Alright, Marvel fans, let’s talk about that ancient multiversal war.
Episode 1 of Marvel’s Loki packs a lot of exposition and time travel jargon into its opening few minutes. Most of it is communicated via a cartoon ad for the TVA, which explains the organization’s purpose, mentions its three cosmic founders, and finally defines what Nexus events are. But the ad also very briefly alludes to a monumental multiversal war rumored to have led to the creation of what the TVA calls the “Sacred Timeline.”
It’s the first time we’ve heard about this conflict in the MCU, and there’s reason to believe it could be setting up Marvel’s next major cinematic event.
The Gist of It — As explained by Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) early in the Loki premiere, the Time Keepers created the TVA and the Sacred Timeline following a multiversal war that nearly resulted in the destruction of everything in existence. The conflict saw “countless” different realities battling for dominance over the others until the Time Keepers ultimately stepped in and reorganized the multiverse into one single timeline.
It’s a massive lore dump — one that quickly and efficiently resets everything we thought we knew about the current structure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More importantly, it also opens the door for Marvel to finally tackle Secret Wars on the big screen.
A Conflict to End All Conflicts — For those who don’t know, Secret Wars is a big deal in Marvel comics. The first iteration of this storyline was written in the 1980s and saw countless heroes and villains transported to a planet called Battleworld, where they were forced to fight each other to the death.
But it’s the 2015 version of Secret Wars that Loki’s multiversal war brings more to mind. That version of the story saw different realities going to war, and multiple versions of the same characters fighting each other. It’s an epic, all-encompassing storyline, and the multiversal war mentioned in Loki sounds strikingly similar.
With that in mind, this Loki reveal essentially pulls double duty, establishing that a Secret Wars-esque conflict has already happened in the MCU and that it can happen again. That latter point is particularly important since it doesn’t seem like the Time Keepers’ Sacred Timeline will remain totally stable for much longer, given what we know about the plots of Loki Season 1, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Inverse Analysis — It’d be oddly poetic for the MCU to experience two multiversal wars, considering the Secret Wars story has been done twice in the comics (albeit in slightly different forms).
This isn’t the first time fans have speculated that Marvel will adapt Secret Wars for the MCU. The Russo Brothers even directly stirred up some serious speculation about it a few years ago when they mentioned their desire to direct a Secret Wars movie for the studio.
Now, thanks to Loki Episode 1, that doesn’t just seem like a pipe dream anymore — it feels like a legitimate possibility.
Loki is streaming now on Disney+.