WARNING - This article contains spoilers from the Loki season finale.
Phase 4 has fully kicked into high gear.
The season finale of Loki shattered the Sacred Timeline into a multiverse of madness, setting up what will likely be the next Infinity Saga-sized storyline within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before the chaos erupted, Loki paid tribute to the vast library of Marvel Studios content before it.
A TITLE SEQUENCE FOR THE AGES
In a season finale that revealed Jonathan Majors' Kang, set up Doctor Strange 2, and officially announced a second season, the most dissected scene might just be Loki's title sequence.
The Marvel Studios intro ditched the traditional fanfare for a compilation of quotes from MCU past, harkening back to the early days of the Infinity Saga over the tune of "It's Been a Long, Long Time" from both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Endgame.
The sequence kicks off with a classic Iron Man repulsor blast, followed by Falcon shouting, "Way to go, Tic-Tac!" at Scott Lang from Captain America: Civil War.
The Lang love continues as Hope Van Dyne remarks "that's how you punch" after clocking the bite-sized hero in Ant-Man. Hulk roars his iconic roar before Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa cries "Wakanda forever!" in Avengers: Infinity. Rest in power, King.
Scott returns once more with a "you wouldn't have heard of me" from 2015's Ant-Man, followed by Natasha Romanoff's "let me put you on hold" from The Avengers. "Dance off bro!" echoes from Star-Lord's mouth (Guardians of the Galaxy) as his frenemy Thor shouts "he's a friend from work!" (Thor: Ragnarok).
Avengers: Endgame takes the spotlight as Chris Evans' 2012 Captain America reminds fans "I can do this all day" before present-day Steve Rogers notes "Yeah I know!"
Hank Pym joins the fray as his younger iteration emphasizes "I'll show you ferocity" in the opening scene of Ant-Man. Sticking in the 20th century, Carol Danvers hits her "higher, further, faster, baby" catchphrase from Captain Marvel.
The distinguishable quotes end appropriately with Loki himself alerting Thanos that "we have a Hulk" from Avengers: Infinity War's first scene.
From here, the quotes begin to overlap. The identifiable remaining ones include Korg's "we’re gonna jump on that spaceship and get out of here, wanna come?" (Thor: Ragnarok), Bucky's "Who the hell is Bucky?" (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Star-Lord's "I have part of a plan!" (Guardians of the Galaxy), Hulk's "puny god" (The Avengers), and Bruce Banner's "that's my secret, Cap: I'm always angry" (The Avengers).
Steve and Peggy's dance music switches up for some of Natalie Holt's acclaimed Loki score, layered with quotes from historical figures. Within those quotes are a few more MCU callbacks, including Classic Loki's "glorious purpose!" cry from the show's fifth episode, Vision's "what is grief, if not love persevering?" from Episode 8 of WandaVision, and Sylvie's "open your eyes."
A TRIBUTE TO THE INFINITY SAGA
While many are clamoring for the Marvel Studios title sequence to replace fanfare, it feels like a one-time nod to the MCU's Infinity Saga. Kicking this episode off with such a jam-packed amalgamation of quips and quotes from Marvel past is a reminder of everything the universe has accomplished in its first 13 years.
While some callbacks came from Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, no dialogue specifically references the Infinity Stones. For that reason, this collection operates as more of a tribute to individual Marvel heroes and their most memorable lines.
From Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa utilizing his Wakanda catchphrase to the reminder that Chris Evans' has super-soldier stamina, each remark hearkens back to moments that encapsulate their respective characters.
Interestingly enough, the only Iron Man reference is a repulsor blast. While Robert Downey Jr. is not lending his vocal talents to the What If...? series, it's unknown if this animated absence is correlated to Tony Stark's vocal omission in the finale.
Even if an actor doesn't physically appear in a movie, they do cash in on any uses of their likeness, whether it be in pictures or re-purposed audio. RDJ infamously drives a high bargain, so electing to use an Iron Man sound effect rather than a quote likely kept Loki's budget reasonable.
Phase 4 has been in effect since January, but Loki took the narrative in a completely new direction.
Both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision operated like Infinity Saga epilogues, while Black Widow took place in the heart of Phase 3. The God of Mischief's season finale reminded fans of how much the MCU has already accomplished but also emphasized that there is still so much more to explore.
All six episodes from Loki's first season are now streaming exclusively on Disney+.