Loki - Tom Hiddleston

The fifth episode of Marvel’s Loki series debuted on Disney+ today. The episode is titled “Journey into Mystery,” a reference to the Marvel Comics series of the same name that would eventually be retitled Thor and refocused around the popular God of Thunder that originated in the series. And there’s plenty of mystery to be found in this episode, as the series introduces a new villain that fans didn’t see coming. However, the presence of this baddie might hint at the forthcoming arrival of someone they have been expecting.

Spoilers for the latest episode of Loki lie ahead.

Loki

Alioth and The Void

This episode of Loki confirms that when the Time Variance Authority resets a timeline or prunes a Variant, everything and everyone ends up dumped into a place at the end of time known as The Void. Ensuring nothing can ever escape from this desolate, debris-filled landscape is an entity known as Alioth. Described by Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant) as “a living tempest that consumes matter and energy,” Alioth looks like a giant version of the smoke monster from Lost mixed with The Nothing from The Neverending Story and Te Ka from Moana.

Since it consumes matter and energy, Alioth clearly has more of a taste for living things rather than merely eating all of the other timeline junk that’s lying around (such as Thanos’ infamous helicopter from Marvel Comics). However, Alioth also seems to serve another purpose, and that’s as a guard for the “man behind the curtain,” which is the Wizard of Oz way of saying whoever is actually responsible for creating and controlling the Time Variance Authority. The history of Alioth in Marvel Comics provides a hint as to who that might be, but fans have been predicting this since the beginning of Loki.

Marvel Comics - Alioth

Alioth in Marvel Comics

In Marvel Comics, Alioth is the first being to free itself from the constraints of time. The creature feeds on temporal energy, and anyone or anything that becomes absorbed into Alioth provides the being with even more strength. Since Alioth also occupies a large portion of Limbo, the dimensional plane that time travelers pass through on the way to their temporal destination, it gains a considerable amount of energy from those passing through time.

One such character traveling through time was major Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror (set to be played by Jonathan Majors in the third Ant-Man movie), who would become the sworn enemy of Alioth, even going so far as to stop expanding his empire so he could build a barrier to keep Alioth out of it. Though Kang ruled his own temporal empire called Chronopolis, Alioth’s empire was actually two or three times bigger. That didn’t stop Alioth from trying to destroy Kang’s city. However, Kang’s lover Ravonna Renslayer (you know that name, right?) accidentally destroyed the barrier keeping Alioth at bay after Kang was killed.

In order to stop Alioth, Ravonna not only brought Kang back to life, but she called upon the Avengers to stop Alioth by using Tempus, another temporal being who possesses similar absorption powers, keeping the two entities locked in a battle forever. But if Tempus ever fell to Alioth, that would be the end of time and space as we know it.

Loki - Alioth

Alioth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

As we see in this episode of Loki, Alioth isn’t exactly the same kind of villain. Though it’s still a hungry entity that feeds on temporal energy and matter, it’s been reduced to more of a watchdog than a full-on villain with any nefarious plans. But is there a chance that if the TVA is destroyed Alioth could be freed to wreak havoc on the rest of time and space?

What’s even more intriguing is that the presence of Alioth would seem to indicate that Kang the Conqueror could still be involved with the end of Loki, especially when you consider an interesting detail from the comics that would tie the villain to the events of the series thus far.

Marvel Comics - Kang the Conqueror

Kang the Conqueror or Immortus?

In Marvel Comics, Kang the Conqueror eventually gets sick of trying to maintain supremacy across time. Across several different timelines, Kang loses his son Marcus and his lover Ravonna (the same Ravonna who is a TVA judge in Loki), and he simply can’t deal with it anymore. He’s approached by the Time Keepers to become their agent, tasked with preserving timelines rather than conquering them in exchange for immortality. Sound familiar?

When Kang accepts this offer, he reinvents himself as Immortus and becomes lord of Limbo, which could easily have been turned into The Void in the MCU. Kang has also ruled over places similar to The Void in the comics, such as The Lost Zone and The Great Forgetting.

Based on this information, it sounds like we can possibly expect either Kang the Conqueror or Immortus to be the man behind the curtain. Sure, they’re technically one and the same, but at one point in the comics, Immortus actually becomes a separate, alternate version of Kang the Conqueror. So it really could be either one of them who is controlling time from The Void in Loki.

However, if either one of them is at the center of the Time Variance Authority, what does that mean for Kang the Conqueror’s place in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania? Does Loki somehow lead to Kang the Conqueror coming into power in the Quantum Realm rather than The Void? Perhaps The Void exists in another place outside of time.

Doctor Strange - Baron Mordo

Someone Else?

If you look closely at the final shot of the fifth episode of Loki, the cosmic waves behind that mysterious mansion look exactly like the kind we’ve seen in the Dark Dimension from Doctor Strange, the place where the Sorcerer Supreme defeated the primordial inter-dimensional entity Dormammu. It’s not likely that Dormammu is behind this, but what if this has something to do with Baron Mordo, the character played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in Doctor Strange who is slated to return in the upcoming sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? After all, there does seem to be a lot of set-up in Loki for what could unfold in that movie, and Mordo was clearly turning bad in the credits scene from Doctor Strange.

Since we’re heading into the finale for Loki, the mystery is bigger than ever. There are several possibilities that seem equally likely to unfold. Marvel Studios has cleverly used Marvel Comics mythology as inspiration for this series while also taking it in surprising directions, so we’re just not sure what to expect at this point. We’ll have to wait one more week for answers.

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