Loki Season 2 Very Quickly Bends the MCU’s Established Rules of Time Travel

Warning: May contain mild spoilers for Loki Season 2.


Summary

  • Loki season 2 immediately challenges the established time travel rules set by Avengers: Endgame, causing confusion for both on-screen characters and MCU fans.
  • The Time Variance Authority (TVA) introduces a different understanding of time travel, existing outside regular time and allowing Loki’s past actions to impact the same timeline.
  • It remains to be seen if Loki will address this contradiction and how it will play into the conclusion of the Multiverse Saga in Avengers: Secret Wars. Find out as the show progresses.

Loki season 2 launched its debut episode on Disney+ today, with Tom Hiddleston’s trickster god immediately causing a headache for not only his on-screen associates, but for MCU fans. As one of the most anticipated Marvel shows of the last year, Loki’s second season picked up directly after the events of season 1’s multiverse-breaking finale, and immediately began playing around with Avengers: Endgame-established rules of time travel.

For anyone creating a fictional world in books, movies or TV shows, there is a lot of work required to make sure that the rules of that world stack up. Of course, being entirely fictional, there could come a time when some of the rules cause roadblocks, and this leads to the almost inevitable retcon, reset or simply ignoring something that came before. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is not surprising that after 15 years, there have been many changes made to some of the rules of the franchise.

With Avengers: Endgame, the franchise dipped into the theory of time travel as a major plot point, and in doing so, established the rule that if someone travels back in time, any changes they make do not impact their original timeline, but create a branch in reality where the new events then take place. Loki touched on something similar, with the TVA (Time Variance Authority) being introduced as the “keepers of the sacred timeline” and the ones responsible for controlling these branches.

However, in the opening episode of Loki’s new season, we find the ever-popular one-time villain having a time-slipping problem, which sees him being pulled randomly between his past, present and future. One of these “slippages” finds Loki meeting the TVA’s chief engineer Ouroboros – played by franchise newcomer Ke Huy Quan, in the present, before being sucked into the past. Here, he has a conversation with Ouroboros, OB for short, about how to fix his problem. On returning to the present, OB remembers the conversation with Loki, suggesting that Loki’s actions have carried on along the same branch of reality, in turn, contradicting Endgame’s time travel explanation.

Related: Loki & Thor Reunion Is Possible in the Future of the MCU, Producer Reveals


Has Loki Broken the MCU’s Time Travel Laws?

loki season 1
Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive and sprawling beast, to the point that a new book has created to allow fans to see exactly where everything fits within the timeline of events in the franchise. While this will make it more difficult to change the history of the MCU in future, it would not be surprising if some rules put in place over dozens of movies and TV shows end up contradicting each other somewhere along the line.

While this seems to be what has happened with Loki’s return, it is possible that the rules of time travel set up by Endgame simply don’t apply to the TVA. The agency is essentially an entity that exists outside of regular time in the MCU, and that could be the reason Loki’s past actions continue to impact the same timeline for him and all of those within the TVA.

Whether Loki addresses this in future episodes is something that fans will just have to wait and find out, but with the story expected to play a big part in setting up the upcoming conclusion of the Multiverse Saga in Avengers: Secret Wars, there will certainly be many plot points to watch out for as the show progresses.

Loki season 1 is on Disney+ now, and new episodes of season 2 release weekly.

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