Stream-of-Consciousness Loki Theorizing About the TVA and Variants

Am I doing this?  Am I writing a second post about Loki after the second episode?  Is this going to be a thing I do?  I don’t know what the future holds but for now…yeah, it totally is.  But it’s summer vacation!  I SURVIVED a year of pandemic teaching!  Now I can catch my breath, work on the book, and enjoy life…which includes watching, thinking, and (it would appear) writing about Loki.  Also, speculating and theorizing is part of the fun with new episodes dropping weekly!  The ideas in this post began with a comment Gemma (of Book Beach Bunny) left on my first post about Loki.  Then Krysta (of Pages Unbound) left a comment on that piece, too, which added more fuel to my contemplative fire.  Then Jeff and I spent like an hour on the phone after we both watched the second episode this morning considering everything we saw and discussing it in light of Gemma and Krysta’s comments.  Soooo…voila!  Here’s a new post.  But do you see what happened?!?  All these ideas began with comment thread discussions so maybe this post will lead to new ideas to obsess over until the next episode comes out!  Also this will have MAJOR SPOILERS for episode two of Loki so read on only if a) you’ve seen it or b) are ok with MAJOR SPOILERS.


Loki and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) stand guard to be sure you don’t accidentally see a spoiler you don’t want to see. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Alright, so here’s where I’m at with all this.  I wrote last week about my concerns with how Loki was presenting the multiverse in the MCU, right?  It was robbing the characters of free will.  It neutered the Infinity Stones.  It made everything triumphant that happened the result not of the choices made by the characters we know and love but the story written by the Time-Keepers.  I said I hoped there was more to it and I trusted Marvel, given their history of amazing movies and shows, would have more to it.  But I was worried.

However, I think there’s more to it.  And here are the theories about it all that tumbled out of the fevered, stream-of-consciousness discussion Jeff and I had this morning where we played with Gemma and Krysta’s ideas and wove them through all the other wild stuff in our heads about the first two episodes.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Everything we’ve seen about the TVA is incorrect.  It’s all propaganda.  In the first episode, Loki tells Mobius the TVA is, “[A]n illusion.  It’s a cruel, elaborate trick, conjured by the weak to inspire fear, a desperate attempt at control.”  It’s an important scene and it’s a phrase they come back to at the end when Loki shares:

Loki – “I don’t enjoy hurting people.  I…I don’t enjoy it.  I do it because…I have to.  Because I’ve had to. 

Mobius – “Explain that to me.”

Loki – “Because it’s part of the illusion.  It’s the cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear.”

Mobius – “A desperate play for control.  You do know yourself.”

Loki – “A villain.”

Mobius – “That’s not how I see it.”

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Loki in the field with the TVA. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

That’s exactly what the TVA is.  There was no multiversal war, as Miss Minutes describes in the TVA video.  Rather, I’d wager the Time-Keepers are trying to cut out difference and choice throughout the multiverse.  I think the threat of the war is the way they justify their plan.  And I don’t think they are working throughout the whole of creation.  At least not yet.  I mean, just look at Avengers: Endgame.  Steve goes back in time to live with Peggy.  That creates a whole branch timeline.  Also, a Thanos, Nebula, Gamora, and Black Order from 2014 are pulled forward into 2023 (as Endgame is five years after Avengers: Infinity War) where they fight the Avengers.  That Thanos, Nebula, and Black Order die.  Gamora goes off to parts unknown.  So there’s an entire timeline shooting off from that 2014 but no TVA to prune it or Steve.  Also, when Loki’s before Ravonna in court she is very quick to tell him, “We’re not here to talk about the Avengers!  What they did was supposed to happen.”

Is that true?  Or, perhaps, are the Time-Keepers a bit fearful of the Avengers?  They did stop an Infinity Stone-wielding Thanos after all.  Perhaps they are not yet ready to cross the Avengers.

