officially announce a second season, with the (now-Emmy nomnated) WandaVision unlikely to return, but The Falcon & the Winter Soldier billed as an ongoing series. While we don't know when Loki Season 2 might be released, it may be that there's a lot of other Marvel shows to come first – Disney+ already has What If...?, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Secret Invasion and more on its slate.

It's not the first time a Disney show has used a finale to announce a follow-up – last year The Mandalorian ended with a teaser for a bounty hunting spin-off, The Book of Boba Fett.

‘Loki’ Finale Recap: What’s In a Name?

Rolling Stone 14 July, 2021 - 09:10pm

In a risky move, the conclusion introduced a new character — and dropped a surprise announcement of Season Two

Sophia Di Martino and Tom Hiddleston in 'Loki.'

A review of the Loki season finale “For All Time. Always.” on Disney+ coming up just as soon as I tell you not to kick the door in…

And down the hatch we go again.

The interconnectivity of the Marvel movies and, now, TV series, can be both a feature and a bug. The whole can often feel greater than the sum of the component parts, and there’s real joy to be had from seeing characters and story ideas from one corner of the MCU intermingle with those of another corner. (If you can’t take pleasure in Hulk handing Ant-Man some tacos, friend, then you and I are two very different people.) But with rare exceptions like Black Panther, individual MCU projects are rarely allowed to feel like they exist as entities unto themselves. (Even the relatively self-contained Black Widow spends a lot of time setting up Florence Pugh’s Yelena to take Natasha’s place in future MCU tales.) The two previous Disney+ shows stumbled in their finales for a variety of reasons — WandaVision by going too easy on its heroine, and devoting too much time to dull superhero action; The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by doing almost everything wrong — but an underlying component of both was the requirement to position various characters for future use. The larger needs of the MCU almost always outweigh the narrative needs of any one project, making it more challenging for each of them to live up to their full storytelling potential.

So when Jonathan Majors — who was long ago announced as the time-traveling Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — popped up here in the Loki finale as the big bad, I was simultaneously thrilled and dismayed. Majors (star of HBO’s gone-too-soon Lovecraft Country) is one of our best young actors, and I’ve loved countless comic-book stories featuring Kang and his many variants, all of whom we’ll discuss in a bit. But only introducing your villain in the conclusion of a six-episode season is bad dramatic structure, and it briefly felt as if everything that had been so special and appealing about Loki was being brushed aside in order to hype up a new bad guy for the big screen. That the episode ended on a cliffhanger — Sylvie has murdered He Who Remains (as Kang is calling himself in this moment); the multiverse has been reborn; Mobius has no idea who Loki is; and the TVA offices are now dotted with Kang statues instead of Time-Keeper ones — could have suggested that this was all one elaborate, frustrating tease for Quantumania.

But in lieu of a mid-credits scene, we were given a James Bond-style “Loki will return in Season 2″ announcement. And if you look at the finale as setup for more Loki, in addition to letting MCU viewers get accustomed to a version of Kang? Well, then this episode plays a bit more like the kind of vintage TV season finales designed to leave their viewers in glorious agony until the next season premiere. Seen in that light, “For All Time. Always.” is a flawed but often fascinating conclusion to just one chapter of the Loki story, rather than the full graphic novel.

Before we get to the details of the episode itself, let’s talk Kang, who is one of the most enduring, and complicated, villains in all of Marvel Comics. He first appeared, sort of, in an early Avengers issue in 1964 as a militaristic conqueror type who used time travel primarily as a means to build armies and find unprotected time periods to invade. But he was in fact the same character as Rama-Tut, a time-traveling Egyptian pharaoh type who first fought the Fantastic Four a year before Kang’s publication debut. And both of them would turn out to be the same as another time traveler, Immortus — who in the comics has periodically worked with and/or for the Time-Keepers — as well as distant relatives of Mr. Fantastic himself, Reed Richards. (And, depending on the era, they were also briefly related to Doctor Doom. Also, at a certain point in the Nineties, Kang and Immortus were split into separate beings, rather than one being destined to eventually age into the other. Like I said, it’s complicated.) Each iteration is different in both temperament and how he uses time travel, with Immortus as the only one who really cares much about time itself as more than a tool to be used to subjugate others.

