- Loki’s defeat of He Who Remains triggers the branching of timelines, putting his prediction of a multiverse war to the test.
- The decision to maintain the sacred timeline or embrace an infinite multiverse hinges on which version of He Who Remains stands at The End of Time.
- Kang the Conqueror’s variants must be dealt with by the TVA to protect the multiverse, leading to moral dilemmas and potential conflicts between Loki and Kang.
With Loki becoming the new He Who Remains of an infinite multiverse in the MCU, this puts Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains’ prediction to the test. He Who Remains claims a multiverse war will ensue if he is dethroned and timelines begin branching from the sacred timeline. After Sylvie defeats He Who Remains, timelines began branching and Loki needed to either keep He Who Remains in power or find a solution to protect the new branches at the risk of igniting a multiverse war.
Loki has effectively become a tale of two He Who Remains: one for the sacred timeline and the other for an infinite multiverse. There’s a reasonable explanation for why either should exist. However, they both come with the caveat of manipulating the fate or free will of certain individuals in order to maintain those two worlds. Which one is preferable depends on whether which He Who Remains stands where he sits at The End of Time.
Why He Who Remains Kept The Loki Variants Down
With his ability to time-travel, it’s possible Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains was always aware of the threat of Loki and his unwavering ambition to rule. Forseeing a future where Loki threatens the stability of the sacred timeline could have sparked the plan to ensure Loki’s dream was stamped out for the sake of the sacred timeline. Interfering with free will to fashion a world that would not have to endure a multiverse war makes He Who Remains seem less villainous if one agrees that the ends justify a forever disgruntled Loki. It appears to be a well-intentioned sacrifice or act of mercy to establish relative peace for people living in the sacred timeline considering the fact He Who Remains could have treated Loki much worse. In regards to the warring Kang variants, Kang tells Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania:
“If you want to stop what’s coming, and trust me, you do, I’m the only shot you have.”
He Who Remains didn’t just keep Loki a perpetual loser. In doing so, he was also able to prevent his own variants from starting a multiverse war or usurping control of the TVA and sacred timeline. It’s undoubtedly a tough decision to take away the free will of others, even if it is for the greater good. He Who Remains may actually be an anti-hero variant of Kang the Conqueror rather than another villain. However, his time manipulation abilities draw questions as to why he didn’t prevent Loki and Sylvie from killing him. Even if he didn’t think Loki would destroy the Temporal Loom or find a replacement, any pragmatic genius would take precaution knowing the slightest probability of failure is still a possibility. Or, it’s plausible that the failsafe for his Temporal Loom-failsafe is indeed Kang the Conqueror. Therefore, such arrogance and willingness to be defeated by Sylvie could turn out to be a message to Loki and the MCU multiverse not to bite the merciful hand of He Who Remains.
How Kang Is The New Loki
In order for the infinitely expanding multiverse of the MCU to persist, the TVA must deal with the variants of He Who Remains. Outright pruning Kang variants seems rather cruel and unjust when some variants like Victor Timely happen to not be timeline-warmongering maniacs. There should be some sort of due process and examination of Kang variants to determine which ones will lead to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty‘s multiverse war. How the TVA prepares to handle and distinguish between the good and evil variants of He Who Remains has yet to be visualized. Perhaps it was the TVA who banished Kang the Conqueror to the quantum realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Kang states:
“I saw the multiverse, and it was dying, all because of them.”
If Loki is any indication, Kang may ultimately end up being the new Loki in the MCU multiverse whose dreams are fated to fail. Loki may not be willing to manipulate the fate and free will of Kang but, the TVA has an objective to protect the multiverse for all time. This may imply doing so by any means necessary. It may be this exact course of action that leads Kang the Conqueror to want to reach the Citadel at The End of Time, not unlike the same reason why Sylvie and Loki wanted to go there as they reckoned with their own continuously thwarted destinies.
This highly calamitous situation is ripe with moral dilemmas. At one end of the spectrum, there’s a dystopian world with a sacred timeline that dictates the fate of at least two people, Kang and Loki, to prevent a deadly multiverse war. On the other end, there’s this utopian sense of freedom in an expansive multiverse so long as Kang variants are monitored, sabotaged, or, worse case scenario, neutralized. Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains believes the sacred timeline is the key to fixing the broken multiverse, while Loki is for protecting all life on all timelines. Both sides stand for peace and are willing to fight each other for their version of it. It is ironic yet unfortunate how neither an intelligent god nor a time-traveling genius can remedy humanity’s craving for peace satiated by war.
Loki is available to stream on Disney Plus
Loki’s longing for and taste of loving relationships have pacified his villainy. He will fight to protect his friends, but he also knows there’s another way to resolve conflicts without hurting anyone. Maybe this too could be the solution for Kang. A happy relationship with Ravonna could likewise possibly deter Kang’s timeline-conquering goals if he opened himself up to it. So far, Kang the Conqueror’s motivation for restoring the sacred timeline outside of ending the multiverse war are unknown. Though he states, “I have lost. You have no idea what I lost.” It also hasn’t been revealed how He Who Remains managed to end the multiverse war and create the sacred timeline. This may all be a time loop, history repeating itself, to Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains if the way he ended his multiverse war was also the way it started, but with a twist: by killing the one who broke time, the He Who Remains at The End of Time in an infinite multiverse, Loki.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a sprawling movie and television franchise that weaves together individual stories of superheroes including Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and many more. The first film in the franchise, Iron Man, was released in 2008. The MCU has garnered critical praise and financial success, earning billions at the box office and becoming a cultural phenomenon.
- Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Tom Hiddleston, Iman Vellani
- TV Show(s)
- WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk
MORE: What Loki’s New Role Could Mean For Sylvie