The ‘Loki’ cliff-hanger finale spells disaster for future Marvel movies. Here’s how it may affect films like ‘Doctor Strange 2’ and ‘Thor 4’

Sylvie and Loki face off on Loki season one finale
Sylvie and Loki are at odds in the ‘Loki’ season one finale. Their inability to come to an agreement puts the Sacred timeline in jeopardy. Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios
  • Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for “Loki.”
  • The season-one finale ends with Loki horrified to find himself in an alternate version of the TVA.
  • Don’t be surprised if we start seeing alternate universes in upcoming Marvel movies.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The “Loki” finale just turned the Marvel Cinematic Universe upside down and it may never be the same.

The “sacred timeline” the Time Variance Authority (TVA) swore to protect has been compromised and the show ended with over 60 alternate realities starting to branch off from the main one we’ve followed since the MCU began.

A visibly shaken Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was horrified to find he landed in some alternate TVA that’s likely in a completely different universe, one that may not be overseen by a benevolent ruler.

If you were left wondering what was going on at the end of episode six, let’s unpack and process everything together.

‘Loki’ more than delivered in its finale with the introduction of the next big Marvel villain: Kang the Conquerer

Kang the conquerer Loki season one finale
We need to appreciate for a moment that ‘Loki’ delivered in a way that the two previous Disney+ Marvel shows let us down a bit by giving us a real, major MCU character who will affect more films down the line. Marvel Studios

After previous letdowns on “WandaVision” to reveal Doctor Strange, an X-Men, or that pesky Mephisto, we were getting nervous that “Loki” was going to drop the ball on the finale and not reveal any new, big character. Worse? We were starting to fear that the big bad villain of “Loki” would be a variant Loki (because the God of Mischief’s biggest enemy is usually himself).

Instead, the show introduced someone who many fans were hoping to meet: Marvel villain Kang the Conquerer. (You can read more about him here.)

Interestingly enough, Kang wasn’t exactly the villain we thought he’d be.

He was pretty chill. We’d even go so far as to say that the version of Kang we met was kind of a good guy. He was really just the Willy Wonka of the MCU, looking for a worthy successor to take over a very important role.

When Loki and Sylvie discovered Kang, he claimed to be the best version of his more demon-like variants. Kang warned that if he was killed, the “sacred timeline” would be exposed and in danger of collapsing from his more dangerous variants.

He cautioned that variants from other timelines would start a multiversal war, the very thing that Miss Minutes warned about on the series premiere of “Loki.”

Miss Minutes warns about the dangers of a Multiversal war on the pilot episode of 'Loki.'
Miss Minutes warns about the dangers of a Multiversal war on the pilot episode of ‘Loki.’ Marvel Studios

Kang gave Sylvie and Loki two options: Take over and rule the TVA together as benevolent leaders or kill him and let chaos ensue.

Though Loki chose to believe Kang, Sylvie couldn’t see past the vengeance she sought her entire life. She thought it was too risky to believe Kang. She also thought Loki greedily wanted the throne for himself, despite him telling her otherwise.

In a twist, Sylvie betrayed her friend.

After Loki said he didn’t want to hurt Sylvie, she leaned in and kissed him.

Sylvie betrays Loki on the finale.
Sylvie did our guy, Loki, wrong here and she knows it. Marvel Studios

Though she seemed to mean it, she used the kiss as a tactic for him to let his guard down. Immediately afterward, Sylvie pushed Loki through a portal and back into the TVA. Though she looked like she may have slightly regretted her choice in tossing Loki aside, Sylvie then killed Kang.

As Kang cautioned, the sacred timeline quickly began branching off.

Loki makes a horrifying discovery

Loki is defeated on the season finale
Loki is in disbelief and crushed after being vulnerable. Marvel Studios

As we returned to the TVA, a rather emotionally shattered Loki gathered the strength to search for his friend Mobius only to find further heartbreak.

As Loki goes on about the dangers of Kang variants, he realizes that Mobius doesn’t recognize him at all. Instead, Mobius asks who Loki is, referring to him as a TVA analyst.

A horrified Loki slowly starts to look around. He then notices that the three large Time Keeper statues at the TVA have been replaced by one towering statue of another version of Kang. Loki shudders as he realizes he’s likely in an alternate branched reality that’s ruled by one of the more dangerous versions of Kang he was warned about.

Loki season one finale shows Tom Hiddleston in shock.
Loki realizes he’s not at the version of the TVA facility he was first brought to on the series premiere. Marvel Studios

The finale then ends.

Why this is huge for Marvel movies moving forward

Kang on Loki
Kang gives a visual representation of what to expect moving forward in the MCU now that we’ll likely having warring realities. Marvel Studios

Sylvie’s choice to kill Kang is about to have ripple effects through future Marvel movies and maybe shows. It’s probably bad news for protagonists of other MCU films, but exciting news for fans.

The moment we saw that Loki was likely in an alternate reality (a la “Planet of the Apes”) it made us wonder whether or not we’ll see Marvel movies moving forward in alternate realities or timelines. Or, maybe we’ll see the multiverse start to collapse in real-time in some of the upcoming Marvel movies.

A perfect example of an entire movie premise that may be affected by the “Loki” finale is “Thor: Love and Thunder.” In that film, it’s been revealed that Jane Foster (Thor’s love interest) will become a version of Thor. What if this version of Jane is a variant of Thor in an alternate timeline or all of the next “Thor” movie takes place in another universe with a “what if” alternate Thor?

Image
We’re probably getting Jane Foster’s version of Thor because Sylvie chose chaos in the ‘Loki’ finale. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Now that the multiverse appears to be broken it seems like anything could happen.

The scenario we’re most excited to see play out would be in this December’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Spider man far from home tom holland
Tom Holland as Spider-Man in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home.’ Sony Pictures Entertainment

Reports have signaled we could see up to three different versions of Spider-Man in that film. Why? Well, we now know it could be because multiple universes are competing and fighting with one another to be the new “sacred timeline.” We already know Jamie Foxx is confirmed to return as Electro in the sequel and he’s from the Spider-Man movies starring Andrew Garfield.

Yeah, things are probably about to get really wild in the MCU!

Kang said if he was killed, we’d be heading towards another multiversal war and we expect that that’s why the Eternals will finally be coming out of hiding in “Eternals” this fall. The Gods who have been hiding out on Earth for thousands of years in the shadows may finally recognize that they need to fight to save the planet they’re living on if they want to continue to exist.

(Reminder – Tony Stark already sacrificed himself to save the universe from Thanos in “Endgame,” so any help would be great on the superhero front.)

Marvel eternals
Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ is set for release in November 2021, starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, and more. Will they be fighting a version of Kang to save the sacred timeline? Marvel Studios

We’re not even sure if this means that “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings,” coming in September, takes place in the same MCU timeline we’ve been following or if he’ll be introduced in a branched reality since the Abomination (a Hulk villain) will be returning in some capacity.

Of course, for Doctor Strange, this means he’ll likely be left picking up the pieces and trying to restore order across the vast multiverse as well in March 2022’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (That title doesn’t seem so strange anymore, does it?)

Doctor Strange 2
The Sorcerer Supreme is never getting a break. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Now, not only does Strange have the all-powerful Wanda Maximoff who can distort and bend reality to be concerned with, but he also needs to worry about multiple variants of Kang who may all be declaring war on one another. As was hinted on the “Loki” premiere, things are about to descend into madness.

For Strange and the other Avengers, all of reality is at stake moving forward in the MCU.