Do you need to know any of this — some of which He Who Remains alludes to vaguely while detailing his origins to Loki and Sylvie — to fully appreciate and enjoy the finale? Perhaps not. Do you even need to know that Majors is playing the next Ant-Man villain? It’s not wholly required, though without either piece of knowledge, He is just some guy we haven’t met yet, after spending five hours with Loki, Sylvie, Mobius, Ravonna, other variants, etc. Which, again, is not the ideal way to structure a season(*).

But in many ways, the finale feels very much of a piece with the rest of the season, and particularly with how it leaned so heavily on the talent and charisma of one of its actors to withstand an avalanche of exposition.

In theory, a lot of this episode should be unwatchable. It is a brand-new character to the story, sitting at a desk and talking about who he is, the various conflicts he had with other versions of himself whom we’ve never met, and why the TVA really exists. It is infodump on top of infodump — all telling, barely any showing, outside of the various animated Kangs fighting one another on this one’s desk. This should be even rougher than any of the Loki/Mobius scenes from the first two episodes. At least those were conversations where a character we had pre-existing affection for was an equal participant, where here Loki and Sylvie are mostly just, like us, a confused audience. But Majors’ profoundly weird performance — literally chewing an apple and metaphorically chewing all the scenery in sight — proves an even better complement to the material than Owen Wilson’s surfer philosopher vibe. Every line reading is wildly different from the one before it, with the tone and tenor of Major’s voice shifting along with his physical presence. One minute, he’s a timid nerd, the next he’s adopting a fake English accent to mock our heroes, and the next he’s just over it all. Yet it doesn’t feel inconsistent, or self-indulgent. Majors’ choices not only keep Kang’s monologues way livelier than they have any business being, but underline the two core ideas of this character: He has been around forever, and he has been through more variations than even these two Lokis can fathom. It’s one hell of a debut for a character who, in some form or other, is now going to be a key part of both Quantumania and Loki Season Two.

Jonathan Majors as Kang (a.k.a. He Who Remains)

The scenes in Kang’s study, as well as the argument between Mobius and Ravonna back at the TVA, are perhaps even more indebted to Lost than Classic Loki and friends living in an underground bunker. Kang is Jacob, the man behind the curtain who has manipulated all these people into doing his bidding to maintain order in the universe. And, like Jacob, he kept them all a bit too far in the dark, inspiring them to eventually rebel against him and murder him. Sylvie, like Ben Linus, has been stewing in a lifetime of believing that the deity of her universe doesn’t care about her, so she stabs God to death. Though there’s more than a little of Ben in Ravonna, as well, since she realizes she has been lied to for her entire time in the TVA. She responds differently, though, deciding that all these lies had to be for some better purpose, and insisting that free will (another favorite Lost topic) is a luxury best given only to the entity in charge. And, of course, Lost had some of the most famous cliffhangers in television history, though some of them (“We have to go back!”) were better than others (Jack and Locke peering down the hatch).

Loki is the first of the Marvel/Disney+ shows to officially get a second season. Wanda will be in the next Dr. Strange film, but all involved (plus Emmy voters) continue to refer to WandaVision as a limited series. There may be later seasons of TV involving Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, but for the moment, Sam is earmarked for a new Captain America movie. So as of now, this is the only one that has to behave like an ongoing show. As a conclusion to a Loki miniseries, this would have been awful and maddening, living down to some of the harsher criticisms the MCU has received as a whole in prioritizing the brand over the storytelling. (Jet Skis were not even mentioned this week, let alone ridden, and a Loki that concludes without putting Mobius and/or Loki on a Jet Ski may as well be pruned from the timeline right now.)

