All Your Burning Loki Variant Questions Answered

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This article contains spoilers for the first episode of Loki, “Glorious Purpose.”

For the first time ever, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) isn’t a supporting player in a movie dedicated to his brother Thor or the Avengers. Instead, he’s the star of his very own Disney+ series—and we have Hulk to thank. Loki, Marvel’s latest expansion into television, picks up right after a Hulk smash that results in the tesseract landing at Loki’s feet; if you remember Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers time-traveled to the very first Avengers film to alter the events that took place at Stark Tower. Ever the mischievous one, this alternate version of Loki grabs the vessel and disappears, altering the timeline and making him a “variant” who must answer to the Time-Keepers of the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Because the 2012 version of Loki escaped, he’s unaware of everything he did in the rest of the MCU films. But in episode 1 of Loki, our beloved villain gets a wake-up call.

Ahead, a breakdown of everything that has happened so far in Loki.

So, which version of Loki is the main character of Loki?

The first episode of Loki opens with the God of Mischief being captured by the TVA in the Gobi Desert immediately following his escape in Avengers: Endgame. Thus, we’re reunited with the 2012 version of Loki, who is still as self-serving and manipulative as ever. He tries to escape from the confines of TVA’s beige-and-orange headquarters, but soon realizes the organization is a lot more powerful than he expected.

Wait, what exactly is the TVA? What is its purpose?

The Time Variance Authority is an organization that operates in another realm outside of the multiverse—that is, main—timeline. Its purpose is to monitor the timeline to prevent any interferences from damaging or altering future realities. Anyone who interferes with the natural timeline—and thus, splits off from that timeline—is labeled a “variant.”

What happened to the original Loki?

After the first Avengers film, the Loki of the main timeline continued on a path of chaos, ultimately playing a part in both Frigga and Odin’s deaths. He finally makes amends with his brother Thor, but Thanos chokes him to death at the beginning of Infinity War. During an interrogation with Mobius (Owen Wilson) at the TVA, Loki-the-variant is brought up to speed on everything the “real” Loki experienced in the main timeline.



“Do you enjoy hurting people? Do you enjoy killing people?” Mobius asks the trickster. The two attempt to answer that question throughout the episode. Because Loki is, well, Loki, he tries to escape, finding the Tesseract and the Infinity Stones resting in a drawer at the TVA. Casey, a receptionist, tells Loki the stones—the same stones that cost our heroes their lives and wellbeing—are being used as paperweights, a clear signal to Loki that his powers have no use here. He gives up his plan to escape and returns to the interrogation room, where he watches himself killed by Thanos on the big screen. He has a change of heart.

“I don’t enjoy hurting people,” he tells Mobius, reiterating a line he stated earlier in the episode: “It’s a part of the illusion. It’s the cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear.” Instead of punishing Loki, Mobius asks him for his help in capturing a “fugitive variant” who’s been killing the TVA’s enforcers, known as the Minutemen. That dangerous fugitive? He’s also a Loki variant.

What do we know so far about the other Loki variant?

The episode’s final scene takes us to a field where a few Minutemen are greeted by a hooded figure—the evil Loki variant. He sets the field on fire, killing all the Minutemen. Now, thanks to Mobius, Loki’s new job will see him searching for himself—literally.

Burning questions for episode 2:

  • Is the “fugitive Variant” the rumored Lady Loki? (Some MCU theorists believe Loki will eventually introduce Lady Loki, a prominent figure in the comic books.)
  • Was Loki’s speech about his tricks being an “illusion” just another ruse up one of his many sleeves?
  • Is Loki a true redemption story?

    Stay tuned.

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