A single Loki episode is all that’s left in the show’s first season. After the fantastic developments in episode 5, next Wednesday’s finale should deliver the final answers. We’ll get to see the last chapter of this new Loki’s redemption journey. And we’ll learn how the TV series will impact the upcoming MCU Phase 4 movies. But, most importantly, we’ll finally get to meet the real Loki villain.
That might seem like a huge spoiler for someone who hasn’t seen any of the five episodes launched on Disney+. Loki has delivered plenty of massive revelations so far that made us question various things in the Avengers universe. And it did it all without revealing who the show’s true villain is. But that shouldn’t be a spoiler to Marvel fans, and especially not to Loki fans. What constitutes a spoiler is a realization that the real baddie might be hiding in plain sight.
Stop reading right here if you want to avoid MCU spoilers and fan theories.
The fake Loki villain
We learned very early in Loki that Mobius (Owen Wilson) wanted Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) help to solve the TVA’s biggest problem. Fans of the MCU must have realized that Mobius would tell Loki that it was a different Loki variant tearing the Sacred Timeline to pieces.
We’ve come to learn that this Loki is a she. And her name is Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). We have also come to realize that Sylvie wasn’t quite the Marvel villain we thought we’d get. She is a Loki, so she’s more of an anti-hero that you’ll quickly root for. And just like the main Loki, she has experienced quite an emotional journey so far.
Just as we got more friendly with Sylvie, we learned the ugly truth about the dystopian Time Variance Authority (TVA). The organization sounds good on paper, but it’s hardly friendly. It lives by rigid rules and regulations, all to preserve the Sacred Timeline. What’s worse is that everyone working for the TVA is a former variant who wasn’t pruned. Somebody reset their minds, and that’s why they blindly serve the TVA.
The TVA leader is the obvious villain of Loki. That’s why he or she has not appeared so far.
The villain of our dreams
Theories online are rampant about the identity of Loki’s real villain. The best candidate for controlling the MCU’s TVA might be Kang the Conqueror, a big Marvel villain we’ve yet to see in the MCU. Marvel already told us that Jonathan Majors will play him. And we know Kang should appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. But there were rumors that said the actor will cameo in Loki.
Kang being the show’s main villain makes some sense, and the signs suggest that’s the case. First of all, Loki’s redemption journey and love story play out against the multiverse backdrop. Specifically, we see Loki learning about the Sacred Timeline and the multiverse. He also travels through time. And Kang is all about that time travel.
Then we have Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in the show, Kang’s love interest from the comics. And she seems rather protective of the current status quo. We’ve also just met Alioth, a Marvel villain who is associated with Kang in the comics.
It’s as if Marvel is intentionally giving us all these crumbs to follow. But don’t you dare go down that rabbit hole, especially after what happened with WandaVision.
This is the point where I’ll remind you that Marvel keeps things simple, no matter the brilliant obfuscations. Kevin Feige explained in the past that TV shows are stories that provide more context about characters and events. He said they wouldn’t be mandatory viewing to understand the movies.
Giving Kang anything more than a brief cameo in a post-credits scene would contradict that. Making Kang the real villain of Loki would only be a satisfying experience for comics readers. Not everyone else experiencing the MCU throughout the films and TV series even knows who he is yet.
Was it Loki all along?
That’s why we didn’t have Mephisto as the villain in WandaVision. It would have been too big a reveal for Disney+. Kang falls in the same category.
The other obvious candidate for the main villain role is a different Loki variant. The image above comes from Reddit. A user collated various scenes from the trailers that aren’t part of any of the five episodes released so far. We see King Loki in one of them, and he’s a great candidate for the real Loki villain.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Who better to have conquered the TVA than a Loki? Not to mention that we’ve seen so many Lokis so far and that the TVA’s most significant problem appears to be this particular breed of anti-hero/villain.
As episode 5 taught us, President Loki has nothing to do with the main Loki protagonist. So King Loki might also be a different version of the main Loki variant. And it might have been King Loki all along. He may have conquered and controlled the TVA, Alioth included.
That’s only a theory at this point. A different explanation that Redditors are throwing around is that King Loki is an unwritten future that Kang shows Loki in return for his allegiance. This is the kind of proposal that could lead to Loki betraying Sylvie. And that would break all our hearts. But this explanation would get us back to the previous unlikely scenario. Kang is the real villain, and the “Oz” who Loki and Sylvie are about to engage.
Whether the real Loki villain has been hiding in plain sight all along or not, episode 6 will tell all next Wednesday. Just make sure you keep your expectations in check.