Kate Herron will not return for the second season of Marvel’s Loki series , but the director knows all of the first season’s secrets. After the finale aired two weeks ago, Herron provided answers to a few of our most burning questions. Herron told fans that the key to understanding the multiverse is hiding in plain sight. She also went ahead and explained the cliffhanger at the end of season 1. But Herron doesn’t have all the answers after Loki. The director just gave fans a strange explanation for the most puzzling Avengers: Endgame scene — the dance between Steve and Peggy at the end of Loki. Mind you, Loki multiverse spoilers follow below.
Understanding the Steve-Peggy timeline after Marvel’s Loki series
After the first few Loki episodes, I wondered whether Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) were reunited precisely thanks to the TVA’s actions. Initially, I thought that Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) might be responsible for the Steve-Peggy alternate reality after Endgame.
That’s the timeline the TVA either allowed to exist at the end of Endgame, or the one it couldn’t stop. We know that Captain America grew old and lived happily ever after with Peggy. Well, we’re assuming it’s her, but who really knows after Loki? If that’s true, then the timeline branch that Steve spawned passed the red line, the point of no return. Once a branch crosses that threshold, you can’t reset or prune it.
The Loki finale provided an actual explanation for the Steve-Peggy dance. It’s still Sylvie who could be primarily responsible. Once Kang (Jonathan Majors) relinquishes control, the Sacred Timeline starts branching out.
We, the audience, see all that from the castle. We’re right there with Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Sylvie, and Kang when it happens. All those branches appear at the same time in the past, present, and future. We’re all out of time in that citadel, so chronology makes no difference. That’s when the Steve-Peggy reality might have appeared. And the TVA was out of commission long enough to allow that timeline to exist.
That’s the explanation that makes the most sense so far. But it’s also speculation. No wonder Marvel has to have all those meetings about the multiverse rules.
Herron’s explanation for the Steve-Peggy Nexus event
The Loki director has two possible answers for the Steve-Peggy dance, and both of them are lacking. Here’s what she had to say about the Endgame finale:
People are going to be annoyed because it’s not a definitive answer, but also I can only really answer as a fan, right? My theory is this: It comes down to if you’re an optimist or a pessimist. If you’re an optimist, maybe it was okay [for] them living that way, and the branch wasn’t so severe that it didn’t need to be pruned, and that meant that they could stay together. Maybe the romantics can say somehow that managed to exist. And then the pessimists [think], ‘They probably got pruned. [Laughs.]
The optimistic explanation is plausible
The optimistic explanation makes the most sense. The TVA could have allowed the Steve-Peggy branch to exist so that Rogers could manufacture a new shield and pass it to the new Captain America. But that goes against everything the “Good Kang” stands for in the Loki finale. He’s been very clear about why he doesn’t let other branches exist. Nexus events can’t exist. That’s how you minimize the risk of multiversal war.
Allowing the Steve-Peggy branch means having to police that reality and prevent other Nexus events within it. Then again, if the Sacred Timeline contains multiple reality threads, so the TVA has been tending to multiple timelines all along.
Herron did speculate that Steve and Peggy might be living in an alternate reality:
Like if it’s alternate, it would imply that it’s running alongside our main timeline, so yeah. I don’t want to definitively say that they were pruned, but by our logic in the TVA, probably. But maybe where there’s a will there’s a way, and they weren’t too disruptive and managed to live happily ever after.
The pessimistic explanation makes no sense at all
The TVA intervenes the moment a Nexus event appears, pruning and resetting everything. Loki is one example. We later learn about the red lines and the limited time to act.
Steve did not decide to stay with Peggy on a whim in Endgame. His mind was made up before he left. He took “all the stupid” with him on his mission to return the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their rightful places. Bucky (Sebastian Stan) knew all that when it happened.
If the TVA were to intervene, they’d do it before Steve even left the devastated Avengers compound. Not after he actually stayed with Peggy.
More importantly, Herron’s pessimistic answer doesn’t stand a chance when you realize that Steve got old in that reality where he retired. He might not have told us at the end of Endgame that he married Peggy. But he was allowed to grow old somewhere. So Steve and Peggy can’t have been pruned, as the Loki director says.
What if the Steve who gives Sam (Anthony Mackie) the shield isn’t our Steve Rogers? We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully, Herron or someone at Marvel will get us better answers soon.