Marvel Studios is expanding into the MCU's vast multiverse in Phase 4 after it was only teased on a couple of occasions through the end of the Infinity Saga. Likely the biggest indication of this plot point came from the Season 1 finale of Loki on Disney+, in which the death of He Who Remains set off a cascade of branches in the Sacred Timeline, triggering numerous MCU storylines along the way.
With the MCU now integrating its theatrical movies with the newly-introduced Disney+ series, the overarching narrative will become deeper than ever with the streaming and theatrical realms playing off one another.
This is especially true after Loki's final episode, which set up multiple future movies such as this year's Spider-Man: No Way Home and next year's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, keeping these stories in line with one another is something that the director of Loki wasn't privy to.
THE SECRET SACRED MCU TIMELINE
Loki Season 1 director Kate Herron spoke with Buzzfeed about how Loki sets up future MCU theatrical releases in Phase 4. However, even with Loki's place in the story, Herron admitted she didn't have much contact with directors of multiverse-related MCU projects like Jon Watts (Spider-Man: No Way Home) or Sam Raimi (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).
While she was tasked with leading this six-episode story, Marvel producers Kevin Wright and Stephen Broussard spoke with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and "steered (them) in terms of the Marvel big picture" through the process.
In contrast, WandaVision director Matt Shakman previously confirmed that he did have conversations with Watts and Raimi regarding his project's connection to theirs.
Reconfirming that things are "so secretive at Marvel," Herron explained how Marvel "manages everything internally" to keep everything straight.
Even sharing Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania director Peyton Reed, she only recalled speaking to him "because their timelines crossed" with the character:
"Kevin Wright and Stephen Broussard from Marvel were our producers on Loki, and they worked with Kevin Feige, Louis [D'Esposito], and Victoria [Alonso]. They always steered us in terms of the Marvel big picture and let us know if anything was off base. It's so secretive at Marvel, so I only spoke to Peyton just because our timelines crossed [with Jonathan]. Generally, Marvel manages everything internally and keeps us all in check."
A TALL ORDER FOR PHASE 4
While Herron certainly had plenty of work to do making Tom Hiddleston's Loki the best it could be on its own, the show was naturally tasked with setting up plenty of the MCU's future. However, it appears that the director only had to focus on that rather than being in touch with Jon Watts on No Way Home or Sam Raimi on Multiverse of Madness.
With the MCU's multiverse now in shambles thanks to the first Variant of Kang the Conqueror, it appears inevitable that this story will affect the journeys for both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. How that specifically happens remains to be seen, but the stage is now set thanks to Loki for the intense madness that will carry the MCU for the foreseeable future.
In terms of the storytelling behind the scenes, Kevin Feige and his team continue to prove their mastery over this universe by continuing to make everything flow from a continuity perspective.
The Ant-Man threequel is still 18 months away, and that film comes after two game-changing adventures featuring Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange. Considering how high the stakes are in these films that Loki set up, Herron's quotes certainly set a high bar for what Marvel Studios has planned.
All six episodes of Loki are available to stream on Disney+. Spider-Man: No Way Home will come to theaters on December 17, 2021, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will arrive on March 25, 2022.