Ever since Loki first teased the appearance of the Time Variance Authority, we’ve been intrigued. The bureaucratic time controllers play a massive part in the new Disney+ series. Aside from capturing the Variant 2012 Loki, we also learn they protect the so-called “Sacred Timeline.” Basically, the TVA appear to be the most powerful people in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or, at least, the yet-to-be seen Time-Keepers who founded the organization.
As always, we have a theory coming out of episode two. Isn’t the absence of the Time-Keepers a little suspicious? Why is Ravonna the only one who gets to speak to them? Well, we’ve got a huge theory that would upend our expectations of Loki and tie into the already established future of the MCU very nicely. So strap in cos this one is wild.
Watching Loki, you might have noticed a recurring theme. No one but Ravonna Renslayer has seen or spoken to the Time-Keepers. That even excludes a high-ranking manager like Mobius M Mobius, who’s been charged with protecting and pruning the Sacred Timeline. It’s all very Wizard of Oz. And it got us thinking: why would the Time-Keepers set up the TVA yet never actually appear to the workers they created?
We’ve yet to see any proof that the Time-Keepers exist at all. We only know what the TVA tells us about them through Miss Minutes’ videos and agents like Mobius and Ravonna. And before Loki, they’d never intervened during any of the MCU’s major time travel shenanigans.
So let’s ask the big question… Do the Time-Keepers exist?
So What’s Up With the TVA?
If we go with our gut and the evidence, then the answer is no. Or, at least, not in the way the show presents them. In the comics, the Time-Keepers are definitely real, but here we’re not so sure. While the TVA looks very impressive, we have no idea if it’s actually real. We’ve never ventured into that massive futuristic city we see out of the windows. There’s even a chance they’re not windows at all and are just monitors.
Mobius M Mobius said that “time works differently in the TVA.” Could that mean that the TVA has actually not been around very long at all? Maybe it was set up in the late ’80s or early ’90s? That would certainly explain the aesthetic and Mobius’ love of all things ’90s. So if that were the case, then why would the TVA have been set up at all? Well, there are a few potential options and all of them are really, really fun.
Ravonna Renslayer… AKA Terminatrix
The first is that Ravonna—just like the comics—is in cahoots with Kang and the pair have set up the TVA as a front for their time-jumping shenanigans. This would make a lot of sense if Lady Loki is going through time trying to stop Kang throughout history. If that’s the case then Kang and Ravonna setting up a fake time authority to stop them wouldn’t be out of character at all. In fact, it would fit in with Kang’s comic book canon of retrofitting history to fit his needs and wants, and it would explain why Ravonna is the face of the TVA.
But there’s another option too, which seems even more likely. While we’d love to see Kang before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the MCU might be saving him. In that case, it could be that Ravonna is a time lord in her own right. In the comics, she took on the mantle of Terminatrix and was a time traveler and space princess. She also ruled over a very TVA looking world known as Chronopolis. If she was worried about her time meddling being tracked, she could have set up the TVA as a way to halt whoever’s trying to stop her fun. Or she could have established it as a way to find and stop other potential time lords, which could be a fun way to eventually introduce her to Kang.
Kang is That You?
There’s also the potential that an alternate version of Kang, like Immortus or Rama-Tut, established the TVA and the Time-Keepers millennia ago. If that’s the case then the TVA is more like what we’ve already seen, but with a different mission. This would fit with the fact that the Time-Keepers all look like Kang. And it would set him up as a truly powerful antagonist because he has an entire army of time police to control the timelines to his every whim. Seeing as he is the Marvel Universe’s most famous time traveler, this is pretty likely.
The Council of Kangs?!?!?!
Akin to that last theory, there’s a chance that the Time-Keepers are the remaining members of the Council of Kangs. This collection of supreme time lords unites versions of Nathaniel Richards from across all dimensions. In the comics, this coalition ended with a lone remaining Kang attempting to consolidate power by killing the rest of, well, himselves. We could, in the case of Loki, be witnessing three Kangs who united in similar fashion to grab power.
However, taking this even one step further, we could be seeing the lone three remaining members of the Council of Cross-Time Kangs. This group of “Kangs” succeeded the original council and was composed of humanoids and creatures who were not Nathaniel Richards but had taken on the Kang mantle in their realities. During Ravonna’s tenure as the Terminatrix, she interacted with this eclectic Council. This would also explain the diverging appearances of the three Time-Keepers.
What Does It All Mean?
Any of these theories would explain why the TVA has never shown up before. If they were really protecting the “Sacred Timeline,” wouldn’t they have had issues with the Avengers? And seeing as everyone who works there was “created by the Time-Keepers,” we could be seeing a WandaVision style situation where the workers only remember their time in the TVA.
And if you’re wondering how Kang, Ravonna, or the two of them would have the ability to travel through time? Well, just look at any of their comics. In fact, the pair setting up the TVA makes more sense than anything else, especially if the MCU wants to establish a trans-dimensional power couple to face off against Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne…
New episodes of Loki hit Disney+ every Wednesday.
Featured Image: Marvel Studios