Not only does Loki have huge ramifications for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the show also has some of the most intriguing MCU references.
Out of all the Disney Plus series that were announced following the end of the MCU’s Phase Three, Loki had the most unpredictable possibilities. WandaVision’s plot had precedence in the comic book storyline House of M, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a more straightforward continuation of Captain America’s teammates’ narrative. The original timeline Loki was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but the show would focus on a variant Loki from 2012 who escaped capture by the Avengers, because of their timeline-meddling in Avengers: Endgame.
Now that the first season is over, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki’s glorious purpose has unfolded before us. The show had so many ups and downs, twists and turns, from chapter to chapter. And in between all of the God of Mischief’s chaotic disruptions, there were references to the larger universe that Loki has been apart of since 2011. Let’s break down some of the key connections in each episode.
Episode 1 – Glorious Purpose
The series begins with an obvious link to the Asgardian trickster’s previous MCU content, by replaying the most recent Loki-related scene from Avengers: Endgame. The 2012 version of Loki snatches up the Tesseract after the Avengers botch the time-heist. The show picks up from there and dives into the heavily expository episode to explain that this caused a disturbance in the timeline, otherwise known as a Nexus event.
The people responsible for enforcing such events are the Time Variance Authority (TVA). MCU fans who haven’t read any Man-Thing comics that deal with the Nexus of All Realities may still find that the word “nexus” rings a bell. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man visited the internet hub called Nexus which essentially houses every piece of data in the world. And in WandaVision, one of the commercials was for an antidepressant drug called Nexus. These were not happenstances.
While Loki is at the TVA, he is told that “time works differently here”. A similar statement was made to his brother about Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok; Loki was knocked out of the Bifrost seconds before Thor, but somehow landed on Sakaar weeks before him. At the TVA, it is even more impossible to tell how much time has passed.
Another notable tidbit at TVA headquarters is that a Skrull is visible in the background. Skrulls were introduced in Captain Marvel and formed alliances with Nick Fury and Carol Danvers. The Skrull in Loki may just be a nice Easter Egg, or perhaps Skrulls will be playing a bigger role in the future of the MCU and will return for the second season of Loki.