The Only MCU Recap You Need Before Loki Season 2

The first season of Marvel Studios' "Loki" expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a full-on multiverse. Picking up after the events of "Avengers: Endgame," the series places the trickster god (Tom Hiddleston) on a new mission with the Time Variance Authority to preserve the timeline. In addition to introducing the concept of an MCU multiverse, "Loki" also introduces the MCU's current primary antagonist, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). The show returns for its second season on Disney+ on October 6, as Loki explores the fallout from the actions of his alternate timeline variant Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino).

With Loki appearing throughout the MCU regularly since 2011's "Thor," there is plenty to go over to prepare for the second season of "Loki." From a full explainer on the Asgardians' place in the MCU to Loki's fall and eventual redemption, the God of Mischief has endured a rollercoaster of an arc. Here is everything you need to know about Loki and the wider MCU in time for the second season premiere of "Loki" this October.

Introducing Loki, the MCU's God of Mischief

The MCU establishes in "Thor" that classic Norse mythology is inspired by a race of cosmic beings from the realm of Asgard who visited Scandinavia millennia ago. The Asgardians possess superhuman abilities, including drastically slowed aging, despite their humanoid appearances. The King of Asgard is Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who raises his sons Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki alongside with his wife Frigga (Rene Russo). Though Thor is the biological offspring of Odin and Frigga, Loki is secretly adopted, with the truth behind his parentage kept a secret, even to him.

In 965 A.D., Odin fought a bloody war against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, culminating in Odin defeating their king Laufey (Colm Feore). Before leaving Jotunheim, Odin took in the infant Loki to raise as his own son, with Loki developing an Asgardian physical appearance. Prone to trickery and deception, Loki grows up to become Asgard's God of Mischief, ever unpredictable in what he'll do next. Beyond the usual sibling rivalry with Thor, Loki begins to resent his brother for being favored by Odin and first in line for the throne.

Loki's betrayal

To disrupt Thor's planned coronation, Loki arranges for the Frost Giants to raid Asgard in an attempt to reclaim the source of their power, the Casket of Eternal Winters. Odin banishes Thor to Earth after he disobeys his orders and attacks Jotunheim in retaliation while Loki discovers his Frost Giant heritage. The stress of the resulting argument with Loki causes Odin to fall comatose in the Odinsleep, leading Loki to take the throne in Thor's continued exile. On Earth, Thor learns humility and proves himself worthy of wielding the divine power his father gifted him.

Reuniting with his Asgardian friends, Thor learns of Loki's deception and ascension to the throne and returns home. Before confronting his brother, Loki halts the very assassination attempt on Odin he himself orchestrated with the Frost Giants, killing his biological father Laufey in the process. With his bid to position himself as the savior of Asgard unsuccessful and his treachery exposed, Loki is defeated by Thor in a bitter duel. Rather than accept his brother's mercy, however, Loki opts to fall from Asgard into unknown regions of space.

Loki's deadly alliance with Thanos

After fleeing from Asgard in disgrace, Loki meets Thanos (Damion Poitier, later Josh Brolin), a powerful warlord with a vast army, before the events of "The Avengers." Thanos is scouring the cosmos for the Infinity Stones, which will allow him to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Loki convinces Thanos to entrust him with the Mind Stone and recover the Space Stone, stored on Earth within a relic known as the Tesseract. Loki attacks a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and obtains the Tesseract, using it to open a portal on Earth for an invading detachment of Thanos' army.

After Loki nearly scuttles Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) helicarrier and murders his trusted associate Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), an assembled group of heroes put aside their differences to face him together. Dubbing themselves the Avengers, the heroes repel Thanos' army, seal the portal, and claim the Mind and Space Stones. Loki is soundly beaten by the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), with custody relinquished to Thor along with the Tesseract in a sign of good faith to Asgard. In the aftermath, the Avengers decide to remain together as a team, making them Loki's biggest legacy to date.

Loki secretly usurps Odin

For all his transgressions, Odin has Loki imprisoned deep within the dungeons of Asgard upon his return in "Thor: The Dark World." This punishment is meted out just before Dark Elves resurface to seek revenge on Asgard for a devastating defeat they endured from Odin's father Bor millennia ago. The Dark Elves infiltrate Asgard in order to obtain the Reality Stone, another Infinity Stone recently discovered by Thor's lover Jane Foster (Natalie Portman0. Taking advantage of the chaos, Loki assists the Dark Elves from his cell, inadvertently helping cause the death of his beloved mother Frigga.