As a conclusion to one season of a series that’s going to be around a little while, it’s still not perfect — even with Majors, Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, et. al., the exposition and philosophizing is a lot — but it’s satisfying enough for now, and easily the best of this year’s three MCU finales. Kang/Immortus/He Who Has Seventeen Other Nicknames does a lot of the talking, but there’s still plenty of conflict between our two title characters even before they fight each other. And we see that at least one of them genuinely has changed and grown over the course of these six episodes. Sylvie is still someone who cannot trust, but Loki has improbably become someone who can be trusted. He’s not as scarred by Kang’s involvement in his life as Sylvie is, and can recognize that killing him may make things far worse than letting him continue to rule, or letting him (like Jacob) choose them as his successor. But Sylvie’s blinded by revenge, and after a nifty (and not too long, especially relative to the Wanda-Agnes and Vision-Vision battles in that finale) sword fight, she passionately kisses her counterpart — preventing that brief moment on Lamentis from being just a tease — and sends him back to the TVA so she can finish her mission unimpeded. Kang seems almost relieved to have his burden lifted, while Sylvie seems less than satisfied. This is all she has wanted for so long, yet her face suggests it did not live up to her expectations — especially now that she is once again all alone at the end of everything. (What is the last moment in history, if not the apocalypse to end all apocalypses?) And our Loki has lost both the woman he loved and the best friend he just made, since Mobius looks at him like some random analyst, his memories altered by the rebirth of the multiverse in the wake of Kang’s death.

If these shows existed solely to service the movies, then all that was really necessary was the recreation of the multiverse and the introduction of Kang. But for them to work as a long-term tentpole to prop up Disney+ subscriptions, they have to be entertaining on their own, and not just as MCU maintenance vehicles. WandaVision very much was. Falcon and the Winter Soldier occasionally was. Loki was the best of these, and even if the finale faltered in spots, it didn’t diminish the good parts from earlier in a way that both the Wanda and Falcon conclusions did. Between the TVA’s mandate, the return of multiple timelines, and all the Loki variants that come with it, there could be many seasons of storytelling possibility for this creative team. It’s good to know we’ll be getting at least one more.

At one point, Kang tells Loki and Sylvie, “You know you can’t get to the end until you’ve been changed by the journey.” Loki Laufeyson has definitely changed for the better, and maybe the MCU on TV has been similarly altered in the bargain.

In This Article: Jonathan Majors, Loki

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The ‘Loki’ Finale Recap: What Lies at the End of Time

The Ringer 14 July, 2021 - 01:50pm

The variants made it to the end of their journey, but what they found there will reverberate through the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe

These are the words of the elusive man behind the curtain, the creator of the Time Variance Authority, and the last living being in existence, as He Who Remains explains to Loki and Sylvie that he’d been leading them on their multiversal journey through time all along. And although he’s never mentioned directly by name in Loki’s season finale, we know who he is: Kang the Conqueror, the MCU’s next major villain.

While many had predicted that Kang would make an appearance at some point in Loki’s time travels, it didn’t take any steam away from the strongest finish of the three MCU TV shows to date. Fresh off of receiving an Emmy nomination for his leading role in Lovecraft Country, Jonathan Majors enters the MCU with a brilliantly chaotic performance, playing a mad scientist who is equal parts alluring and terrifying—capable of striking fear into the heart of even the God of Mischief himself.

And yet, despite Kang seemingly earnestly explaining the history of the Sacred Timeline, it’s ultimately up to Loki and Sylvie to decide whether he’s telling the truth—and whether they still want to complete their quest to tear down the entire establishment nonetheless. “You came to kill the devil, right?” Kang asks them, despite knowing the answer. “Well, guess what? I keep you safe. And if you think I’m evil, well, just wait till you meet my variants.”

The gambit that Loki and Sylvie face puts the duo at odds, and the result is the culmination of themes and questions that Loki has been exploring all season. While Loki proves himself to be a changed man—presented with an opportunity to control everything, he appears incredibly uninterested—Sylvie sticks to her glorious purpose to claim revenge on the one who stole her life away from her. “Can’t you see?” Loki asks Sylvie. “This is bigger than our experience.”

“Why aren’t we seeing this the same way?” Sylvie responds.

“Because you can’t trust,” Loki says. “And I can’t be trusted.”

Kang presents the Lokis with one final test of faith between them, and in the end, they fail it. The question of “what makes a Loki a Loki” ultimately becomes a moot point; it’s the nuances between variants across the vast multiverse that matters most. Loki and Sylvie see the situation differently because they are, after all, not the same person. Their own experiences have pulled their lives in different directions, and while Loki places his faith in the first person he’s ever loved, Sylvie can’t shake a lifetime of anger and solitude. Meanwhile, the true threat looming in the shadows over the course of the season was never the man behind the TVA, but rather his own evil variants that he had spent an eternity keeping at bay.

