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‘Loki’ director explains the puzzling cliffhanger in the finale

Published Jul 21st, 2021 2:56PM EDT
Loki Cliffhanger
Image: Marvel Studios

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The Loki finale hit Disney+ a week ago, but we’re still not done uncovering buried within everything we saw. The last episode brings an excellent ending for the first season. We have a shocking cliffhanger at the end of Loki and a confirmation that a season 2 is on the way. We get to see the final piece in this new Loki redemption arc, with Tom Hiddleston delivering another memorable performance as the God of Mischief. More importantly, we also get to see the multiverse unravel as soon as the TV show’s villain appears.

But not everything is explained, and we still have lots of questions about the show. Loki season 2 will surely provide more answers. The upcoming MCU multiverse films will also help out establish the rules of the multiverse. But while we wait, Loki director Kate Herron has a few critical updates for Marvel fans. She told us the key to understanding the multiverse is hiding in plain sight in the finale. And she explained the first season’s puzzling cliffhanger. Mind you, there are plenty of spoilers to come so stop reading now until you’ve seen the full season.

We’ve already gone over Herron’s multiverse explanation. We don’t just see the Sacred Timeline branching off into multiple realities in Loki. It turns out this version of Kang (Jonathan Majors) found a way to isolate the primary MCU timeline from others. But the Loki finale allows the primary timeline to interact with other multiverses. This brings us, of course, to the shocking cliffhanger at the end of episode 6.

Loki cliffhanger explained

Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) might have fallen in love with Loki, but she’s also on a life-long mission. She thinks Kang’s version of events is just manipulation, and she wants to enact her well-deserved revenge. She sends Loki back to the TVA while she dispatches Kang. Sylvie realizes that what Kang said might be true, but it’s Loki who experiences an even more heartbreaking fate.

After witnessing Sylvie’s betrayal, Loki finds himself at a TVA that looks nothing like the organization he had just left. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) have no idea who he is. What’s worse, this TVA has a clear leader: It’s Kang, as we saw from that mean-looking statue.

Loki Episode 6
Kang (Jonathan Majors) explaining how he isolated the timeline as he ended the multiversal wars. Image source: Marvel Studios

Kate Herron comes to the rescue. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Loki director explains the whole thing. Sylvie thinks she’s just sending Loki back to the TVA, so they don’t have to fight over Kang’s fate. She’s completely unaware of what happens next:

So the way I see it in my head is that the TVA exists outside of space and time, but reality and everything as we understood it has completely changed in the last few minutes. With the multiverse branching, how do we know the TVA still exists in that way? We don’t know, and I suppose that’s a big question that will be answered as the show goes on. But in my head, the intention is that Sylvie thinks she’s sending him back to the TVA, but because of the way time and branches are crossing each other outside the window, Loki has unfortunately been sent back somewhere very different. So reality has shifted just by the nature of what He Who Remains said, and the idea is that he’s in this alternate TVA now.

That’s how we end up with the great cliffhanger in Loki.

Kang’s slightly different tech

It’s evident that Sylvie thinks she’s sending Loki back to the TVA they both know. She’s been fighting the agency for decades, but she couldn’t send him to a different version of the TVA even if she wanted to. After all, Sylvie finds out about Kang’s master plan for the Sacred Timeline moments before that farewell kiss with Loki. She doesn’t have alternate TVA addresses on hand.

Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) in Marvel’s Loki. Image source: Marvel Studios

In the same interview, Herron also explained the tech Kang uses. She focused on his TemPad that also works as a Time Twister. Kang’s TemPad is a more advanced version of the TemPad TVA agents have. Herron explains:

I love weaponry and technology so I’m just like, “The fun thing with this is…” So basically, it’s meant to be a futuristic version of the TVA tech. So that was the fun idea of it. When He Who Remains tells his story about his other variants meeting, you see bits of the TVA technology. So our idea was that it does both things. With the TVA technology, you see that the Time Twister hooks into the TemPad, but it’s these two separate, clunky things. But whereas with He Who Remains, he has more advanced technology than the TVA So it has both functions, basically, which we see him use. The difference is that he’s in control of the twist; it’s twisting him. Whereas when we see the TVA use the Time Twister, it’s with a Time Collar as they’re controlling a prisoner.

Sylvie might have no problem using a normal TemPad without even looking at it. But what if she made a mistake handling a slightly different device she thought she knew? That could lead to that alternate TVA in the Loki cliffhanger.

It’s the multiverse, baby!

There’s a huge caveat in all of this. Herron is no longer involved with Loki. She won’t be a part of season 2, so she might not be privy to Marvel’s plans. There could be other explanations for the Loki cliffhanger. But all of them will involve the multiverse. One way or another, Loki ended up in a different timeline. How will he deal with that? We won’t find out until season 2.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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