On Super Bowl Sunday, viewers were treated to a surprise first-look at three of Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster Disney+ series: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki. Both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision look supremely compelling and will hit Disney+ later this year. Yet despite not arriving until early 2021 and airing just a few mere seconds of footage, Loki is the dominant topic of conversation today. That’s because the brief glimpse fans did get spoke volumes about the series.
Before we jump into that analysis, it’s important to remember the full context of Tom Hiddleston’s character. The last time audiences saw the trickster God was in Avengers: Endgame, but that was the fully villainous iteration of the character from 2012’s The Avengers. The (mostly) reformed Loki—who helped save the day in Thor: Ragnarok—was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. But thanks to the time-traveling narrative of Avengers: Endgame, the 2012 version of Loki escaped capture with the Tesseract. It’s confusing, we know, but consider the Loki TV series a branched reality resulting from the character’s 2012 escape in Endgame.
In the brief footage from the Super Bowl spot, Loki threatens to “burn this place to the ground.” Okay, but what the hell is “this place” and where/when is it? Thanks to his branded garb labeled “TVA,” we can safely assume he’s being held prisoner by an organization ripped from the pages of Marvel’s Thor comics called the Time Variance Authority. In the source material, the Time Variance Authority employs timeline monitors to watch over the multiverse, prevent beings from altering the past and future and purges realities that threaten to become too dangerous. (Comics are ridiculous, and we love them.) That fits in nicely with the show’s plot, which will see Loki use the Tesseract to travel throughout human history and influence major events.
Whether Loki has been captured directly after his escape in Avengers: Endgame or after already meddling with the timeline remains to be seen. But the inclusion of the TVA suggests Loki harbors broader implications for the greater MCU. Previous versions of familiar characters such as Iron Man and Captain America could theoretically pop up for cameos given the time travel and alternate timeline elements being used.
Michael Waldron (Rick and Morty) will serve as showrunner. Sophia Di Martino and Owen Wilson have been cast in undisclosed roles. Loki will consist of six big-budget episodes when it finally arrives on Disney+ next year.