Sylvie’s decision to kill He Who Remains triggers the exact scenario that he foretold, as the Sacred Timeline shatters, splitting into a cascade of branching realities. (Sylvie, meanwhile, looks defeated rather than triumphant after completing her mission, perhaps finally gaining the sort of deeper understanding that Loki did before her.) When Loki finds Mobius and Hunter B-15 back at the TVA in the final moments of the finale, neither of them recognizes him. And in a moment evoking Planet of the Apes, Loki turns around to see a massive statue of Kang the Conqueror where the monuments of the Time-Keepers once stood. There’s no going back now—Kang has arrived, and the multiversal war that He Who Remains warned the Lokis about has begun.

But while He Who Remains is benevolent in the sense that he’s saved the entire multiverse from destroying itself, it’s hard not to see his actions as equally self-serving—and it’s just as hard to put absolute faith in his words. History is written by the victors, after all. And though Kang believes that the ends have justified his means, victims of his consequentialism, like Sylvie, might disagree. They’re all villains—he’s right about that. But he is the only one making choices freely.

Even in letting Loki and Sylvie decide the fate of the multiverse, he manipulates the outcome all the same. Loki director Kate Herron has cited David Fincher’s Se7en as a source of inspiration for Kang, and the comparisons between him and Kevin Spacey’s John Doe are obvious in the way each pushes others to kill them in order to complete a sinister plot. “Sylvie! You think you can trust this guy?” Kang asks before she and Loki even turn on each other. “Do you think you’re even capable of trusting anyone at all?”

Despite not knowing the outcome of his meeting with Sylvie and Loki, Kang helps guide them to his demise without really indicating his preference one way or the other. He displays the ambivalence of a man who has no fear of death after living countless lifetimes. “What’s the worst that can happen?” Kang asks. “You either take over and my life’s work continues, or you plunge a blade into my chest and an infinite amount of me start another multiversal war, and I just end up right back here anyways. Reincarnation, baby.” And though Kang gives Loki and Sylvie the chance to take his seat as the keeper of the multiverse, he knows who they are, and he knows what they’ll ultimately decide to do. He says that he wants to keep his dangerous variants at bay—that he’s a benign villain—but at least some part of him must want them to be unleashed.

When Sylvie finally stabs Kang, he dies with a smile and a wink, knowing that he’ll inevitably find himself back in the same place eventually. But just as Loki feared and as He Who Remains foretold, Sylvie has unleashed an even greater threat—a multiverse of Kangs now free to try to conquer other realities.

But beyond this glorious news remains the fact that Loki just completely shook up the rest of the MCU. As head writer Michael Waldron recently told Marvel.com, the Loki team was well aware that the series would play a larger narrative role. “We knew that we wanted this show to be huge, and we wanted it to really end with a bang and have a huge impact on the MCU moving forward,” Waldron said. “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. 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.”

In addition to Kang’s likely return for Loki’s second season, where Ravonna Renslayer will surely cross paths with him, Majors is already set to reprise his role as the main villain in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. But the destruction of the Sacred Timeline also paves the way for other films and TV shows to dive into this strange new terrority of the multiverse as well. Without any clear division between timelines and realities any more, it now makes sense how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will cross paths with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man variants in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home (assuming that the rumors are true). And in addition to the Scarlet Witch realizing her own reality-bending potential, the Sorcerer Supreme has his work cut out for him in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Not to be buried beneath Kang’s entrance is the confirmation that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will live on in the MCU, as the God of Mischief simply cannot be killed. Beyond Loki’s unfinished business with Kang, the newly conquered TVA, and his beloved Sylvie, Hiddleston is also reportedly set to return in Doctor Strange 2, with the multiversal war already started. With more time to spend in the strange, wonderful world (er, multiverse) that Loki built across its first six episodes, Hiddleston will have the chance to continue to shine in the spotlight. Hopefully, Loki will reunite with Kid Loki and Alligator Loki somewhere along the way.

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