When Loki died at the end of Thor, it seemed like a plausible end to his character. It was not. His second sacrifice in Thor: The Dark World was a more obvious fake-out. The third time, when Thanos choked him out in Avengers: Infinity War, seemed to stick, but it only took until Avengers: Endgame to reveal the variant Loki loophole that led to the god of mischief starring in his own TV show. This is all to say that when Loki the TV series killed Loki for the fourth time by pruning his variant from the sacred timeline, you'd have to have some serious pattern recognition deficiencies if you thought he was really gone.
Episode 4 of Loki took a page from Thor's book and brought Loki back in a mid credit scene, but this one did a lot more than reveal that the Loki variant was still alive — it changed the game for what the Time Variance Authority is actually up to when they prune variants and might have opened the door to an entirely new corner of the multiverse.
To begin with, that glowing stick thingy that allegedly prunes variants from all timelines is clearly not doing that. Instead of disappearing Loki (and Mobius, one must assume) from all time, the mid-credit scene showed our Loki variant waking up in a never-before-seen dimension that requires a more careful second look to make sense. In addition to showing four more Loki variants (we'll get to those in a minute), fans pointed out on Twitter that the background of this strange land appears to show a destroyed Avengers Tower.
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Avengers Tower was never destroyed in the sacred timeline, but it may have been destroyed if Loki's 2012 invasion of New York had succeeded. If this place is where variant Lokis go when they're pruned, it may be that this place is a combination of pruned timelines as well — the timelines where Loki actually won.
In the brief moments Episode 4 lets us glimpse this potentially pruned Loki-land, perhaps the Lokiverse, four new characters show up to greet our variant Loki. There's a tall Black Loki with a Mjolnir-looking hammer of his own, an older Loki wearing the comic book character's original costume, a kid Loki, and a small alligator wearing Loki's horns. Let's break those new characters down.
The credits for episode 4 name this guy Boastful Loki and reveal that he is played by Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean actor DeObia Oparei. Boastful Loki has no precedent in the comics, but his hammer is pretty cool and may indicate that he's a "worthy" Loki variant with a hammer of his own.
Richard E. Grant himself plays Classic Loki, an obvious throwback to Loki's original costume complete with underwear over his tights and enormous curved horns. This isn't the first time the MCU has played with their characters' classic costumes — remember when Wanda dressed up in the original Scarlet Witch getup for Halloween in WandaVision?
Would everyone please update their Young Avengers in the Disney+ MCU tallies accordingly? Kid Loki is in the house. This little whippersnapper is a fan favorite version of Loki from the comic books, where Loki was reborn into the body of a child. He still had Loki's tricky personality but was determined not to become the villain his older self was, which led to him idolizing Thor and becoming a Young Avenger for a while. If this kid sticks around, he's going to be a huge deal.
It's an alligator, not a crocodile. If you care about that sort of thing.
We don't know exactly where the mid-credit scene from episode 4 of Loki takes place, or what the part the other variant Lokis will play in the show's final two episodes, but if the pattern from WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier holds up, a mid-credit scene marks the point where Disney+ Marvel shows start getting real about what's going on. Whatever that is, it's sure to be a mischievous good time.
Loki is streaming on Disney+.