Loki Season 2 Just Shattered Marvel's Time Travel Canon
Forget everything you may or may not remember from Season 1.
The first thing a time travel story has to establish are the rules. Maybe the space-time continuum acts like Back to the Future, where one wrong move in the past could completely rewrite the present to the point where people fade from existence. Maybe it’s more like Harry Potter, where the relevant time travel has to happen to make events flow smoothly, meaning nothing from the past can really be changed. Or maybe it’s like Doctor Who, which has it both ways depending on what the story calls for.
But the MCU’s rules have always been murky. Avengers: Endgame gave us the Time Heist, where the Avengers meddled in the past without consequences for the future, while Loki established the Time Variance Authority and the Sacred Timeline, which worked to prevent precisely that kind of meddling. Now, in Loki Season 2, we’re seeing a new kind of time travel, and it doesn’t gel with anything we’ve seen before.
The MCU’s space-time continuum is changing, thanks to Sylvie knocking off He Who Remains and abolishing the concept of a Sacred Timeline altogether. But now Loki is “Time-Slipping” through different points in the TVA’s timeline, which shouldn’t be possible.
In one key scene of Loki Season 2’s first episode, Mobius meets with the new character O.B. in the present while Loki talks to him in the past. As Loki tells O.B. things, O.B. remembers these details in the present. It’s a clever scene that allows Mobius to see the future being affected in real time.
Previously, we didn’t think this causality was possible in the MCU. In fact, Mobius didn’t even think there was a linear timeline in the TVA. We were told in Season 1 that “time works differently in the TVA.” Now that’s even more true than we realized.
Maybe the way time works differently is that feats like these are possible: the TVA works on Back to the Future rules while the rest of the MCU falls into multiversal chaos. Season 2 Episode 1 proved there’s no alternate TVA like we thought the Season 1 finale had introduced. Instead, that scene was just set deep in the past. Maybe everything we know about the TVA is different from what we first thought.
The events of Endgame may have been sanctioned by the TVA, but now all bets are off. This is actually one of the best moves that Loki could pull. Now, Loki can flourish inside the chaos of paradoxes and change the very fabric of time and space. Every time travel story needs clear rules, but maybe Loki is the exception.