Despondent, Loki agrees to help Thor reach Svartalfheim, the hidden realm of the Dark Elves, in exchange for being freed from captivity. In the ensuing confrontation with the Dark Elf leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), Loki is apparently killed by Malekith's enforcer Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). When news of Loki's death reaches Odin, the king privately leaves for Svartalfheim to see for himself. In truth, Loki has faked his death and secretly sends Odin away to Earth, impersonating his father as he retakes the throne.

The redemption of Loki and fall of Asgard

Loki's royal ruse is exposed by Thor after he defeats the Fire Giant Surtur (Clancy Brown) in "Thor: Ragnarok." Loki agrees to help Thor bring Odin back to Asgard, only for their father to peacefully die in Norway before their eyes. Odin's death releases his exiled secret daughter Hela, Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett), who immediately sets her sights on Asgard. Hela easily crushes the Asgardian military and seizes the throne while Loki and Thor are cast away to the garbage planet of Sakaar.

Loki ingratiates himself with Sakaar's ruler, the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), but Thor convinces his brother that they need to liberate Asgard from Hela. Teaming up with the Hulk and an Asgardian Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who helped defeat Hela eons ago, Thor and Loki return to Asgard. Realizing the only way to stop Hela is to destroy Asgard itself, the warriors evacuate the populace and revive Surtur to annihilate the cosmic realm. As the Asgardians plan to set up a new home on Earth, Thor and Loki privately reconcile, prepared to lead their people together into an uncertain future.

The death of the prime timeline Loki

These plans are quickly derailed when Thanos attacks the Asgardian transport ship at the beginning of "Avengers: Infinity War." Before reviving Surtur, Loki secretly stole the Tesseract from Asgard's vaults, with Thanos later drawn to its energy signature. Thanos and his lieutenants, the Black Order, easily subdue the Asgardians, defeating Thor and Hulk without much effort. Loki's past alliance with Thanos is confirmed, as the trickster tries to broker a new deal with the genocidal supervillain.

This approach proves to be a feint, with Loki attempting to stab Thanos only for the Titan to grab and strangle the Asgardian to death. Thanos and the Black Order depart from the Asgardian vessel but not before initiating its destruction behind them. Thor mourns the loss of his brother, robbed of the chance of a more harmonious future between them. Loki's death helps fuel Thor's obsessive quest for revenge on Thanos after he barely survives the wreckage of his ship.

Loki creates an alternate timeline

After Thanos uses the Infinity Stones to fulfill his plans of wiping out half of all life in the universe, he destroys the Stones to preserve his victory in "Avengers: Endgame." This prompts the surviving heroes to travel back to different points in history and recover the Stones to undo Thanos' devastation in the present. With the Space Stone in Manhattan during the events of "The Avengers," Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) leads a small group back to the battle against Loki in 2012. Stark moves to snag the Stone shortly after Loki is defeated and escorted out of Stark Tower.

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) causes the 2012 version of Stark to suffer a mild cardiac event in order to create a distraction and steal the Stone. This diversion is upended by the sudden appearance of the Hulk, who accidentally knocks the Space Stone to the captive Loki's feet. Seizing the opportunity, Loki grabs the Stone and teleports away to parts unknown, leaving two frustrated groups of heroes behind. This drastic divergence in history causes the creation of an alternate timeline as Loki flees the destiny that led to his prime timeline counterpart's death.

Loki and the Time Variance Authority

In the first season of "Loki," the alternate timeline Loki flees into the Gobi Desert with the Space Stone but is quickly apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). The TVA identify themselves as peacekeepers who maintain the Sacred Timeline and see the divergent Loki, being a man out of time, as clear violation. Taking Loki back to their headquarters outside of the conventional flow of time, the TVA judges the trickster for crimes against the Sacred Timeline. TVA operative Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) saves Loki from being erased, feeling he could be of use to the organization.

