Mischief Managed

‘Loki’ theory: The Time Keepers are really these terrifying time criminals

The “Space Lizards” could really be these chaos agents.

The Time Keepers are Loki’s biggest mystery.

These mysterious overseers supposedly control the flow of time and created the Time Variance Authority to enact their will across the universe. Hard at work, they’re allegedly untangling the end of time from a complicated knot of multiverses and variants. But where are the Time Keepers?

Loki is anxious for an audience with these almighty beings, but they remain hidden away, only visible through representations: as animated figures in Miss Minutes’ informational video, or as giant, looming sculptures placed throughout the TVA. This theory suggests the Time Keepers aren’t who you think they are. They’re not time police. In fact, they may be the biggest time criminals of them all.

When Loki is first detained by Hunter B-15, he’s put into a collar that renders him powerless to evade the TVA’s manipulations of time and space. If he tries to run, Agent Mobius can just press a button, and Loki is instantly brought back to the same physical space he was in moments earlier.

This leads to a hilarious moment in Episode 1, in which Agent Mobius uses the device to bring Loki back to the table they were sitting at. While Loki is transported back to his seat, the chair has moved aside, leading to the world’s most complicated pratfall.

“Sorry,” says Mobius. “The Time Twister just loops you, not the furniture.”

Hunter B-15 uses the Time Twister on Loki.Marvel Studios

That name, “Time Twister,” just sounds like a catchy moniker for a looping detainment device, But, for fans of the Marvel comics, this name also references a notorious group of villains.

In Marvel lore, the Time-Twisters are three alien beings who first appeared in Thor #243, all the way back in 1979. They were created by the TVA as a kind of hard reset, meant to be the guiding force behind the next iteration of the time-space continuum after the heat death of the universe.

However, the Time-Twisters went rogue and started traveling backwards in time in a giant spiral, leaving destruction in their wake. They had the ability to control both energy and time (much like the Time Twister device), When confronted by Thor, they opened up a portal in time and brought soldiers from all over the time-space continuum to defend them, from Viking warriors to WWII infantrymen.

The Time-Twisters face off against Thor.Marvel Comics

Could the Time Keepers be the MCU’s equivalent of the Time-Twisters? After all, the Time Keepers are also three alien beings who basically serve the same function the Time-Twisters were meant to serve in the comics. The Time Keepers stay out of view, which means they could actually be time traveling while playing a long game across the universe, waiting for an inevitable time catastrophe to keep the agents occupied so they can start wreaking havoc all over the timeline.

If the Time Keepers are the Time-Twisters, they could purposefully dictate a “Sacred Timeline” rife with chaos. That would explain why Thanos was allowed to eliminate half the Earth’s population in a single snap. The TVA could be nothing more than a formality, pruning small-scale “variants” while not questioning why the Sacred Timeline exists in the larger way it does.

Sure, it would be a huge twist, but it would also explain why the TVA agents so happily work to preserve a timeline that includes many atrocities. After all, “that’s what’s supposed to happen.”

Loki is now streaming on Disney+.