Warning — This article contains spoilers from Episode 5 of Loki.
The time-traveling thrills of Loki have certainly made for a wild ride all the way through the first five installments. With plenty of surprises and twists along the way, unraveling the sinister mystery behind the TVA has made for one of Marvel's most engaging tales yet.
With the Time-Keepers revealed to be a hoax, the story isn't quite over. As the mission to dismantle the bureaucratic time organization continues, a burning question remains: who is truly pulling the strings of the TVA to dictate the flow of time.
The most apparent theory among fans, and arguably the one with the most evidence to support it, is that Kang the Conqueror created the organization. Since the beginning of the series, there has been an excess of references and hints towards the villain, who is set to be played by Johnathon Majors in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania .
Time will tell whether this theory pans out, but the latest episode of the series has added even more fuel to the fire.
ANOTHER KANG EASTER EGG APPEARS
Following a multitude of Easter eggs and teases towards Kang the Conqueror in Loki , the series' penultimate episode once again referenced the time-traveling villain.
As the camera pans through the desolated landscape of the Void in the episode's opening, a brief look is offered at a version of Iron Man's Stark (Avengers) Tower. However, this destroyed Variant of the iconic building instead displays a Qeng logo.
In Marvel Comics, Qeng Enterprises is the company to which Tony Stark sold the old Avengers Tower. But most intriguingly, the company was owned, under the alias of Mr. Gryphon, by Nathaniel Richards, better known as Kang the Conqueror.
This particular storyline notably saw a mishap in the timeline splitting Richards into multiple versions of himself, one of which landed in the 21st century. Now trapped two thousand years before his time, Nathaniel took on the alias of Mr. Gryphon to found Qeng Enterprises and create his own dynasty.
IS KANG'S ARRIVAL IMMINENT?
“Journey Into Mystery” is littered with hints towards the imminent arrival of Kang the Conqueror, but will this just turn out to be another Mephisto? Unlike the WandaVision debacle, there is a lot more basis to why Kang could feature in the Disney+ series.
Given the time-traveling nature of the show, the conquering villain has a logical motivation to be the man behind the curtain. Kang will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, played by Johnathon Majors, so Marvel may wish to first set the stage for the arrival of such a critical villain.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Judge Renslayer has deep connections to the character within the comic book universe, having even served as a love interest, so it's understandable why viewers were so quick to distrust the TVA loyalist.
Throughout the latest episode, the Loki Variants spent much of their time chasing down Alioth, a powerful being who guards the time past the Void, which is believed to be where the true creator of the TVA is hiding. Intriguingly, Alioth has served as an enemy of both Kang and Renslayer in Marvel Comics.
Additionally, some have speculated the castle shown behind the portal in the final moments of the episode is Castle Limbo, the home of Immortus, another version of Nathaniel Richards. Whether this theory has any credence will be revealed in next week's finale, but if it is accurate, then Kang could be coming in short order.
A continual theme is arising within Loki that almost every major plot point has some connection to Kang, making his involvement near certain. However, if Kang truly isn't the one behind the TVA, then Marvel has either been intentionally teasing fans from the beginning or really wants people to start talking about the Ant-Man sequel.
Given the common theme of time travel in the two projects, it makes logical sense for them to link in some way.
Alongside threats like Thanos and Galactus, Kang is one of the biggest threats in Marvel Comics. With the presence of time travel and the multiverse continuing to build in the MCU, the conquering antagonist will likely serve a much bigger purpose going forward than just being the villain of Quantumania .
Arguably, there is no better villain to make the Avengers reassemble than Kang, making him the strongest candidate to oppose the team in the highly-anticipated Avengers 5 .
The first five episodes of Loki are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.