Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Loki episode "Glorious Purpose." Read at your own risk!
Loki has arrived on Disney+, and the first episode of the latest MCU series threw a lot at fans. We learned all sorts of things about the effects of time travel, the Time Variance Authority, and what can happen if the Sacred Timeline is messed up. It was a lot, and I'd be lying if I said that I understood all of it, but it did seem like the series hinted an upsetting finale was on the way.
Specifically, it appears that Loki might ultimately be forced to return to his time and play out the predetermined path by the Timekeepers for the Sacred Timeline. If Marvel fans thought it was tragic watching Loki lose his life to Thanos once, imagine how rough it'll be to watch a second time. While there's still a lot of show left to reveal things, here's why it seems Loki reliving his arc may be the only ending for the Disney+ series.
Why It's A Problem This Loki Exists
Avengers: Endgame told its audience that the time travel The Avengers did wouldn't matter, and according to the judge during Loki's sentencing, that's true. The Avengers were supposed to time travel according to the Sacred Timeline, but Loki escaping as part of that effort was not supposed to happen. The TVA did its due diligence wiping the moment Loki first appeared to people outside of that moment, but apparently, there's a bigger problem at play.
Mobius told Loki during their conversation that the events of his life – well, the life before he escaped the timeline – were inescapable. Everything that has happened in the MCU to date has and will happen again, and again, and again because the TVA ensures it. Loki was born because he causes pain and suffering and death, and his efforts inspire others to be the best versions of themselves.
My takeaway from that is that Loki has to rejoin the Sacred Timeline eventually, or another multiversal war may happen. I think that it's also noteworthy that while Mobius saved Loki from being "reset" at his sentencing, he outright told Loki that he couldn't offer the God of Mischief salvation. Weirdly enough, Loki seemed to be largely okay with that, though it may be because Mobius chased that statement with the fact that the TVA needed his help finding another Loki.
Why Loki Would Actually Be Willing To Sacrifice Himself
One of the things I was most interested about going into Loki is how the character would develop without having experienced the events that led to his almost anti-hero status. Surprisingly enough, Loki revealed that the person he ultimately became was the same person he's been since the first Thor movie. Loki doesn't enjoy hurting people, but it's part of the "cruel and elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear."
Essentially, if Loki wants to lead others and to make life easier for the masses as a ruler, causing pain is the only way for him to gain it. Well, that's what he believes anyway, and it's worth noting that Mobius only tested Loki to see if he understood who he was in the same way the TVA knew him to be. It's worth noting though that a scene in one Loki trailer explicitly contained a line in which he was described as "unpredictable," and for all the TVA knows about Loki, he did manage to evade them in the offices for a time.
Loki also has more than one God of Mischief running around, and mystery Loki seems to be just as effective at evading the TVA. My point is that Loki is capable of defying expectations. While I'm sure he's not entirely done trying to escape his predicament, he could also accept being reset upon the realization that it's not only best for the Sacred Timeline but for the universe as a whole.
What About The Mystery Loki?
Loki wasted no time in revealing the existence of Mystery Loki, who has been causing problems across multiple points in time. There's been much ado about who this Loki may be and what that means, but we should be talking about why they're seemingly against the TVA. Mobius may think he's found a big help in combatting Mystery Loki, but that logic doesn't really track.
If Mystery Loki has an ax to grind against the TVA, then wouldn't it stand to reason Loki would appreciate their perspective and even agree with it? Together, the two may cause enough chaos to really mess up the TVA, which could very well bring us to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That would ultimately create another entirely separate upsetting finale for Loki, though less sad than Loki willingly giving up his life for the good of the timeline.
Of course, there's also a potential avenue in which Loki is determined to demonstrate he is a good person and wants to resist his past ways. This Loki would be more compliant and likely help to bring Mystery Loki down, but for what? As mentioned, there's no reward for doing so, as Mobius seemingly confirmed this only ends in Loki being reset in either case. I guess it's not impossible to think Loki won't find a way to escape his fate, but if he's ultimately working to protect the timeline, that would mean he has to go back in it eventually.
Is Marvel Done With Loki?
Predicting how Loki will end for the character would be much easier if we knew if Marvel Studios is done with Thor's brother from another mother. The truth of the matter is we don't really know what Marvel wants to do with Tom Hiddleston's character, and neither Marvel nor Hiddleston has hinted definitively if this series will be the character's final bow in the MCU.
While it's easy to assume it will be, Marvel has Thor: Love and Thunder coming in 2022. The fact that Tom Hiddleston's Loki has been a part of every previous Thor movie makes it hard to imagine he won't play a part, even if Hiddleston himself has seemingly denied his involvement. I just think it's important to remember watching this series that it's possible Hiddleston is signed on for more appearances and that he may absolutely still have a future within the MCU, Sacred Timeline be damned.