Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of Disney+'s Loki, so be warned!
Another week, another 40+ minutes of mind-blowing MCU madness. That's what Loki viewers have come to expect, and that's what Loki's creative team delivers in bulk. While Episode 5, "Journey Into Mystery," didn't feature any jaw-dropping credits-adjacent scenes this week, it's just as well since my jaw was on the floor from the very start, thanks to the comic book drama's first majorly blatant Kang the Conqueror references. (At least ones that aren't in the form of Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Renslayer.)
How Does Loki Episode 5 Reference Kang The Conquerer?
Less than 30 seconds into Loki's penultimate episode, as the camera is soaring over the completely destroyed New York City that was teased in Episode 4, there's another glimpse of what we had previously assumed was Avengers Tower. However, the building is revealed to actually be Qeng Tower, which is either a massive hint that the time-traveling Kang is coming in the season finale, or it's just a blink-and-you'll-miss-it-until-you-get-on-Twitter alt-timeline easter egg that won't have any real bearing on either Loki or Jonathan Majors' imminent arrival as Kang in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. But that wouldn't be fun at all, now would it?
It was quite the shocking sight, considering many fans went the entire week between Eps 4 and 5 posing theories about how Avengers Tower got destroyed, and what it meant for that pruned timeline. All those thoughts were for naught, though, as the tower was revealed to be rebranded with its post-Avengers owner. Quite the interesting follow-up to the Avengers-specific visual reference when Loki arrived in The Void.
That obviously wasn't the only major connection, as viewers were soon introduced to the highly destructive cloud monster Alioth, who served as the episode's main threat within The Void, and was a mean mofo to boot. (R.I.P. Classic Loki.)
What Are Qeng Enterprises And Alioth In Marvel Comics?
As Marvel's All-New, All-Different Avengers line began, the character Mr. Gryphon was introduced as the CEO of Qeng Industries, which bought Avengers Tower from Stark Industries after the super-squad changed headquarters. Lots of comic book things happen after that, including Vision getting reprogrammed and Warbringer coming in to assist, along with Radioactive Man, Cyclone and more. At this point, none of those details are of apparent importance to Loki on the whole, but the storyline's big reveal definitely is.
As it turns out, Mr. Gryphon is actually one of several different versions of Kang the Conqueror that were created due to a big glitch in the timeline, an occurrence that has obviously been at the heart of Loki's conflict-filled storyline since the beginning. He was inevitably defeated by a temporal paradox caused by two timeline's versions of Thor's Mjolnir being slammed together, but that's neither here nor there. What we want to know now is whether the Qeng Enterprises building is a definite sign that Jonathan Majors' Kang is here...or there.
And then there's Alioth, a being untethered to time whose massive temporal empire is larger than even that of Kang's, and served as a limiting agent against the villain's grasp for temporal power. It basically does the same thing across both comics and TV, in that it absorbs and ages/destroys anything in its path. Except for the big castle-mansion that'd hidden behind it, or within it, depending on how one views such things. And its purpleness could definitely be a visual nod to Kang's purple-heavy costume. (Granted, Alioth is also purple in the comics, but still.)
What Do Loki's Kang Connections Mean For The MCU's Future?
While the presence of the Qeng Enterprises skyscraper and Alioth's wrath obviously aren't guarantees that Kang the Conqueror is going to appear in Loki's Season 1 finale, it certainly makes it a lot more plausible that he will end up being revealed as the tenant of that mysterious mansion in the final moments. After all, the Qeng name and Alioth's existence are tied almost exclusively to Kang in the source material. But does that mean he'll end up being Loki's main villain all along? (Sorry, Agatha.)
It's certainly possible that Kang himself discovered who was actually behind the TVA while in the form of Mr. Gryphon, and ended up getting caught and pruned into The Void as a safety precaution, where he then made it his mission to destroy everything that also got pruned. Though I guess that wouldn't automatically explain why he couldn't just time-travel himself out of there, considering Owen Wilson's Mobius was able to use his TemPad to go back to the TVA. As well, I suppose the TV show would be purporting that Kang and Alioth are on the same side in this universe if that happened. Which is really as plausible as anything else at this point, such as Sylvie and Loki potentially teaming up with Kang to get everyone out of The Void, no matter how evil.
Let's not forget that Sylvie and Loki aren't the only ones trying to track down the main threat here. Though Ravonna Renslayer may not need to figure out the TVA's mysteries in the way that Sylvie does, Ravonna is the Loki character with the biggest comic ties to Kang, so it would be a nice underlining to her evolution this season if she would end up aligning with Kang by the end. Not that I think the character is 100% villainous still, since there is still regret and other complicated emotions within her. But she doesn't really have much to hang her hat on following the Time-Keepers' "deaths," so I wouldn't be surprised if Gugu Mbatha-Raw is soon revealed to be part of the And-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania cast alongside Jonathan Majors.
Loki will air its final episode on Disney+ (opens in new tab) on Wednesday, July 14, at 3:00 a.m. ET. Thankfully, Black Widow will help us cope with its absence, and there are plenty of other 2021 Summer TV shows to keep fans busy until the next MCU series rolls along. Let us know in the poll below what you think of Kang's possible arrival!
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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