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    "Loki" Just Introduced The Time Variance Authority To The MCU, And Here's What That Means

    Like Loki, we are burdened with glorious purpose to understand the TVA.

    After much anticipation, Marvel's Loki debuted last night on Disney+, and all I can say is DAMN.

    Marvel Studios

    Obviously, ๐Ÿšจ HUGE SPOILER WARNINGย ๐Ÿšจย for Episode 1 of Loki. Please do not proceed if you don't wanna read it. Go watch and come back later!

    It was great to see Loki scheming (and alive) again, and Episode 1 introduced the newest intergalactic superpower in the MCU.

    Thanos
    Marvel Studios

    This guy? Old hat.

    Move over, Infinity Stones. Say hello to the Time Variance Authority, aka the TVA.

    Cityscape of the TVA
    Disney+

    Now, just what the heck is the TVA?? Thankfully the episode featured a voiceover from the adorable and informative Miss Minutes.

    Disney+

    Here's exactly what she said:

    "Long ago, there was a vast, multiversal war. Countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy, nearly resulting in the total destruction of, well, everything. But then the all-knowing Time-Keepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline, the Sacred Timeline. Now, the Time-Keepers protect and preserve the proper flow of time for everyone and everything. But sometimes, people like you veer off the path the Time-Keepers created. We call those Variants. Maybe you started an uprising or were just late for work. Whatever it was, stepping off your path created a nexus event, which, left unchecked, could branch off into madness, leading to another multiversal war. But, don't worry, to make sure that doesn't happen, the Time-Keepers created the TVA and all its incredible workers. The TVA has stepped in to fix your mistake and set time back on its predetermined path. Now that your actions have left you without a place on the timeline, you must stand trial for your offenses."ย 

    *It feels important to note that this introduction contains the words "multiverse" and "madness," and that the title of an upcoming MCU film is literally Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Do with this information what you will.

    In case you don't want to read the giant block of text I just put in front of your face, let's summarize.

    Disney+

    โ€“ The TVA is an agency that oversees the flow of time and was created by the Time-Keepers (those three up there).

    โ€“ The Time-Keepers have set a predetermined path for time to follow, and the TVA's job is to correct anything that diverges from that path.ย 

    โ€“ Any person who diverges from the predetermined path (like Loki did by escaping with the Tesseract in Endgame) is called a Variant.

    โ€“ The Time-Keepers created the TVA and everybody who works there, which means that, despite their appearance, the employees we met in this episode are not human beings.

    This is a pretty close explanation to what the comics say about the TVA: Their job is to avoid the entanglement of the multiverse.

    An animated sign that says "Danger: Multiverse"
    Disney+

    One notable difference is that in the comics, most of the TVA employees are clones, which doesn't seem to be the case in the MCU. There are lots of other smaller connections, but we don't know how important they will be just yet.

    Here's what Michael Waldron, the head writer of Loki, had to say about the TVA:

    "The Time Variance Authority is an organization that literally manages and polices all of time, [so] we had to define what time is to them and what time is in the MCU. How does it move? What is time travel? How does it operate? And so, we had to essentially create an institutional knowledge among the writer's room. A foundation of what constitutes a broken time law and what doesn't โ€” which is about Loki breaking a time law โ€” and then you have to move all that stuff as far to the background as humanly possible, because you don't want the audience focusing on the rules of time travel during your show.โ€

    Throughout Episode 1 we learned a few important details about the TVA that have, frankly, MASSIVE implications for the past and future of the MCU.

    Disney+

    The first is that, according to the Time-Keepers, Loki taking the Tesseract and escaping in 2012 constitutes a time crime, but the Avengers' Time Heist and subsequent resurrection of all their friends was "supposed to happen."

    Marvel Studios

    Another big reveal was that the Infinity Stones, y'know, the most powerful artifacts in the universe that cost the lives of several Avengers, are actually not that impressive.

    Disney+

    Not only does the Tesseract have no power in the TVA, but there are MULTIPLES of every Infinity Stone โ€” except for the Soul Stone (HM) โ€” lying around, being used as paperweights.

    Also huge: the TVA can travel to any point in time, which we saw when Mobius and the TVA Minutemen travelled to the 16th and 19th centuries.

    Disney+

    Lastly, the TVA keeps a record of everything that happens in every timeline, which is how they were able to show Loki events from his past and what the rest of his life looks like in the Sacred Timeline.

    Disney+

    This led to the episode's most emotional scene, in which Loki saw the death of his parents Frigga and Odin, his reconciliation with Thor, and his own gruesome death at the hands of Thanos.

    OK, now let's consider what all this new information means, shall we?

    Disney+

    โ€“ The TVA just sat back and watched the Avengers bust their butts fighting Thanos, losing to Thanos, and then bringing everyone back. Apparently that was all part of the "predetermined path" of time.ย 

    โ€“ The multiverse officially exists, cool cool cool cool cool.

    โ€“ The Infinity Stones and Thanos are nowhere near as powerful as the Time-Keepers.

    โ€“ The TVA has gotten involved at many different points throughout history to undo any "nexus events."

    โ€“ Every single thing that has happened in the MCU so far was predetermined by the Time-Keepers.

    Welp. I'm certainly feeling overwhelmed and anxious and excited for what's to come.

    Adam Hester / Getty Images

    ^^ Me, thinking that the MCU couldn't possibly top itself after Endgame. What a fool I was.

    Let's see what else we learn about the TVA in Episode 2! See ya then.

    Marvel Studios

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