The Avengers in the MCU aside, in 2013 their was a comic storyline in New Avengers (Vol. 3) about universes colliding.  Earth was the point of the incursion and, as they hit, both universes were destroyed.  To protect their universe, a group called the Illuminati (including Black Panther, Beast, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and Doctor Strange) devised a whole series of planet destroying weapons to kill other Earths before they could collide with theirs. It was universe-wide genocide to protect their own universe.  We also have 2015’s version of Secret Wars where all the Marvel universes were brought to Battleworld to fight for survival.  In the end, only one remained.  And after the destruction of the multiverse, Reed Richards, Susan Storm, their children Franklin and Valeria, and the Future Foundation (a group of beyond-brilliant teens from the Marvel Universe) go out to use Franklin’s incredible powers to rebuild universes and bring the multiverse back.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Ok so, contextual tangent aside, what if this all is fodder for the Loki series?  Let’s say the Time-Keepers are trying to destroy the multiverse.  Maybe the feed of the potential they snuff out (like a universe-scale version of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels).  Maybe they just have a crazy superiority complex.  Who knows?  But they are writing a story and they want to pull every branch, every timeline into line.  And we know they don’t have the end yet in focus.  Mobius tells Loki this during their conversation in the quiet cafeteria in episode two:   

Loki – “How does it all end?”

Mobius – “That’s a work in progress.”

Loki – “Oh, those lazy Time-Keepers, what are they waiting for?”

Mobius – “Au contraire, because while we protect what came before, they’re toiling away in their chamber, untangling the epilogue from its infinite branches.”

Loki – “Ah, I see.  So, when they finish, what happens then?”

Mobius – “So are we.  No more nexus events, just order, and we meet in peace at the end of time.”

They are trying to decide on the story.  And they need all the universes to fall in line for…whatever reason.  Now, while I don’t know they’re avoiding the Avengers for fear they’d stop them, it’s very clear they are worried about Loki.  Or rather, all the Lokis.  During their mission briefing at the TVA before they go to Wisconsin at the start of episode two, Mobius says, “Here’s the deal.  When we get out on the branch we’re not just looking for a time criminal.  We’re looking for a Loki, a variation [pointing to Loki] of this guy.  A type we should all be very familiar with because the TVA has pruned a lot of these guys, almost more than any other variant.  And no two are alike.”

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The team prepares to track yet another fugitive Loki. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Why would the TVA have to hunt “a lot of these guys, almost more than any other variant”?  Because they serve the Time-Keepers.  And the Time-Keepers are not what they appear to be.  They are, “an illusion…a cruel, elaborate trick, conjured by the weak to inspire fear, a desperate attempt at control.”  And no one – no one – would be able to spot that quicker than Loki.  So across the multiverse they keep having trouble with Loki because Loki keeps seeing the truth.  Loki is the greatest threat to the TVA because who knows lies and illusions better than Loki?

AND for as infallible as the TVA seem to be, the “official” understanding of Loki is pretty flawed.  They are supposed to see all, right?  In episode one Mobius tells Loki, “You weren’t born to be king.  You were born to cause pain and suffering and death.  That’s how it is.  That’s how it was.  That’s how it will be.  All so others can achieve their best versions of themselves.”  Then, in episode two, Ravonna tells Mobius, “Loki is an evil, lying scourge.  That is the part he plays on the Sacred Timeline.”  But it isn’t.  It’s more propaganda to paint Loki as a clear and present danger.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Loki – and by extension, the viewer – is told the TVA doesn’t intervene when things are playing out as they’re supposed to happen.  Loki taking the Tesseract created a variant and, in Mobius’ office, he sees himself killed by Thanos.  He’s told that’s the end he’s supposed to meet.  But on the way to that end Loki is redeemed.  He willingly fights alongside Thor, Valkyrie, and the Hulk to protect the people of Asgard from Hela and Surtr.  He dies trying to protect Thor, the Asgardian refugees, and the Space Stone from Thanos.

We’ve seen Loki become a hero.  We’re told the TVA has to prune Loki’s all over the Sacred Timeline for stepping out of his predetermined path.  And we know there’s no character in the MCU who would be quicker to spot an illusion conjured by the weak to inspire fear than the god who’s spent much of his eons-long life doing the same.  The TVA fears Loki, they hunt Loki, because the Time-Keepers know a Loki can undo them and every Loki has the makings of a hero.  So once a Loki begins to see the truth…the Time-Keepers and their illusion are in danger.

