The Multiverse is central to the MCU’s Phase 4 plans, and Loki has finally explained how it will play out. Marvel Studios has been building up the theme of the Multiverse for years now. One scene in Thor: The Dark World saw Erik Selvig, the astrophysicist whose mind had been scarred after he was possessed by Loki for a time, jot notes on a chalkboard in which he discussed a Multiversal event called the Convergence. The scene is mostly remembered for its Stan Lee cameo, but Selvig’s notes included references to the Nexus of All Realities. In the comics, this is a location in the Florida Everglades where alternate dimensions can intersect.
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But the Multiverse really moved to the forefront in Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange director Scott Derickson shared a tweet confirming his version of the Multiverse was inspired by Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #21, which contained a feature by Roy Thomas, R.J.M. Lofficier, and Lee Weeks explaining the Multiverse ahead of a major story. The feature envisioned Earth at the center of an infinite ocean; alternate timelines are just one swim-stroke removed, but the further you go from the center, the more wild and wacky things become, as the laws of nature changed. These are the dimensions Doctor Strange’s astral form was blasted through in the “Magical Mystery Tour” scene, one of which is Dormammu’s Dark Dimension.
But what will the Multiverse mean in Phase 4, and how will things play out? The first episode of the Loki series on Disney+ begins to lay out the answers but raises many more questions.
The Origin Of The First Multiverse
Loki‘s premiere featured an entertaining animated lecture by Miss Minutes, a smart way of explaining the Multiverse to viewers, albeit one skewed through the lens of the TVA’s philosophy, meaning it has to be carefully questioned. According to Miss Minutes, the timeline is naturally chaotic. Any moment of decision has the power to create what she calls a nexus, a branching of the timelines in which alternate realities are created. The Multiverse is so dynamic she suggests a branch could be created by someone simply being late for work.
Unfortunately, some of the branched timelines became aware of one another, and the result was a Multiversal war that threatened to destroy all of creation. Miss Minutes suggests this conflict was brought to an end when three powerful beings, known as the Time Keepers, rose to power and reorganized the timeline according to their will. It’s reasonable to assume Miss Minutes was oversimplifying, and the Time Keepers are actually the winners of that Multiversal war, imposing their will upon all creation. They have established the TVA in order to enforce this will, destroying branched timelines so as to prevent a new Multiverse from developing.
A New Multiverse Is Coming Regardless
And yet, for all that’s the case, we know a new Multiverse is coming. In August, Marvel Studios will launch a new What If..? animated series that explores alternate timelines where things worked out slightly differently; worlds where Peggy Carter became a Super-Soldier rather than Steve Rogers, where T’Challa was kidnapped as a child instead of Peter Quill, and where the Winter Soldier finds himself confronted by a zombie Captain America. Tie-in merchandise has suggested some of them will even team up as the “Guardians of the Multiverse,” traveling between dimensions to right wrongs. A couple of months later, in December, Spider-Man: No Way Home will feature Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, transported from his timeline into the MCU, and there are strong reports the movie will see multiple iterations of Spider-Man unite. And finally, in March 2022, everything the TVA fears seems destined to come to pass in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It’s reasonable to assume this means the TVA will fail or fall. Loki may well be the story of that how happens, explaining why this show is of real significance to the entire Multiverse even though it stars a variant of the Trickster God rather than the real deal. With the TVA weakened or even destroyed, reality will swiftly revert to its natural state, with the creation of innumerable branching timelines. It’s important to remember the TVA exists outside of time, meaning these unpoliced branches would emerge throughout history. A new Multiverse would arise with incredible speed.
Scarlet Witch’s Role In The Multiverse
All this leads us to Scarlet Witch, whose precise role in the nascent Multiverse is still uncertain. WandaVision featured an intriguing, and still mostly unexplained, commercial that alluded to Wanda Maximoff as some sort of nexus being, whose power, Chaos Magic, allows for reality to be rewritten at will, presumably with the spontaneous creation of new timelines. Elizabeth Olsen recently revealed Scarlet Witch would gain new powers ahead of Doctor Strange 2, including the ability to actually travel throughout the Multiverse. “[Wanda] has a few fun powers,” she observed. “You know, telekinesis, she can travel between universes…” She broke off, presumably realizing she’d said more than she was supposed to. Wanda has likely learned how to do this through reading the Darkhold, a disturbing possibility given that – in the comics – the Darkhold was created by an Elder God, and every enchantment contained within its pages is cursed.
The current status quo, a single prime timeline controlled by the Time Keepers and their agents, the TVA, may be artificial – but at least it is ordered. The downfall of the TVA, and the emergence of a new Multiverse, would undoubtedly lead to other forces emerging that intend to take advantage of the chaos. That would fit with the emergence of powerful Multiversal and time-traveling threats throughout Phase 4, beings and entities who had presumably previously been restricted; reportedly Shuma-Gorath in Doctor Strange 2, and Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantamania. The new Multiverse would mean new challenges and new enemies, foes who dwarf Thanos with their power. It’s going to be thrilling to see these possibilities realized, and Loki is a crucial step in that direction.
More: Loki: Every MCU Easter Egg In Episode 1
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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