Mischief Managed

Who is the villain in the Loki finale? Episode 6, explained [Spoilers!]

Everything you need to know about Loki’s game-changing season finale — and Season 2.

Loki Season 1 is over and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same. Here’s the Loki ending explained, and everything else you need to know.

The series’ long-awaited Season 1 finale dropped on Disney+ this morning, and unlike WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finales, it doesn’t disappoint. Instead, Loki Episode 6 gives Marvel fans everywhere the thing they’ve been waiting nearly a year for — a surprise that manages to follow through on all of the comic book Easter eggs sprinkled throughout Loki’s first five episodes and wrap up many of the season’s ongoing character arcs.

The episode fundamentally changes the entire landscape of the MCU in a way that it hasn’t been since Thanos snapped his fingers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. To put it another way: Phase Four of the MCU has officially begun — and there’s no turning back now.

Major spoilers for Loki Episode 6 ahead.

Loki Episode 6: He Who Remains (aka, Kang the Conqueror?)

Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in Loki Episode 6.Marvel Studios

Picking up immediately where Loki Episode 5 left off, Episode 6 (titled “For All Time. Always.”) sees Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) reach the mysterious Citadel at the End of Time that was teased for the first time last week. Once there, the two Loki variants finally come face-to-face with the Man Behind the Curtain — the same one responsible for all the Time Variance Authority’s many lies and misdeeds.

In a stunning turn, the character is played by none other than Jonathan Majors, who late last year was officially cast as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains in Loki Episode 6.Marvel Studios

The only catch is that Majors isn’t playing Kang the Conqueror in Loki Episode 6. Well, not exactly, at least.

While it’s safe to assume that he’s playing a version of Kang (or Nathaniel Richards, to go by his birth name), the actual name “Kang” is never uttered out loud at any point throughout the episode — though Majors does refer to himself as a “conqueror” at one point.

Instead, Majors appears in Loki Episode 6 as He Who Remains, a Kang variant who created the TVA and has been using the organization to keep the multiverse from breaking into all-out war.

“Without me, without the TVA, everything burns,” he says.

Jonathan Majors in Loki Episode 6

“What are you so afraid of?” “Me.”Marvel Studios

In the comics, He Who Remains is the final director of the TVA. Much like he does in Loki Episode 6, he resides in the Citadel at the End of Time and is responsible for the creation of beings known as the Time-Twisters. Created in order to teach and inform the inhabitants of a future universe, the Time-Twisters actually began going back in time and destroying the current universe.

Thor and Jane Foster eventually informed He Who Remains of his mistake, which resulted in him aborting their creation in favor of a better version of them known as — wait for it — the Time Keepers. At that point, two divergent realities were created: one in which the Time-Twisters were born and the Time Keepers weren’t, and one where it was the other way around.

Loki’s version of He Who Remains is similar in a few ways to his comic book counterpart — primarily in regards to his role as the “creator” of the Time Keepers (and the Time Variance Authority in general). However, it’s revealed in Loki that the Time Keepers never actually existed and were merely fictional beings made up by He Who Remains.

Kang the Conqueror in the comics.Marvel Comics

The character as a whole, though, has essentially been repurposed for the MCU — as Marvel Studios has done a number of times before in previous films and shows.

In this instance, it’s revealed that He Who Remains is actually a Kang variant who harnessed and used the power of Alioth (seen in Loki Episode 5) to bring an end to the Multiversal War that nearly destroyed all of reality, a concept first mentioned in Loki Episode 1’s TVA ad.

“I’ve been dubbed many names by many people. A ruler, a conqueror, He Who Remains, a jerk. But it’s not as simple as a name,” the character teases early on in the episode.

“If you think I’m evil, well, just wait till you meet my variants.”

It’s also revealed that the Multiversal War itself was actually the result of Kang variants from different realities going to war with each other after he discovered the multiverse in the 31st century.

​​“Not every version of me was so… so pure of heart,” He Who Remains explains to Loki and Sylvie. “To some of us, new worlds meant only one thing: new lands to be conquered. The peace between realities erupted into all-out war.”

Loki finale: A Multiverse of Madness

No turning back now.Marvel Studios

Jonathan Majors’ appearance in Loki Episode 6 serves two key purposes: it confirms and expands upon the multiversal history of the MCU first hinted at in Loki Episode 1 and sets up Kang to be a present and formidable figure in the MCU moving forward.

As He Who Remains details extensively in Loki Episode 6, he’s the only thing standing in the way of other Kang variants being created, breaking loose, and sending the multiverse into chaos again. That’s a good thing, he argues, even if it means his methods of controlling the multiverse aren’t easy to accept or morally right.

“You came to kill the devil, right? Well, guess what? I keep you safe,” he says. “And if you think I’m evil, well, just wait till you meet my variants.”

“I’ll see you soon.”Marvel Studios

Of course, He Who Remains’ warnings go unheeded. After offering to let Sylvie and Loki take over the TVA in his place, He Who Remains watches passively as the two variants break out into a fight in his office. Loki argues for the continued existence of both He Who Remains and the TVA — completing his season-long arc from selfish narcissist to semi-selfless warrior.

Sylvie, however, can’t let go of her desire for revenge against He Who Remains and the TVA. After kissing Loki for the first time, Sylvie uses He Who Remains’ TemPad to send Loki away from the Citadel through a time portal. Without Loki to stop her, she plunges her sword into He Who Remains’ chest. The character dies smiling, and with his last breath, promises Sylvie, “I’ll see you soon.”

Sylvie collapses onto the floor, empty and unfulfilled, and outside the Citadel at the End of Time, an endless amount of new branch realities begin to form. It’s the creation of a new multiverse we’re witnessing, and one that doesn’t seem particularly stable (call it a Multiverse of Madness, if you will).

It doesn’t take long for He Who Remains’ parting promise to come to fruition either.

Loki Season 2 confirmed!

A very different kind of ruler.Marvel Studios

In its final minutes, Loki Episode 6 sees Hiddleston’s God of Mischief returned to the TVA. Desperate and fearful of the havoc that will come as a result of He Who Remains’ death, he searches the TVA for Mobius (Owen Wilson). But when he finally finds his newfound ally, Mobius doesn’t recognize him.

Panicked and confused, Loki begins looking all around him for any form of an answer and finds one just a few feet away. As terror dawns on Loki’s face, the episode cuts to reveal what he’s looking at — a single statue of Kang the Conqueror where the TVA’s usual Time Keepers statues would be. While Loki Episode 6 leaves a lot up to interpretation, the implication seems to be that Sylvie sent Loki into one of the new branch realities instead of his original timeline, one where Kang rules the TVA much more directly.

The episode cuts to black from there, but in its sole post-credits stinger, confirms that Loki will return for a second season.

Something to look forward to.Marvel Studios

It’s an announcement that had already been hinted at a few times by Marvel Studios execs in the past, but based on everything that happens in Loki Episode 6, it’s clear that there will be plenty of new material for the Disney+ series to work with when it returns for Season 2.

Something tells us we won’t have to wait for Loki Season 2 to see Jonathan Majors’ Kang again though. In fact, if there’s one thing that the end of Loki Episode 6 seems to make explicitly clear, it’s that not only is Kang finally here, but we’re about to start seeing a whole lot more of him.

See you soon, indeed.

Loki is streaming now on Disney+.