This all brings us to the fugitive Loki (Sophia Di Martino), the variant the protagonist Loki was called in to help capture.  We see her reveal herself to Loki at the end of episode two.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Is she a female Loki?  Or is she Amora, the Enchantress?  From her actions, she could be either and there is precedent of both in the comics.

Pointing to the Enchantress, we see she’s blonde.  Loki clearly says she’s enchanting the humans she’s controlling.  As they talk, she tells Loki not to call her “Loki” and to instead call her “Randy,” using the name of the man she’s enchanted.  During their fight Loki also notes, “I would never treat me like this.”

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The Enchantress is a long time foe of Thor’s, often using her magical charms and seductive nature to bewitch those she seeks to control. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Pointing to it being another variant of Loki, we see her tell Loki, “Please, if anyone’s anyone, you’re me.”  Also, she goads him by saying, “And here I was worried they’d found a better version of me.”  Save the blonde hair, aesthetically she looks far more like the comics’ female Loki, too. Plus, the TVA seem 100% certain they are tracking a Loki and, again, Mobius stated, “We’re looking for a Loki, a…type we should all be very familiar with because the TVA has pruned a lot of these guys, almost more than any other variant.  And no two are alike.”  Maybe the MCU is just taking some of the Enchantress’ character traits and giving them to this Loki variant.  It could be like Tony making Ultron instead of Hank Pym.  I don’t know.

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Loki first became female in the comics after stealing Sif’s mortal body when the Asgardian gods were being resurrected on Earth. Then Loki became a gender-fluid character, changing from man to women at will, something with a root in Norse mythology. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

What I am pretty certain of though is she is absolutely the hero.  The TVA are trying to strip the multiverse of difference, to pull everything together into one Sacred Timeline (for whatever reason), and she’s the one working to stop them.  Look at how she’s introduced in episode two!

The episode opens in a Medieval Fair in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1985.  When the Minutemen enter the tent, seeking the nexus event, they realize it’s a trap.  The speakers start blaring, “My lords, my ladies, welcome!  And thank you for joining us here at the castle.  Please, settle into your seats for a great battle is about to commence.  The prize?  Our princess.  Will evil prevail?  Or are we holding out…for a hero?”  Bonnie Tylers’ “Holding Out For A Hero” begins playing as the fugitive Loki cuts through the Minutemen, using enchantments, and taking their reset charge.

A great battle is about to commenceWill evil prevail?  Or are we holding out for a hero?

The battle is between Loki and the TVA.  The evil, the Time-Keepers.  And the hero we’re holding out for is this Loki variant.

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The fugitive Loki, before she unveils herself to the protagonist Loki. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

Save the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Marvel doesn’t often use pop music in their movies.  And when they do, as is in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, it’s very intentional.  What better way to shine a spotlight that says, “Hey!  This is the hero!” than by playing Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” over a character’s entry?  I defy you to listen to that song and not root for whomever it’s associated with.  Plus, look at the lyrics.  “Where have all the good men gone / and where are all the gods? / Where’s a streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”  While this Loki is obviously female, she’s certainly a god.  And is there a more “streetwise” god than Loki?

After she reveals her true form to Loki, she drops the stolen reset charges all across the Sacred Timeline.  But the monitors don’t show anything being destroyed.  Rather, new timelines begin branching off.  The panicked TVA agents watching the screens as this happens call in a Code 000 and say someone’s bombed the Sacred Timeline.  The assault isn’t on the individual timelines but the Sacred Timeline.  She is setting those timelines free.  She is so much more than she appears to be.

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The monitors at the TVA show the new timelines being formed as a result of the reset charges being dropped along the Sacred Timeline. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

As our protagonist Loki tells Mobius back in their quiet cafeteria conversation: 

Loki – “You know, you called me a ‘scared little boy.’”

Mobius – “I called you a lotta things.”

Loki – “You did.  You’re wrong, though.  You see I know something children don’t.”

Mobius – “What’s that?”

Loki – “That no one bad is ever truly bad.  And no one good is ever truly good.”

