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Loki finale explained: What this all means for the MCU

Loki season finale explained
(Image credit: Disney Plus/Marvel)

Loki’s premiere season is over now that the sixth and final episode has landed on Disney Plus. It was one heck of an episode, and actually managed to answer a lot of the questions people had about the show’s plot.

But as any mystery show does, providing answers only ever leads to more questions. Loki may have explained a lot, but there's still plenty that's going to need explaining. Spoilers for Loki episode 6 follow.

It's especially true when you consider the universe-shattering events the series set in motion. It could, potentially, mean big changes will be coming to the MCU going forward.

Who is He Who Remains?

Loki Finale: he who remains

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The Loki finale, "For All Time. Always" took Loki and Sylvie to a citadel at the end of time, which despite having a similar colorful aurora does not seem to be in the Quantum Realm as I previously speculated. Inside they come across the man behind the curtain, the man behind the TVA and the incessant pruning of the timeline. The man Ms Minutes calls He Who Remains.

He’s also played by Jonathan Majors, who we already know will be playing Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man 3. But He Who Remains is not Kang, certainly not in a way anyone expected. But it seems he is a Kang variant. Or Kang is a variant of him. Either way you get the gist.

He Who Remains is more like Immortus, future version of Kang from the comics. Bored and frustrated with the endless cycle of violence from time-travelling conquest, Immortus became an agent of the Time-Keepers (who come from the end of time) and was tasked with the role of preserving timelines. 

Obviously He Who Remains’ story is a little different. Namely the fact that he’s the one from the end of time, and the Time-Keepers work for him. His role is also to protect the MCU reality from alternate versions of himself, who may not be quite so benevolent. But it seems that the MCU has to remain isolated for that to occur, and divergent timelines cause that protection to shatter — as we saw towards the end of the episode.

What about Kang?

kang loki

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The thing about He Who Remains is that he’s not Kang. He doesn’t seem to have grand ambitions of conquest, or at least he doesn’t anymore. However, the actual Kang that everyone was expecting to be the man behind the curtain did make a small cameo appearance. 

In fact that appears to be a statue of him at the TVA, instead of the Time-Keepers we saw before Loki and Sylvie got into the thick of everything. While the statue features Majors’ face, rather than Kang’s more iconic helmet, it’s still wearing Kang’s classic comics costume.

While it’s not clear how much of a presence Kang might have in Loki season 2, it does confirm that the time-travelling villain is set to be the MCU’s first major post-Thanos big bad.

Why doesn’t the TVA remember Loki?

Loki Finale: TVA

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Time is complicated, and once you throw the multiverse into the mix it gets even worse. The last we saw of Mobius and the TVA, there seemed to be some sort of revolution going on. But that subplot was apparently dropped when Loki returned to the TVA and found that nobody remembered him.

It may well be that this isn’t the TVA Loki was a part of, and is instead a version of the agency from a different universe where Kang is the one in charge. Or it could be that by killing He Who Remains, Sylvie let Kang into the MCU to start messing with the timeline and putting himself in charge.

In any case we know that the branching timelines, and whatever chaos that brings about, is still happening. Unfortunately it means that both we, the audience, and Loki, have no idea what’s actually going on. That’s a question for season 2 to answer.

Did Mobius get to ride his jet ski?

Sadly not. Here’s hoping he regains his memories and gets to have a go in season 2.

What happened to Sylvie?

Loki Finale: sylvie

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The last we saw of Sylvie, she’d just stabbed He Who Remains and helped shatter the sacred timeline into an infinite number of new possibilities. What happened to her after that isn’t particularly clear. 

Possibilities include her taking up residence in the citadel at the end of time, being accosted by Kang as he enters the MCU proper, or using her temp pad to return to a different point in time. After all, if she can send Loki back to the TVA (or a TVA, at any rate), and with the endless branching of timelines, there’s no telling where she could end up.

What does this mean for the future of the MCU?

loki finale: multiverse of kangs

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

We already know that the multiverse is set to play a major role in the MCU going forward. Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness literally has a multiverse in the title, and there are rumors that various characters from previous Spider-Man movies could cross universes and find themselves in the MCU during Spider-Man: No Way Home.

In fact the whole 'Multiverse of Madness' that Dr Strange is going to have to deal with may well stem from the fact Loki and Sylvie broke the timeline — and possibly started the multiversal war that He Who Remains claimed will happen.

We’ve also been introduced to our new big bad (sort of) in the form of Kang. While he’s not about snapping away half of life like Thanos is, he’s still not to be underestimated. Especially since he can use time travel (and apparently the TVA) to get what he wants.

The idea of a multiverse war has cropped up several times in the comics, especially in the 2015 Secret Wars arc. There the various universes started colliding, with both being destroyed if one of them wasn’t destroyed prematurely. Eventually that led to all known universes being obliterated, and the remnants being brought together by a multiversal-powered Dr. Doom (who may or may not be coming in Marvel's Fantastic Four movie).

While we don’t know what Marvel's plans are going forwards, we could now be on the long road to a version of Secret Wars hitting the big screen. One that was caused thanks to the Avengers going back in time and accidentally freeing Loki. Good going, Iron Man.

What happened to Alligator Loki?

Loki finale: where is alligator loki?

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Episode 5’s breakout star didn’t feature in the Loki finale, but it doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of our reptilian god of mischief. In fact, now that the timeline has lost its protection, and is branching off into who knows what, there’s plenty of room for alligator Loki (and the others, I guess) to return in future seasons.

Tom Pritchard

Tom covers a little bit of everything at Tom’s Guide, ranging from the latest electric cars all the way down to hot takes on why Christopher Nolan is wrong about everything. Appliances are also muscling their way into his routine, which is a pretty long way from his days as Editor at Gizmodo UK. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.