The following contains spoilers about the “Loki” season finale.
(CNN)The big news about the “Loki” finale, as it turned out, is that it wasn’t really a finale at all, but rather more of a beginning than an ending.
Not only did the sixth episode introduce Jonathan Majors as comic-book villain Kang the Conqueror (even if the “Kang” part of the name went unsaid), but it closed by announcing during the credit sequence that the Marvel series would return for a second season, which explains all the loose ends left dangling across its timeline.
Speculation has been high that Majors’ time-traveling villain, already slotted to co-star in the upcoming “Ant-Man” sequel, as Deadline first reported, would play a major role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In what can only be described as an audacious stroke — setting up a story that promises to ripple through the Marvel movies via streaming service Disney+ — that promise appears to have been realized. Kang (lacking another name at this point) spent most of the finale laying out a choice for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino): Take over the Time Variance Authority or kill him, and unleash “cataclysmic chaos” in the form of “multiversal war” across various realities.
Loki believed him but his variant soulmate didn’t, and her impulsive decision seemed to trigger the latter reaction, after Majors’ character closed with the ominous warning, “See you soon.”
Given the protracted buildup, and at least two episodes where not much happened in terms of advancing the plot, the finale offered an appropriately jarring payoff, even if it left behind more questions than it answered.
On the plus side, Majors (fresh off his Emmy-nominated role in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country”) looks like a splendid potential villain going forward. On the down side, frittering with time and alternate universes can become a headache-inducing mess — just ask the Terminator movies — despite the nifty contortions that went into undoing Thanos’ genocide in “Avengers: Endgame.”
As Kang told them during his extended monologue, the danger in removing a dictator is “what fills the void?”
With the “Loki” finale, Marvel has seemingly taken a major step toward filling a void in the next phase of its movie and TV projects. Having now whetted fans’ appetite, will the studio again be able to deliver on a narrative likely destined to spill across various titles?
As Kang might say, only time will tell.