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Loki has finally arrived, bringing the fan-favorite God of Mischief back for another round of chaos and intrigue. But with the new Disney+ show also comes a number of questions regarding alternate timelines and the multiverse as a whole. This is relatively new territory for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the franchise has only just started to dig deep into these concepts. The premiere episode really got fans’ brains going after it made mention of Phil Coulson’s death at Loki’s hands. Now, head writer Michael Waldron has provided an interesting (if not confusing) explanation for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reference.
In the first episode of Loki, Tom Hiddleston’s titular character is forced to relive some of his worst moments during a screening session with Owen Wilson’s Mobius. This includes his murder of Phil Coulson shortly before the Battle of New York in 2012’s The Avengers. Mobius chastised Loki for committing the act, but the TVA operative interestingly failed to mention Coulson’s subsequent resurrection. Of course, this untimely demise would ultimately lead to the events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
During that show’s seven-season run, Marvel Studios didn’t make much of an effort to link it to the MCU proper, despite efforts on the show’s part to do so. So fans are now wondering how the series relates to the larger cinematic universe and whether this development retcons it. With this in mind, it was only a matter of time before Michael Waldron was asked about it, but his response delivers more questions than answers:
No, look, that is one other tendril of the multiverse, perhaps. I think just seeing mention of Coulson again, the very fact that it raises those questions, is exciting.
Michael Waldron’s recent interview with Fandom doesn't exactly clear up whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is canon. The series closely followed MCU events during its first several seasons but, in the later years, it veered off onto a path of its own. This has left some fans (like myself) theorizing that the show takes place in an alternate timeline. And if that were to be the case, it would still make the show a part of the multiverse, something Waldron might be implying.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. conundrum is far from the only element sparking debate among Loki’s viewers. Some are also trying to get a hold on the show’s time-travel rules and how they compare to the basics established in Avengers: Endgame. On that note, there’s also a question as to whether the TVA is looking for former Captain America Steve Rogers after he traveled back to the past to start a life with Peggy Carter. You can relive Steve’s fateful decision by streaming Avengers: Endgame on Disney+, which you can sign up for using this link.
Only time will tell if or how Loki plans to address these various questions, but it’s safe to say Michael Waldron and his team have plenty of other plot threads on their collective plate. The road to resolution is bound to be a wild ride, so let’s hope the show can answer a number of things while handling the lead antihero’s mischief.