When you write over one thousand columns, #notsohumblebrag, there are going to be times where you get things wrong. Sometimes the theory that you devised is so awesome, so incredible that it doesn’t exist on this plane of the multiverse. Some other universe gets to experience your awesome theory come to life while you just sit here like, “shit, maybe I shouldn’t have published that”.
In times like that, you can ignore the whiff and move on with your life, these things are going to happen, or you can use the almost two thousand words you used incorrectly as an opening for another column. Which is exactly what I’m doing now.
***MASSIVE LOKI SEASON FINALE SPOILER BELOW READ WITH CAUTION***
Sooooo, it looks like Kang was in the castle at the end of time in the season finale of Loki. Technically. They never refer to him as Kang but it is heavily implied. For starters, Jonathan Majors, who straight-up murdered every scene he was in… like murdered it dead, was cast not too long ago as Kang in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp film. Then go into the outfit choice being very Kang specific minus the purple/blue face. And close it all down with the “conqueror” name mention; this was Kang even if he was referred to as “He Who Remains”, which is also a badass name.
Here’s the thing though, while I thought Kang’s arrival would deter from Loki’s very tight and character-centric narrative, it was used only to enhance our characters’ choices. Sure, we got a ton of information dumped on us but at the end of the day, the story moved forward because of Loki and Sylvie’s choices. And I don’t feel cheated at all. In fact, I feel elated. I feel giddy. I feel the type of excitement where despite having to wake up at five o’clock in the morning the next day, you want to stay up talking MCU for hours so you text with friends and finally go on Twitter to get involved with all the conversations. Next thing you know it’s 11:30 pm and you need to go to bed.
When last night’s season finale concluded, that’s right season two is on its way, Phase Four of the MCU suddenly took on a new light for yours truly. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of things I’m excited about in this Phase Four slate. Shang-Chi looks dope and could explore some new and interesting areas of this universe. Eternals has me puzzled in all the best ways while the film looks gorgeous. Black Widow has upped my hype level for Hawkeye exponentially and I was already pretty stoked because the series is being based on Matt Fraction’s run with the character. Ms. Marvel, Love and Thunder, and on and on and on we go. The Phase Four hype is real.
But, after Loki, there are aspects of Phase Four that I need like yesterday. Feelings that kicked off with WandaVision and are now bubbling out of control heading into What If..? We’ve long talked about the multiverse and what its impact on the MCU would be. Most of us believe that this will open the door to properties like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men and seamlessly weave them into the fabric of the MCU. What Loki just did though is something that kicks the door open.
Let’s start with the fact that What If…? now isn’t a bunch of stories that seem cool to tell because they’re alternate realities. No, these stories are now coming from the fractured realities caused by Sylvie’s actions. I’m willing to beat these stories, while they may seem like individual tales are going to weave into one another telling a more cohesive narrative then we may have originally thought. Suddenly, these episodes are showing us a multiverse that’s falling apart and slowly heading to possible Multiverseal War… where my Secret War fans at?! Someone call the Russo Brothers!
From there, it looks like the rumors concerning Spider-Man: No Way Home are looking more and more like truth. We have no true confirmation on if Toby or Andrew will be reprising their Spider-Man roles but it certainly seems like Peter is going to have some multiverse issues going which will introduce Doctor Strange into the fold. Now we’re cooking with fire, right?! No Way Home could imply that Spider-Man gets stuck in the wrong universe or that the MCU as we know it will never be the same again but it’s certainly setting the foundation for the return of Wanda in Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness.
Do I expect the Multiverse of Madness to conclude all the multiverse hijinks? No, not even a little bit. We’ve got a second season of Loki to look forward to after all. These multiverse issues are going to be around for a minute or two and are going to start pulling some old friends into the fold. Think back to the post-credit scene during the WandaVision finale, chances are Wanda heard the boys on a whole other timeline. I still believe that she’ll tear the world apart to find them but I no longer believe that she’s the cause of all this, obviously. Another theory I may have whiffed on. Phase Four has built up Wanda, Loki, and Doctor Strange to be central figures moving forward and I can’t properly grasp how delighted about all this I am. Like, there’s no way Loki doesn’t show up in a post-credit stinger during No Way Home or have an active part to play in Multiverse of Madness. Right?! He’s intracule to all of this as is the TVA.
With the conclusion of Loki, there’s no reason for them to hold back on that No Way Home trailer anymore. I love the fact that my boy Spider-Man is going to be thrust directly in the middle of this mess. He’ll be in the sandbox with some of my new favorite characters. Insert excited sequels here. Give us a glimpse of those lines between worlds cracking. Let me theorize until I’m dizzy or my wife tells me to shut up. What If…? is less than a month away. Bring on Captain Carter and T’Challa the Guardian. Bring on the Marvel Zombies. Let me see how the multiverse is responding to Sylvie’s actions. Put that shit directly into my veins.
Suddenly literally every Marvel property is canon now. X-Men movies? Canon, they were on a different multiverse. Wesley Snipes’s Blade trilogy? Canon, different multiverse. Howard the Duck?! Canon, different multiverse. On and on and on the list goes. The toy box has been dumped out and anything and everything is in play. Could we get surprise returns like the rumored Chris Evans one? Could we get recast characters without damaging the legacy of an RDJ? Like Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible and I’m ready for all of it.
Please and thank you.