The season finale of Loki gives fans a glimpse of the Multiverse, setting the stage for the villains of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Loki, “For All Time. Always.,” streaming now on Disney+.
Whether it’s He Who Remains or his variant Kang the Conqueror, “the man behind the curtain” in Loki Season 1, Episode 6 “For All Time. Always.” is being set up as one of the major villains in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s fundamentally different from Thanos, and yet, no less dangerous. Indeed, the upcoming slate of MCU productions is tinged with his influence, and his introduction here paves the way for some massive developments in the previously “sacred” timeline. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and What If…? are the two most obvious examples, but the trend appears likely to include Spider-Man: No Way Home as well.
No Way Home is confirmed to feature two villains from previous non-MCU Spider-Man films: Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2 and Jaimie Foxx’s Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But while it would certainly be possible to recast the actors in MCU versions of their previous roles — as seen with J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: Far from Home — He Who Remains opens up an entirely wilder set of possibilities.
Amid its colossal number of storytelling options, the Multiverse offers an opportunity to cleverly address and reconcile Spidey’s previous movie incarnations. Other Marvel characters have undergone reboots, sometimes more than once, but Peter Parker’s high profile and status as a company flag-bearer make those variations stand out all the more. No Way Home promises to bring them together in a manner similar to Into the Spiderverse, with at least two villains from non-MCU movies coming into the MCU timeline.
With his numerous variants and a colossal Multiversal War in his history whose precise details remain vague, He Who Remains offers an ideal explanation for why these out-of-canon villains would be keen to remain in the prime MCU. The conflict began, he claims, as variants of himself began to cross over into different timelines and the more malevolent ones saw nothing but lands to conquer. And who’s to say another set of villains won’t set out to do the same thing.
The movie versions of both Doc Ock and Electro died at the end of their respective films. which could mean that the variants in No Way Home are aware that they were “supposed” to die, crossing over into the MCU’s reality in an effort to avoid that fate. How that puts them into conflict with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man remains to be seen, as does the ever-swirling rumor that versions of the hero played by Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire will make appearances as well.
Regardless, He Who Remains discussed the desperation and ambition that his nastier variants made war upon opposing realities. Both Doctor Octopus and Electro have the in-canon intelligence to grasp the implications of a Multiverse and even leap new realities. And in both cases, they would be doing so for the same reasons as Loki and Sylvie. With their fate sealed in their home realities, the Multiverse offers them the only escape possible, and if that brings them into conflict with Spider-Man, other villains or even additional variants of themselves, their survival instinct will cause them to act with greater cunning and ruthlessness than others.
Unlike He Who Remains, however, they may also have few ambitions beyond that, allowing them to enter Spidey’s Rogue’s Gallery unimpeded and set the stage for something like the Sinister Six. But the events of Loki have ensured not only that they can plausibly appear in the MCU, but that they can also have a strong reason to stay. No Way Home promised to be a different kind of Spider-Man movie from the beginning, and Loki’s He Who Remains may have just ensured it.
Created by Michael Waldron and directed by Kate Herron, Loki stars Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer, Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Tara Strong as Miss Minutes, Eugene Cordero as Casey, Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20 and Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie, with Richard E. Grant and Jack Veal. Season 1 is currently streaming on Disney+.
KEEP READING: A Loki Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Recaps, Theories and Rumors
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