Spoilers ahead for Loki. As the premiere episode of Loki confirmed, the Avengers’ time heist had unintended consequences we’re only beginning to understand. Most notably so far, it brought Loki to the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a mysterious organization that keeps tabs on time at the behest of the Time-Keepers. Though the God of Mischief is pretty skeptical of their power or importance — he fondly referred to them as “space lizards” — the Time-Keepers actually have a long-running history in the Marvel comics, and their inclusion in Loki might just be setting up the MCU’s next major, Thanos-level (or greater) conflict. Sure, that might seem like a tall order for a six-episode season — but as head writer Michael Waldron told Total Film, “our aim with the Loki series was for it to have wide-reaching ramifications across the MCU moving forward.” So really, any and every hint could be taken as serious foreshadowing.
Here is everything we know so far about the mysterious Time-Keepers, their role in Loki, and how they might play into future films.
Who Are The Time-Keepers?
Loki learns about the Time-Keepers as the viewers do — via delightful mid-century modern animation narrated by none other than the extremely suspicious clock Miss Minutes. Following a “multiversal war” in which “countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy,” she explains, the “all-knowing Time-Keepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline, the Sacred Timeline.” Per Screen Rant, the three Time-Keepers were created at “the literal end of time.”
So when Judge Renslayer says things like the Avengers meddling with time “was supposed to happen,” it seems that her guidance is being informed by the Time-Keepers’ omniscient understanding of time’s flow in the MCU. Of course, that idea of predetermination is enough to make you question every single thing that’s happened to the Avengers and co. so far — especially since it was revealed that the Time-Keepers didn’t actually create the TVA workers, but rather gathered unwitting variants to do their bidding.
As Screen Rant reports, the fact that these supposedly powerful beings need to employ a brainwashed workforce to guard them and carry out their work suggests that they “aren’t what they want people to believe.” And the events of Episode 4 in which Loki and Sylvie discover the Time-Keepers aren’t even behind those gold doors just adds to the mystery. So far, the only character we’ve met who is close enough to the Time-Keepers to possibly know the truth would be Judge Renslayer, who turned on Agent Mobius after he started asking too many questions and pruned Loki right before he was going to confess his feelings to Sylvie.
Will The Time-Keepers Appear In Loki?
So far, the Time-Keepers haven’t made their official debut in Loki — as Renslayer tells Loki when he suggests they chat “gods to gods,” they are “quite busy ... dictating the proper flow of time.” Behind her, the apparent impressions of the three Time-Keepers can be seen in the wall. However, with the variant situation escalating, it looks like they might be making their debut sooner rather than later — a June 29 post from the official Loki Instagram showed the three figures in the most detail that we’ve seen so far. And the account’s caption, which read, “The Time Keepers are monitoring every aspect of this timeline,” could hint at their imminent arrival following Loki and Sylvie’s realization that the heavily-guarded floating bodies in the administration building were just a ruse.
How Are They Connected To Kang The Conqueror?
Another reason we might see the Time-Keepers soon? They have a history with one of the MCU’s major upcoming villains, Kang the Conqueror, a time-traveling villain whose powers rival that of Thanos himself — partly because, as CBR reports, Kang can play with time as he pleases, altering “the timeline as much or as little as he wants” without need for an Infinity Stone. The Marvel site itself refers to Kang as “one of the most deadly and persistent supervillains of all time,” equipped with personal knowledge of future tech and weaponry — he’s literally from, as the Jonas Brothers might say, the year 3000.
Marvel also notes that Kang had a “working relationship” with the TVA, who are naturally preoccupied with his time-hopping tendencies. Loki’s Ravonna Renslayer could also be a hint to Kang’s imminent arrival — in the comics, as Screen Rant reports, the Conqueror courts a princess named Ravonna Renslayer.
Speaking during a virtual press conference, Gugu Mbatha-Raw revealed Loki would explore Renslayer’s origins, “predating some of the stuff in the comics.” She continued, “All that stuff is there, but there is also the opportunity to feel like I'm starting something fresh with the TVA that hasn't been seen before by fans on the screen ... there's so much potential for her in the future as well." So, viewers will have to wait and see how her storyline unfolds and if it intersects with Kang in the series.
Will Loki Feed Into Ant-Man?
Though Kang has only officially been announced to appear as the villain in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — Jonathan Majors will take on the role— there is every reason to believe he could show up sooner, especially if he really is as dangerous as the comics suggest. The build-up to Thanos, for example, was a slow burn that began with a brief appearance all the way back in the first Avengers.
What Are The Time-Twisters?
As CBR reports, the Time-Keepers’ first “iteration was actually flawed” and led to the formation of mischievous Time-Twisters. These beings, the site continues, “caused all number of problems throughout the Marvel timeline.” Even though they were eventually corrected, it is not yet clear whether the events of Loki happen before or after the Time-Twisters turned good — but either way, there is certainly some mischief afoot after Sylvie’s reveal that the TVA is made up of variants.
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