Warning: This article contains spoilers for the season finale of Loki.
Marvel Studios is officially on double duty with releases both in theaters and on Disney+, which will continue through the second half of 2021 and beyond. The most recent of these debuts brought shocking reveals with the sixth and final episode of Loki Season 1 arriving worldwide on Disney+.
Marvel took one of its boldest steps in the post-Infinity Saga era by introducing Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror in this episode, a villain who could rival the magnitude and intensity of Josh Brolin's Thanos.
Kang first appeared under the guise of "He Who Remains" as a wall opened in the recently discovered Citadel at the End of Time. This huge castle revealed itself after Loki and Sylvie tamed the cloud beast Alioth at the end of Episode 5, setting the stage for an unpredictable final chapter of the God of Mischief's first solo outing.
Interestingly enough, the Citadel may not have come as such a surprise to fans if they were paying attention to a small detail in the five previous entries of Loki.
IT WAS THE CITADEL ALL ALONG
Marvel recently spoke with production designer Kasra Farahani about the introduction of Jonathan Majors' He Who Remains in Episode 6 of Loki.
Farahani revealed that there was "a precedent for the Citadel at the End of Time being on an asteroid" as he spoke about the architecture of the castle. It featured "situ from the asteroid" as its foundation, which was something the designer suggested early in the design process:
"In the comics, there’s precedent for the Citadel at the End of Time being on an asteroid. What I proposed, early on, was this idea that the entire building, all of the architecture, was carved in situ from the asteroid; there were no other building materials."
Farahani also mentioned that fans should rewatch the series to see the citadel stone in other places through the first five episodes. Revealing this stone as "the link from He Who Remains to the TVA," the designer placed emphasis on how important the stone is as "this rock that the whole place is quarried from."
The stone was featured not only on the outside of the Citadel, but also on the floor of Jonathan Majors' Kang's office, in which he discussed the ominous situation Loki and Sylvie found themselves in.
The stone can be seen as early as Episode 1, as it's used for Judge Renslayer's dais in the Time Variance Authority's Time Court.
The Time-Keeper statues looming in Judge Renslayer's office, first introduced in Episode 2, were also sculpted from the citadel stone.
The stone makes yet another appearance in the TVA elevator in Episode 4, seen on the walls as Renslayer takes Loki and Sylvie down to the basement to meet the fake Time-Keepers.
TEASES RUNNING AMOK THROUGH LOKI
Looking back at this reveal, it shouldn't come as too much of a shock that Marvel laid the groundwork for Kang as early as the first episode of Loki.
Marvel Studios is known for delivering on Easter eggs in every theatrical movie and nearly all episodes of Disney+ content, whether they tease future projects or not. While this piece of information couldn't have come to light before the Citadel at the End of Time revealed itself, it's fun looking back on the first five episodes and knowing Marvel set this reveal up from the start.
Particularly interesting is how every instance of this material showing itself came with Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Judge Renslayer, be it with the character on screen or in her office.
Looking at Ravonna's ties to Kang the Conqueror in the comics, the Citadel connecting to both characters seems to make sense as a trend through all six episodes. Whether Ravonna and Kang will have an on-screen partnership or relationship later is a mystery, but the early seeds are being sown in their first appearances.
Marvel Studios continues to prove its prowess with source material through this Easter egg, and it will be exciting to see how this trend continues through other projects this year and next.
All six episodes of Loki are available to stream on Disney+.