With only its first episode out, Loki already seems set to be a game-changer for the MCU.
On one hand, Loki saw a record-breaking release, with its debut becoming the most-watched Disney+ premiere in its first week. Even more shockingly, the series has revealed new information about the Infinity Stones and the very flow of time that totally shifts the balance of power in the Marvel Universe.
Loki also appears to tie deeply into the future of the MCU, with series head writer Michael Waldron touching on its vital importance to future projects within the franchise. Future episodes promise to keep audiences surprised, with actor Tom Hiddleston teasing that two episodes in particular will embark the show in a whole new direction. Two stills have also been released from the second episode, promising more mind-bending TVA action.
Even a minor moment from Loki's inaugural episode appears to have significant ramifications for the larger franchise.
CALLBACK TO COULSON
Speaking with Fandom about Loki's history in the MCU, head writer Michael Waldron touched on the reference made to Agent Coulson in the show's first episode. When asked if there was ever an idea to speak to Coulson's resurrection in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Waldron put it bluntly.
"No, look, that is one other tendril of the multiverse, perhaps. I think just seeing mention of Coulson again, the very fact that it raises those questions, is exciting."
COULSON: DEAD OR ALIVE?
Waldron's comments in this interview are fascinating, as they cast doubt on the very makeup of the MCU. Even as the spin-off series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought fan-favorite Phil Coulson back to life, the theatrical and Disney+ MCU entries have never acknowledged this change of the status-quo. If Waldron's take is to be believed, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may just be a multiverse story, existing outside the MCU fans have come to know and love.
The spin-off MCU stories, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Inhumans, and even the various Netflix series have always existed as side projects, with the mainline MCU failing to acknowledge these shows and even casting actors from them in new roles.
In large part this was due to a business divide, with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige in charge of feature outputs and Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter responsible for television outings. Eventually, Feige was handed control of Marvel Television, making way for this new wave of Disney+ MCU outings.
The non-Disney+ Marvel shows had already done some damage though, as they brought down the otherwise strong critical reception of the franchise and used up certain characters and storylines. That said, this multiverse angle may offer a way to deal with these issues. By re-categorizing the prior MCU shows as multiverse outings, Marvel could effectively preserve these series while also pruning the primary MCU continuity.
This is, after all, just the musings of one head writer. Waldron's take on the MCU continuity may not be shared by the studio itself. Even so, as Waldron penned the script for the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, his ideas about the bounds of the MCU may reflect some larger ideas or future plot points. Fans will just have to wait to see more as the MCU's multiverse arc continues.
Loki airs even Wednesday, streaming exclusively on Disney+.