This week on The Fix we had two main topics: the unfolding events of the Loki TV show and a bit of discussion inspired by the short comic series Truth: Red, White and Black. Loki was difficult to talk about because we are still trying to keep things spoiler-free and there were some huge plot points in this weeks episode. Truth was difficult to talk about for an entirely different reason, and I think we will have a full review of the book shortly. Vic and I both agree it deserves much more than an Afterthought.
Loki is coming to a head, with only two episodes left in the series. I still think I am at least partially correct in my prediction for the show from last week, as we say so often only time will tell for sure. Many people (online at least) believed Mephisto would show his face on WandaVision and never did, so it’s entirely possible Kang will stay out of things directly until Ant-Man 3, or we will get a small cameo at the end of Loki. The show right now seems to be much more concretely setting the rules for the upcoming exploration of the multiverse. Rebooting the rules for time travel as (messily) set by Endgame certainly isn’t a bad thing, we’ve complained about the loopholes they introduced in that film at length.
I also think there are some larger ramifications in the expression of “free will” that could be explored in the last minutes of the Loki show, but those may be left to audience interpretation in favor of leaving things more “solid” in the finale. It certainly feels like they are building the foundation of what will be the ongoing plot lines for No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness.
While I’m certainly excited for those upcoming films, I’m curious to see how Marvel will keep the multiverse from getting out of control. I expect during Multiverse of Madness they will put some mystical limits on it, otherwise the implications are too broad. If you can just bring back any old foe or switch variations of any character at any time under the explanation of “they are from a different dimension” how do you hold a cohesive storyline together across more movies? It opens too many options. I fully expect the MCU to use the multiverse in key times (ie. the introduction of the X-Men without having to explain where they have been this whole time) and it certainly creates opportunities for more interesting stories that have otherwise been discarded along the current path of the MCU.
From what we know about the process behind what has brought the MCU to what it is now over the last decade, it certainly appears that Kevin Feige has his own “sacred timeline” and I think he has earned a bit of faith in knowing what he is doing. But Phase 4 is really going to be the test of that faith. The original experiment of being able to weave a cohesive narrative across multiple movies over a long period of time is over. The Avengers, the core element of that experiment, are shattered and I don’t know that just creating a “New Avengers” will cut it with fans. They need to do something new, but with enough of the existing characters intact to keep the story grounded. New can be tricky, and the bar is so, so high now.
That being said, the entire MCU was new at one point, with one of the worlds largest movie studios being convinced to take a chance on a blown-out addict, the guy whose biggest directing gig was Elf and a movie without a script. And here we are, 13 years later. It won’t be long before the MCU is old enough to drive.