Loki Was Great, But Season 2 Needs To Avoid Several Ending Issues
Loki season 1 had some ending problems, but the upcoming season 2 can solve these issues. Loki continued the story of an alternate version of the God of Mischief, played since Thor by Tom Hiddleston, after he escaped from capture with the Tesseract during Avengers: Endgame. Season 1 saw Loki team up with another variant of himself, Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie, in order to find the man behind the Time Variance Authority and bust the multiverse wide open. Even though the season was highly praised, there were several problems that season 2 needs to avoid.
Set to release on Disney+ in summer 2023, Loki season 2 will find itself in the midst of the MCU’s Phase 5, surrounded by projects that will continue to develop several new and established characters’ stories leading into the final Phase of the Multiverse Saga. Most of the original cast will be returning, including Hiddleston as Loki, Martino as Sylvie, Owen Wilson as Mobius, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer, as well as debuting new addition Ke Huy Quan, who has previous experience traveling the multiverse in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Season 2 is set to be a direct continuation of the events of season 1, investigating what effect Sylvie killing He Who Remains, a variant of Kang the Conqueror played by Jonathan Majors, has had on the multiverse. Hopefully, the much-anticipated second season will be able to iron out some of season 1’s kinks.
Hot off the heels of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki helped to establish the overarching storyline for the MCU going forward, truly introducing the idea of the multiverse after a brief tease during Spider-Man: Far From Home. Despite its success, season 1 was flawed by its heavy introduction of the TVA and its episodic nature with every episode ending on a cliffhanger, which gave the impression of a lot of stopping and starting rather than one fluid, continuous story. Loki season 2 has the opportunity to smooth out this problem, as well as a major issue with the season 1 finale focusing too much on MCU exposition.
One of the benefits of Marvel Studios releasing content on Disney+ is that the time constraints of a feature film can be avoided, and the story can be fleshed out even more. However, this can pose a serious storytelling problem, and Loki season 1 is the perfect example of this. The season 1 finale, « For All Time. Always, » featured the debut He Who Remains, the man who keeps the Sacred Timeline in check and oversees the TVA. While Kang’s first appearance in Loki was hugely exciting, the introduction of such a huge character, with a massive backstory, within a one-episode time frame caused this episode to be packed full of exposition that had the detrimental effect of stopping the action in its tracks.
He Who Remains’ long dialogue with Loki and Sylvie in the Citadel at the End of Time gave viewers all the background information they could want about the multiversal war, but this whole speech was acting purely as setup for future MCU projects, some of which won’t be happening for several years. Jonathan Majors won’t be making his next appearance in the MCU until 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, two whole years after the release of Loki. After that, it’s unknown whether he’ll appear before Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2025, but even so, this would mean that setup in Loki’s season 1 finale won’t be paid off until four years after the fact. This points to a wider problem in the MCU, namely how recent projects have been setting up events that won’t be mentioned again for years to come, take Hercules’ introduction in Thor: Love and Thunder as an example, meaning audiences need to wait patiently for an indefinite amount of time for any payoff for exciting new storylines.
Luckily for Loki season 2, all the setup has already been done. Viewers are already familiar with the TVA, Sylvie has already built a relationship with Loki, the multiverse has been further explained in projects such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Kang’s position and purpose in the MCU will be even more concrete thanks to Quantumania releasing before Loki season 2. This means that season 2 can hit the ground running without having to take the time to establish the new world that Loki has found himself in. Viewers can be thrown into the action almost immediately, which is something that will be needed considering season 1’s cliffhanger ending which sees Loki apparently in another reality in the multiverse where Mobius and Hunter B-15 don’t remember who he is.
It’s unclear what the future of the MCU has in store for Loki, especially since there are still questions about whether viewers will ever see him back in the main reality interacting with the Avengers and his own brother, Thor, once again. Loki season 2 will surely continue to develop the mythos surrounding the multiverse as the MCU’s Phase 5 builds up to Phase 6 and the climactic end of the Multiverse Saga with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Phase 5’s slate is incredibly strong with highly anticipated projects such as Secret Invasion, Daredevil: Born Again, and Thunderbolts in the lineup, if Loki season 2 avoids the problems of season 1, it will definitely hold its own against these big titles.