The concept of Variants completely reshapes the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The series premiere of Loki clarified that the 2012 iteration of Tom Hiddleston's trickster that escaped with the Tesseract is one of these Variants, as his existence breaches the Sacred Timeline. According to the Time Variance Authority, anyone that veers off the path they are supposed to be on becomes one of these beings and must be immediately intercepted.
While some beings in the MCU are one-of-one, others have thousands of iterations. Loki's second episode introduced five of these God of Mischief variants.
VARIETY OF VARIANTS
The first Loki, labeled L6792, dons his traditional Asgardian leather but has a blue complexion. This is likely a variant of Loki that never hides his Frost Giant roots in his physical appearance and doesn't use magic to mask his skin.
L1247 Loki depicts him in a cyclist uniform as he carries a trophy and waves to the crowd. Marvel Studios concept artist Wesley Burt has since indicated that this is an intentional reference to the aftermath of the 2018 Tour de France, in which a trophy was mischievously stolen from its display case a few months after the competition.
The third and most eye-catching Loki has a Hulk-like presence to him. The heavyweight rocks some tattered black jeans and green fur on his shoulders. Just like the Frost Giant Loki, this one is labeled L6792.
Jester Loki wears a green singlet and purple beads around his neck. L8914 is complete with a beard and bears a black-horned crown.
The final Loki has a Viking vibe to him. His traditional golden-horned crown returns but extends higher and wider than the familiar headpiece. Labeled 7803, Viking Loki has brown battle armor on his chest, green moss-like fur on his shoulders, and ivy wrapped around his shins.
FORESHADOWING MORE LOKI DEBUTS?
While a couple of these Variants were likely just played for fun, like the rugby and jester versions, there's reason to believe at least one of these Lokis will make a live-action appearance later in the show.
Marvel Studios loves to remind viewers of rules within projects themselves. Avengers: Age of Ultron made sure to show Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and others fail to lift Mljonir at the beginning to emphasize the impact of Vision's worthiness later in the film. Gamora notes Thanos could accomplish his plans "with the snap of his fingers" early in Avengers: Infinity War to familiarize viewers with the action hours before it happens. Showing other Loki variants early in the show follows suit with this MCU storytelling technique.
As for which established iteration of Loki is most likely to make an appearance, put money on the big guy.
The Hulk-like Loki has a massive presence to him and is the perfect muscle for the villainous variant. Sophia Di Martino's mysterious antagonist has proven she is able to hold her own, but having back-up never hurts.
Beyond the storytelling parallels, every solo movie Loki has appeared in utilizes a heavyweight right-hand man. 2011's Thor had The Destroyer, Thor: The Dark World had Kurse, and Thor: Ragnarok had Fenrir. Allowing Lady Loki to scheme while L6792 handles the fighting would make taking her down all the more difficult.
Loki airs every Wednesday, streaming exclusively on Disney+.