The Penultimate ‘Loki’ Episode Sets Up Marvel’s Next Big Bad

Loki's "Journey Into Mystery" is a stepping stone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Loki Marvel Alioth
What’s next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Loki? Marvel Studios

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Disney (DIS)+’s Loki

The penultimate chapter of Marvel’s Loki is essentially the biggest budget episode of Scooby Doo ever made. Our heroes race around hilariously spooky settings with the goal of unmasking a mysterious villain. Substitute a Skinny’s Pizza van for the Mystery Machine and we’ve got ourselves a dead ringer. In doing so, the Marvel series has set itself up for a big reveal that will reverberate throughout the MCU.

We’ve long theorized that a fan favorite comics character would be introduced in Loki and the most recent two episodes only further our suspicions. Marvel has cast Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) as Kang the Conquerer, a time traveling warlord from the comics with connections to the Fantastic Four, Young Avengers, and a host of other familiar characters. The iconic villain is meant to make his debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, another MCU entry that approaches the concept of reality with the looseness of height requirements at Six Flags. But Episode 5 has us thinking we may see him, or at least learn about him, in the Loki finale.

In “Journey Into Mystery” (named for the classic Marvel comic series that debuted the Loki and Thor characters) our pruned protagonists wake up in The Void, a pocket dimension at the end of time where Nexus Events are impossible to create. The Void is overseen by Alioth, a gaseous creatures that consumes matter and energy. As Sylvie theorizes, Alioth isn’t necessarily there to kill the pruned (though that’s clearly a perk of the gig), it’s there to guard whatever lies beyond The Void. Here’s where a bit of comics history tips us off to what may come next.

In Marvel Comics canon, Alioth is the first being who managed to defy the rigid structure of time and exist beyond its natural flow. As a result, it was able to build a vast empire that stretched on for eons. In fact, Alioth is the reason Kang was never able to expand his empire before 2000 BC. Their temporal clash was the stuff of legends and, eventually, Kang created a time barrier to prevent Alioth from encroaching on his domain. Eventually, following Kang’s death in the comics, the living tempest even crossed paths with Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Their fates are all intertwined.

The trans-temporal entity exists across divergent timelines, consuming the matter and energy it comes across and causing temporal disturbances across dimensions. Think of it as the most destructive Nexus Event in existence, a being that produces a ripple effect across timelines. It absorbs any and all that become marooned within its cloud-like body and, in the comics, engulfs all adjacent realities of a given time period to grow stronger. It can also prevent travel to a time before it exists, though we don’t yet know if that’s the case in Loki.

Regardless, Alioth’s abilities and connections to Kang, combined with the revelation that the Time Keepers are just mindless androids, all point to the same conclusion. Kang may very well be the puppet master pulling the strings of the TVA in order to prune any threats that may arise against timeline dominance. Controlling the very reality of the universe and negating the power of the Infinity Stones sets him up to be an even greater threat than Thanos.

The Mad Titan may have wiped out half of all live in the universe, but Kang’s potential influence extends to every conceivable universe and timeline that may exist. If he is indeed the force behind the TVA, he is literally writing the script of reality. The hierarchy of the MCU has been dramatically altered in Loki. Now, it’s looking far more likely that Kang is Marvel’s next, and more powerful, Big Bad.

The Penultimate ‘Loki’ Episode Sets Up Marvel’s Next Big Bad