‘Loki’: What It Means That All the TVA Folks Are Variants

This reveal might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually a real doozie

loki reveals all the tva guys are variants
Marvel Studios

(This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s “Loki” through the third episode)

If you’re the sort of person, like I am, who likes to look through old Marvel comics to try to figure out what’s going to happen next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you should probably give up on that quest for the remaining three episodes of “Loki.”

That’s because this week’s new episode, the third of six, gave us an extremely important piece of new information about the Time Variance Authority — or more specifically about the people who work there. We’d been told that these folks were all created for the purpose of serving the TVA. The word now is the opposite: these were real human variants, people like Loki who diverged from their planned path too much, who previously had real lives.

This word comes from Lady Loki, or Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), and so some skepticism is warranted. This topic came up late in the episode, when Sylvie was telling protagonist Loki (Tom Hiddleston) about how she had used Hunter C-20’s (Sasha Lane) memories to try to manipulate her. Memories from her life on Earth before she joined the TVA. The confirmation, as far as I’m concerned, came a half-hour earlier when the episode began — we literally saw her pulling the trick she was describing.

This is hugely significant because this idea runs completely counter to everything we know about the TVA in the comics. And that means we can’t trust the source material at all, at least not with regards to the TVA. Obviously, on a show about Loki everything is rarely going to be what it seems — and the MCU never really adapts any comic book stories anyway. And the Time-Keepers, who we have still not seen, have had more than a whiff of some kind of “Wizard of Oz” thing going on with them.

But this particular item is much more than a whiff of something. This is the show telling us that one of the most fundamental aspects of the TVA is not what anybody thought it was. Having the TVA people be actual human beings is such a major change from the comics that clearly showrunner Michael Waldron and co. are doing something with the TVA that is utterly unlike anything that the comics ever did.

What that thing is, however, is not something we know just yet. We have our suspicions — our favorite theory is that Richard E. Grant is playing an older version of the protagonist Loki, and that he is secretly responsible for the creation of the TVA, and that there are no Time-Keepers at all.

We could make endless guesses here about what’s gonna happen on the rest of the episodes of “Loki,” but we’ll save that for another time. For now, I’m more concerned with what isn’t going to happen: anything involving the TVA in the comics.

On the plus side, though, at least now we know the real reason why Mr. Mobius (Owen Wilson) likes jetskis.


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