Obviously that means no one is one thing.  It means we are all complex, with good and bad parts.  And that’s true of us all.  But it also reflects the nature of the story we’re watching, too.  Loki, who we’re told again and again is a “lying scourge,” isn’t truly bad.  And the Time-Keepers, “the divine arbiters of power in the universe,” aren’t truly good.

Annnnnnnnd that’s all I’ve got.  For this week at least.  Of course, all these thoughts may end up being wrong (but I don’t think they are ;D).  If they are, well that’s just part of the fun of theorizing!  Here’s to next week and more burgeoning revelations!

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Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Loki

15 thoughts on “Stream-of-Consciousness Loki Theorizing About the TVA and Variants

    1. You are that Jeff! And the credit is deservedly yours. I couldn’t figure out where to put the point about the wolf’s ears in this piece. I kept trying but I couldn’t get it to organically flow anywhere. So that’s the one big part of our revelation conversation I couldn’t find the place for here.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know about you but one of the (many) things I really liked about ‘WandaVision’ was how the first few episodes were half an hour. I know it’s more in my head than anything else but it feels “easier” to start a half hour show than an hour one. So by the time the ‘WandaVision’ episodes had creeped up to an hour I was already building my whole week around watching it XD.


  1. Ah, I really like the idea that maybe the whole idea of the Sacred Timeline is a lie. Not just that the Time-Keepers are the bad guys, but that they haven’t actually had that much control over what other people do and are just spreading lies to convince people they’ve had the Timeline in check for a very long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I’m biased because the above piece is, you know, MINE but I really think it’s going to play out like this. And, as I’ve continued to think about it since writing this, I don’t know that we’ve seen anything to make the TVA seem like the have the omniscient or omnipresent abilities to control AN ENTIRE MULTIVERSE. They are powerful and they are dangerous. We’ve seen their timeloops and their resetting timelines and pruning variants…but the organization doesn’t feel like it has the power/reach over INFINITY. Perhaps that‘s just me, though.

      Either way, as of now we’ve got just two more episodes for them to give us all these answers and I have no idea how they can ever tie all this together in two episodes…


      1. I watched the fourth episode yesterday and was baffled when I looked it up and saw there are only supposed to be two more! But I’ve thought that with all the Marvel shows so far. They seem to start interestingly but slowly, and just when I think there’s a lot going on that they’re going to have to unravel, I realize they have 1-2 hours left to deal with it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know…that’s a really good point. I was very fulfilled with how ‘WandaVision’ and ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ came together. Maybe I’m prematurely worrying here. Maybe I should stop fretting and just wait and see what happens.

        But it still feels like there’s way too much for them to ever get through in two episodes to me XD.


      3. I thought the WandaVision ending was a bit abrupt until I read somewhere they’d actually been planning to film a couple more scenes they didn’t get around to, which I think would have wrapped up a few loose ends. Overall I agree both shows ended better than I was expecting, since each time I thought they would need double the episodes to finish up the plot!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I finally finished watching Loki, so I can actually read this post and comment on it! (And, hey, I got a shout-out! I’m famous!) I was really interested, too, in the statement that the TVA encounters more Loki variants than anything else. I suppose one could take that to be because, as Loki keeps saying in the series, Lokis survive or because they are mischievous. However, I think there are so many Loki Variants because Loki is one the characters most in flux in the MCU. Not even Loki seems to know what he really wants, or if he is going to be the hero or the villain of the story. I see Loki as a character who is all about change–and it’s that change that threatens the Sacred Timeline so much. In a way, Loki is the real representative of free will, the idea that people always have a choice. Just because Loki was the villain in the past, doesn’t mean that he has to be the villain in the future. And I think that’s what really frustrates the TVA about Loki! They want Loki to play a particular part in their play, but he keeps changing the role.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You absolutely are famous! I find some of my favorite posts are the ones which have grown from another conversation :). And this one had a Krysta Genesis!

      YES to all of this! I think (in addition to Tom Hiddleston being a great guy and hunky, too) is part of why we all find ourselves rooting for Loki. Even across the movies! I remember back in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ I was inexplicably holding out hope he was “good” now. Seeing him as this metaphoric representative of free will and/or the character who is most free, it makes so much sense for why we’d resonate with his journey. He shows us choice and he shows us the power of our choices, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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