The Temporal Loom is central to Loki’s second season, and we learn it’s critical in making the Time Variance Authority function. But what is Loki‘s Temporal Loom exactly? Here’s what we know about the Temporal Loom from Loki season two and what we can glean from Loki‘s various inspirations.
The MCU’s Loom: Loki Season Two’s Temporal Loom
Created by He Who Remains at some unknown point in time, Loki‘s Temporal Loom takes raw temporal energy and refines it into a physical timeline. Part of the reason the TVA prunes the extra timelines is so that the Temporal Loom doesn’t overload trying to “weave” too many timelines at once. Without the Temporal Loom, the TVA can’t function. And if it overloads, the TVA goes boom, and all of reality would soon follow. In episode two, we learn that a meltdown can’t be prevented without the temporal aura, or time signature, of He Who Remains. Who is currently quite dead.
By the third episode of Loki season two, the Temporal Loom is indeed overloading, thanks to the countless branched timelines that are returning with the death of He Who Remains. It simply wasn’t made to handle so many divergent timelines branching off at once. And without it, not only does the TVA cease to function, but chaos will reign in the multiverse. But we also learned of the origins of the Temporal Loom and how they tie into a specific Kang variant.
Victor Timely and the Origins of the MCU’s Temporal Loom
In episode three of Loki’s second season, Loki and Morbius travel back in time to the year 1893. There, they encounter a variant of He Who Remains. This variant, Victor Timely, is presenting his latest invention at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. It’s a very rudimentary version of the Temporal Loom, sold to the 19th-century audience as a way of harnessing energy. Victor Timely was able to create this Temporal Loom prototype based on his understanding of the descriptions of the TVA manual. A book that was left for him by Ravonna Renslayer and Miss Minutes when he was a child. Of course, the Temporal Loom malfunctions on stage after a mere few minutes. Yet it shows that as early as the 1890s, a Kang variant was working on the very thing that would make the TVA run.
Loki‘s Temporal Loom Isn’t Designed to Support the MCU’s Multiverse
In episode four, Loki and Mobius bring Victor Timely to the TVA to fix the overloaded Temporal Loom. They need the temporal aura of He Who Remains to open the blast doors to the Loom, which Timely matches. But Timely provided another service, what he called his “greatest invention” in the previous episode. Timley’s greatest invention is something that looks like a primitive version of Kang’s Multiversal Power Core from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He can attach this invention to the Throughput Multiplier and expand the rings of the Temporal Loom. This would allow the new branched timelines to filter through, and save the TVA, and all reality. However, it doesn’t quite work out that way.
When Victor Timely tries to head out and fix the loom, he turns into spaghetti. And the Temporal Loom, well, it overloads and explodes. This explosion destroys the TVA, which appears to doom every branch, too. Every universe and thread of reality appears to literally shred, and there is nowhere to go for anyone except Loki, who finally manages to control his time slipping. But in the finale of season two, we learn that the Temporal Loom is a failsafe; it’s not designed to support the multiverse. No matter how many times Loki tries to get expanding it right, it simply always fails because it’s impossible to scale up for an infinite number of timelines. He Who Remains explains that the Loom’s purpose isn’t to support a multiverse of endless branches, but to destroy everything but the sacred timeline. To keep existence stable for other branches, something else has to be done.
Loki Replaces the Temporal Loom with Himself
In Loki season 2’s final episode, Loki destroys the Temporal Loom and replaces it with himself, forming the great tree of Yggdrasil out of the timelines and supporting them with his magic. With Loki at the center, the universe and all its branches can exist and thrive in a way they could not when the Temporal Loom wove the universe.
That’s the MCU. But does Loki‘s Temporal Loom have a precedent in the pages of Marvel Comics? Well, yes and no. But mostly, no. However, Loki season two’s Temporal Loom found inspiration in various parts of Marvel’s comics and actual myth.
Loki‘s Temporal Loom and Its Mythological Inspirations
In Greek mythology, there is a Loom of the Fates, which also exists in the Marvel Universe. In Norse mythology, that loom is the Loom of the Norns. (Marvel Comics combines these two mythologies together into one.) Essentially, in mythology, the three Fates weave this loom to shape the life and destiny of every being in creation. Thor destroyed the Loom of the Fates in Thor Vol. 2 #85 and broke the thread that holds the destiny of Asgardians, from which Those Who Sit Above in Shadow were absorbing energy. Those Who Sit Above were the silent beings who created the Asgardian Gods. So it’s fitting that a powerful loom that determines how the universe flows originated in Thor comics since the MCU’s Temporal Loom now appears in Loki, thus tying it to Thor’s mythos.
In the Spider-Man lore, there’s another powerful loom of sorts, reminiscent of Loki‘s temporal loom. The loom in this instance is a whole world itself, one that accesses all existence. There’s an entire Loomworld, where beings called the Inheritors could access the Web of Life and Destiny to travel across the multiverse and hunt down Spider-Totems. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse especially drew inspiration from this. They created the Loomworld of conquered realms from countless wars fought across realities. Eventually, several spider-people formed the Web-Warriors. They operated from Loomworld and used it as a focal point to protect the multiverse, which is similar to how the MCU’s TVA works.
Temporal Limbo, Chronopolis, and the Heart of Forever
In the comics, Kang did not create the TVA. There was a “He Who Remains,” but as far as we know, he’s not a Kang variant. However, the TVA has a lot in common with the realm of Limbo, a place outside of time historically ruled by Immortus, who was, of course, a Kang variant. Temporal Limbo was a timeless realm facilitating time travel to various points in history. Much like the MCU’s TVA, it existed outside the time stream. And time did not flow there the way it does everywhere else.
Limbo is also part of Chronicles, which has something very similar to the MCU’s TVA. At its heart is the most important component of the city, the Heart of Forever. It’s a trans-chronal engine that enabled Kang’s home to exist in every branch of the timestream simultaneously. While not exactly like the Temporal Loom in Loki, it has key similarities.
In the end, Loki‘s Temporal Loom is a hodgepodge of different elements from the pages of Marvel Comics—not to mention actual mythology itself. Ultimately, though, the Temporal Loom is a unique creation designed for the MCU. However, we’d hardly be surprised to see it retconned into the comics at some point.
Originally published on October 5, 2023.