WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Loki’s fourth episode.
The fourth episode of Loki shellshocked audiences by seemingly killing off both Owen Wilson’s Mobius and Tom Hiddleston’s titular trickster, but the trademark after-credits scene indicated that pruning is not as permanent as it seems.
Loki woke up in a desolate world, greeted by four other variations of himself. This mysterious realm has been teased in promotional material aplenty since the show’s debut trailer landed last December.
While it has yet to be named on-screen, this land appears to be Limbo, a pocket universe often used for time travel. Loki is likely using this realm as a sort of inter-dimensional prison for Variants.
The inhabitants are Loki Variants, but what exactly is the surrounding area? A new theory brought about by Twitter user @Dbress914 may reveal Limbo to be home to a darker, alternate MCU timeline.
WHAT IF THE NUKE HIT IN 2012’S AVENGERS?
Nine years ago in real-time, 13 years ago in canonical time, and just about a week ago in Loki time, a Chitauri invasion was led on New York City.
The God of Mischief captained an alien army through a wormhole in the sky with hopes of conquering Earth and retrieving the space stone for Thanos. The Avengers were able to stop Loki’s wrath with minimal casualties, preventing the much darker victory that the World Security Council intended.
Usurping Director of SHIELD Nick Fury’s jurisdiction, the World Security Council gave the green light to drop a nuclear missile on Manhattan, which would’ve led to the total annihilation of the entire island. Iron Man was able to intercept this nuke and toss it into space, wiping out the Chitauri’s mother ship and consequently disabling the entire Chitauri army.
But what if the nuke hit?
Landscape shots of Limbo clearly show a familiar tower among the skyline of skyscrapers. The building is too tattered to distinguish whether it’s Stark Tower or Avengers Tower, but if it’s the former, there’s a real likelihood that Limbo exists in the darkest MCU timeline.
Stark Tower’s lone MCU appearance came in 2012’s The Avengers, becoming the Big Apple home for the Malibu native. A nuclear missile dropping on the island of Manhattan would likely delay remodeling plans at least a few years.
WHAT IF LOKI WON?
The God of Mischief’s victories within the Sacred Timeline are quite limited.
Loki has led unsuccessful invasions, taken L’s on both Asgard and Earth, and has died on three separate occasions. His resume begs a tragic question, which Sylvie asks in the third episode.
“Do you think that what makes a Loki a Loki is the fact that we always lose?”
If the Sacred Timeline deems Lokis to always fail, then it would make sense that his biggest victory would exist inside this non-canon pocket dimension.
AN UNPREDICTABLE MCU FUTURE?
Both of the aforementioned possibilities require this skyscraper to still be Stark Tower. What happens if it’s actually Avengers Tower?
Stark Tower was remodeled to Avengers Tower at some point between 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The first HQ for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes made its initial debut in Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Project Insight’s map of targets, and was officially sold to a mysterious buyer in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Based on the brief glimpses fans have already seen, the building appears to be more likely to be Avengers Tower. The biggest indicator is the helipad, which has a stronger definition in the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes HQ version of the tower.
That said, if this is Avengers Tower, what is this reality? Did Loki lead a second invasion years later and win? Is this a world where Thanos’s snap is never undone? Was Ultron’s Sokovian asteroid successful?
Even though it has closer resemblances to Avengers Tower, the placement of that iteration of the building throws a wrench in all possibilities.
Fans will (hopefully) learn more about Limbo and its mysterious landscape when Loki returns this Wednesday.