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Loki/Disney+

Why ‘Loki’ fans think Kang the Conquerer will appear in the show

This vintage Marvel Comics villain could explain some of the big twists in episode 4.

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published Jul 1, 2021   Updated Jul 1, 2021, 11:17 am CDT

Marvel‘s love of surprise cameos has trained viewers to expect the unexpected. With WandaVision, many MCU fans theorized that Mephisto or Reed Richards would play an unannounced role. With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, similar rumors swirled about a secret character that turned out to be Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing Contessa Valentina. It’s no surprise that Loki is inspiring similar speculation, with many fans wondering if the longtime Marvel comics villain Kang the Conqueror will appear in the final two episodes. (Warning: This post includes spoilers up to Loki episode 4.)

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This fan theory didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Kang is Marvel’s biggest time travel villain, and Loki is all about time travel. It arguably feels like a Kang storyline already, with characters vying for control over variant timelines. Plus, Kang has a close connection with one of the show’s lead characters, Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

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In earlier episodes, we were slightly puzzled by Ravonna’s role as the boss of the Time Variance Authority, because it bore no resemblance to Ravonna’s characterization in the comics: A futuristic sci-fi princess who was introduced as Kang’s love interest. But episode 4 revealed two major twists about how the TVA works. First of all, the supposedly godlike Time-Keepers are fake, suggesting that the TVA is masterminded by someone else. And secondly, everyone at the TVA is a former variant who had their memories wiped. Ravonna is the only person who seems to know this already, covering up evidence of another TVA agent regaining some of her old memories—and trying to prevent Mobius from learning the truth.

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Unlike WandaVision, where the idea of a Mephisto or Reed Richards cameo had very little support in the text, Loki‘s fourth episode literally sets up the idea of an unseen villain working behind the scenes. If the Time-Keepers aren’t real, then who is really in charge of the TVA? Kang is an obvious answer, particularly considering the Ravonna connection. And the episode ends with Loki arriving in something that might well be Temporal Limbo, a realm ruled by Immortus—Kang’s future self.

The MCU has already cast its version of Kang, with Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors set to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in 2023. Given the MCU’s recent emphasis on time travel and alternate universes, it would make sense for Kang to appear in Loki, introducing the concept of the TVA and branching timelines before receiving a bigger role in the movies.

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At the same time, the idea of a Kang-related twist invites the same criticism as WandaVision‘s Mephisto theory: Does it really make emotional sense for the story? While many Marvel fans are keen to see this kind of comic book tie-in (and keen to have their theories proven right), it’s not very narratively satisfying to introduce a brand new villain in the final act. From a storytelling perspective, it makes more sense to focus on the conflict between the show’s lead characters, leaving someone like Kang to appear in a post-credits scene—kind of like how Loki was the main villain in The Avengers, but the post-credits scene revealed that Thanos was secretly pulling the strings offstage.

More on Loki

How Loki became a genderfluid icon in Marvel fandom
Marvel’s ‘Loki’ is an excellent showcase for Tom Hiddleston
What happened to Loki after ‘Avengers: Endgame?’

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*First Published: Jul 1, 2021, 7:22 am CDT