Mobius informs Loki his actions will cause the death of Frigga before Loki escapes his custody and enters the Time Theater to view his future in the Sacred Timeline. Loki learns he was destined to reconcile with Thor before being killed by Thanos and realizes he can't return to his own timeline. Rocked to his core by his observation of the Sacred Timeline, Loki admits to Mobius that his mischief is driven by a need for control. Following this confession, Loki agrees to help the TVA stop a mysterious killer targeting TVA agents and stealing their technology.

The TVA's time-bending mission

After a grueling war in the past that nearly destroyed reality, the TVA was created by the Time-Keepers to maintain a single timeline, which they named the Sacred Timeline. In order to prevent a potential second war, the TVA prunes alternate timelines and individuals borne of these divergences in a process they refer to as resetting. Individuals from branched timelines are known as variants, with TVA personnel composed of agents from various realities. Among the most prominent TVA figures are Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), enforcer Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), and the organization's animated mascot Miss Minutes (Tara Strong).

Working alongside the TVA, Loki learns that not only is the killer a variant of himself, but her name is Sylvie. Determined to liberate time from what she views as the TVA's oppressive control, Sylvie sets out to destroy the Time-Keepers. As Loki tries to reason with Sylvie, the two variants grow close but Sylvie remains as challenging and vengeful as ever in her drive to avenge her timeline. Sylvie learns that the Time-Keepers are robots created by a being known as He Who Remains, who lives in seclusion. The Loki variants set out to kill him.

Confronting He Who Remains

After Ravonna seemingly erases Loki for siding with Sylvie, Sylvie discovers that erased variants are actually sent to the Void at the End of Time. Deducing that He Who Remains is the man behind the curtain in the Void, Sylvie erases herself and reunites with Loki to finally face the being who created the TVA. Entering the Citadel at the End of Time, Loki and Sylvie meet He Who Remains, who introduces himself as a variant of Kang the Conqueror. Kang explains multiversal versions of himself launched the time war against each other, with him creating the Sacred Timeline free of their influence.

Having grown tired of maintaining the Sacred Timeline, Kang offers Loki and Sylvie the chance to either govern the timeline themselves or kill him and free the multiverse. Though Loki believes Kang, Sylvie is consumed by her thirst for revenge and sends him back to TVA headquarters. Stabbing Kang to death, Sylvie immediately realizes he was telling the truth when the Sacred Timeline branches to multiple divergences as he dies. Meanwhile, Loki finds himself in a different timeline's TVA overseen by Kang, with none of its familiar faces recognizing him.

The assembled strength of Kang the Conqueror

A different and far less friendly Kang variant resurfaces in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" trapped in the Quantum Realm. First encountered by the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), this Kang was exiled in the Quantum Realm by his fellow variants out of fear of his destructive tendencies. Janet sabotages Kang's attempt to escape before leaving the Quantum Realm herself, with Kang conquering the microscopic world and ruling it with an iron fist. After Ant-Man and Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), along with their family, are summoned by Kang into the Quantum Realm, they manage to kill the villain before escaping.

News of Kang's death reaches an entire army of Kang variants elsewhere in the multiverse who celebrate his demise. With their greatest threat eliminated, a variant named Immortus plans to lead his fellow Kang counterparts in conquering the multiverse. Elsewhere, Loki and Mobius are seen observing a Kang variant named Victor Timely on Earth in 1901. Though Mobius doesn't see the bespectacled man as a danger, Loki recognizes him as a man of extreme importance.

The return of Loki and Kang

The second season of "Loki" sees the return of plenty of familiar faces, even if several are playing new variants of characters introduced in the first season. Mobius, Ravonna, Hunter B-15, and Miss Minutes are all confirmed to be back, despite all of them now being unaware of Loki's past activities with their respective variants. Another returning TVA member, Casey (Eugene Cordero), is a variant hunter in this timeline, rather than the desk jockey who Loki met in the preceding season. Introduced in the record-breaking season 2 trailer is new TVA agent O.B., played by Ke Huy Quan, who specializes in the organization's gear.

Victor Timely will also return in the second season, expanding on the tease seen at the end of "Quantumania." Sylvie reappears, now working at a McDonald's in 1982, a far cry from when we last saw her at Kang's familiar location. With these variants, Loki finds himself pulled between past and present while navigating this new timeline, in a race against time (or maybe times) to avert a new time war or face total annihilation.