Following the studio's inaugural year on Disney+ and three theatrical films, Marvel polished off 2021 with the record-breaking Spider-Man: Far From Home. While the film itself continued Tom Holland's Peter Parker story, what blew fans away was seeing cinema's three Spider-Men sharing the screen; and while that itself is its own form of movie magic, narratively it wouldn't have made sense without Marvel's Loki.
Loki debuted on Disney+ on June 9, 2021, introducing fans to TVA (Time Variance Authority), timelines, and Variants or various versions of one's self. The TVA's role was to "prune" Variants who posed a threat to the "Sacred Timeline" via Nexus events, which - unbeknownst to the organization - was to prevent Kang the Conqueror and company from being unleashed.
Since Spider-Man: No Way Home pulled in two additional Peter Parkers from different timelines, a slew of Multiversal villains, and nearly tore the fabric of reality, one would think that TVA would've stepped in the second Peter stepped into that snowy Sanctum Santorum.
So why didn't they? This new theory may not only explain their absence but also how Loki led to the events of No Way Home.
What Loki on Disney+ Taught MCU Fans
In the Disney+ series, Loki from 2012's The Avengers recaptures the Tesseract during the Avengers: Endgame time heist and uses it to escape. In doing so, however, he becomes a Variant, and if he was allowed to continue, his actions would've led to a branch in the "Sacred Timeline."
After the TVA "pruned" this branch, Variant Loki was taken into custody, where Mobius then enlists him to help capture another Loki Variant - Sylvie - who's determined to destroy the TVA.
By the end of the series, Loki and Sylvie, along with help from Mobius, discover that He Who Remains is actually behind the TVA. He created the organization to protect the "Sacred Timeline" after Variants of himself from other timelines - including that of Kang of the Conqueror - led to a Multiversal war.
Despite his argument, Sylvie still kills He Who Remains, unleashing the Multiverse with its branching timelines and Variants.
How Loki is Connected to Spider-Man: No Way Home
From a chronological standpoint, Loki is technically the first MCU Phase 4 story according to Marvel Studios' Disney+ timeline. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home is expected to occur around the same time as Hawkeye, making it one of the later Phase 4 projects.
Since Sylvie killed He Who Remains and freed the Multiverse before Strange cast that first spell in No Way Home, it's safe to assume that the events of Loki contributed to the craziness Strange and Spidey experienced, such as the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Peter Parker Variants and the new, branched timelines their villains likely created upon being cured.
It's also why the destruction of Strange's Multiversal villain fail-safe cube was able to tear the fabric of reality.
However, the assassination of He Who Remains hasn't been all bad. For instance, one of the themes of Loki was redemption.
In the show, it was explained that every time a Loki tried to fix themselves, they were sent to the Void. This all changed though when Loki, Sylvie, and Classic Loki defeated Alioth and through Loki's own arc from villain to hero throughout the show's run.
Redemption is also one of the themes in No Way Home. Not only did all three Spideys right their past wrongs, but all of their villains were redeemed as well. Again, this probably wouldn't have happened if not for the events of Loki.
Even so, since He Who Remains is dead, timelines are branching, and Strange and Spidey nearly broke reality, where was TVA during all this madness?
Where Was the TVA in Spider-Man: No Way Home?
In the final scene of Loki's Season 1 finale, the God of Mischief finds himself at a TVA headquarters where neither Mobius nor Hunter B-15 recognize him. According to the show's production designer Kasra Farahani, Loki and this TVA are "in a different place" and "a different timeline."
While that's disturbing on its own, Loki now sees a statue of Kang the Conqueror instead of a statue of the fictional Time Keepers implying that Kangs are now on the loose.
If that is true, and due to where No Way Home falls in the MCU's Phase 4 order, the TVA exists but is no longer in the business of stopping Nexus events of Multiversal entanglements.
In fact, these kinds of happenings may be exactly what Kang wants or needs.
Is Doctor Strange 2 The "Nexus" Between Loki and No Way Home?
While it seems that the TVA is under new management during Spider-Man: No Way Home, it's also worth noting that Spider-Man 3 writer Erik Sommers claimed that the events of Loki "weren't planned to coincide" with No Way Home but happened to work out as it shows "there is trouble in the multiverse."
His fellow No Way Home writer Chris McKenna further confirmed the lack of coordination between the Spider-Man threequel and Loki, saying, “Whether certain things that were happening in ‘Loki’ line up in terms of the timeline exploding and is that the same time that Doctor Strange is casting the spell, I don’t know."
Still, while Loki and No Way Home were crafted separately, Marvel Studios is the ultimate Time Keeper and the studio was more than aware of their Multiversal stories. Plus, there's already evidence that the two plots will, in fact, connect on-screen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In addition to rumors that Loki's Mobius and Sylvie will appear in the Doctor Strange sequel, the film's trailer appears to show one of Loki's orange-tinted Time Doors.
Perhaps No Way Home star Doctor Strange is the "Nexus" connecting the Spidey threequel to Loki? Fortunately, fans won't have to wait much longer to find out as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to release on May 7, 2022.
Season 1 of Loki is available to stream on Disney+. Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently playing in theaters.