Warning: This article contains spoilers for Loki Episode 2.
Disney+’s latest series Loki has given fans a new perspective on the past and future of the MCU. In the first episode, Miss Minutes explained that a multiversal war led to the creation of the Time Variance Authority by the Time-Keepers.
The objective of the TVA is to maintain the flow of time according to what the "space lizards" deem the Sacred Timeline. This cherished flow of time has caused some confusion based on the logic set up in Avengers: Endgame, but also brought up an even bigger question: Does anyone have free will?
Another aspect of time in the MCU is that it directly relates to reality and the multiverse. When Sophia Di Martino’s Lady Loki (or Slyvie/Enchantress) reveals herself, sending the timeline into a frenzy, the game completely changes. The branches were moving at a rapid pace on the Tempad, indicating the multiverse may break out sooner than some may have anticipated.
While audiences will have to wait and see how the Sacred Timeline does or doesn’t fall apart, there was one scene in Episode 2, "The Variant" that teased a future Marvel project.
HOW LOKI CONNECTS TO SPIDER-MAN
Near the beginning of Episode 2, TVA agents gather around to discuss the Loki Variant that is causing chaos within the timeline. During Mobius’ presentation of different Loki Variants, it becomes clear that they probably will not resemble Tom Hiddleston.
The Variants displayed came in all shapes and sizes, not bound to gender or even appearing human at all. Leading to the unexpected, but unsurprising arrival of Lady Loki.
What once may have been inconceivable is the return of Spider-Men Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire as their respective portrayals of Peter Parker. It turns out that many Spider-Man fans’ dreams may come true if you believe all the rumors surrounding Tom Holland’s third Spidey flick.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to hit theaters on December 17 of this year and has become one of the most anticipated and speculated upon movies in recent memory. Understanding that there will be multiversal elements to the film has sparked major speculation that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will return.
At this point in time it only seems confirmed that Jamie Foxx will return as Electro, Alfred Molina will be back at Doc Ock, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange will play a key role. Despite that fact, many believe that previous villains like Green Goblin, Sandman, Rhino, and the Lizard will also be returning for an epic crossover event.
DOES LOKI EXPLAIN ANDREW GARFIELD & TOBEY MAGUIRE'S RETURNS?
For the sake of this discussion, assume all the rumors surrounding Spider-Man: No Way Home are true. Besides incredible fan service, why else would Spider-Man not look like Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the film? Mobius’ explanation of how many Lokis there are could be the same for various Peter Parkers across the multiverse.
This could help explain why three Spider-Men named Peter Parker have different facial features, body types, and even abilities like Maguire’s organic web-shooters. In fact, besides J.K. Simmons and J. Jonah Jameson, all of Peter’s surrounding family and friends are completely different in their separate universes.
There may be no easy way to explain this and audiences will have to just play along, but the extreme variations in Loki could help fans understand why these characters all appear differently across the multiverse.
THE MCU CONTINUING TO BE CONNECTED
In theory, only Nexus Beings like Scarlet Witch or Kang the Conqueror wouldn’t have these variants. However, so far only Nexus Events have been confirmed in the MCU, but it seems like only a matter of time before a Nexus Being is explained.
Kevin Feige and WandaVision appear to be setting up a four-part story beginning with WandaVision (the Scarlet Witch origin), Loki (explaining the multiverse) and finishing with Spider-Man: No Way Home (Peter caught in a multiversal mess) and Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness (culminating in a major event).
This is the most exciting aspect of Phase 4 thus far, and they are just getting started. The multiverse is vast and Loki is setting it up greatly for Spider-Man and Doctor Strange to have to pull it back together.
Loki Variants aren’t the only thing that was directly tie-in to Spider-Man: No Way Home when it swings into theaters on December 17, 2021.