Full spoilers follow for Loki season 2 episode 1, plus the entirety of Loki season 1.
There's plenty that's packed into the first episode, titled 'Ouroboros', of Loki's second season. However, one of the premiere's most important plot threads – one that, without spoiling too much, is threaded through the Marvel TV show's first four episodes – concerns the Temporal Loom.
This gigantic machine, which was created alongside the Time Variance Authority (TVA), is not only one of the lynchpins around which Loki season 2 is built; it's also a device that adjusts our view of how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) operates, the creation of the so-called Sacred Timeline, and more.
In this guide, we'll explain what the Temporal Loom is, its role in the Marvel Phase 5 TV series, and why it's so vital to our understanding of the MCU and its future. Major spoilers follow for season 2's opening episode. If you're after something less spoiler-filled, read our full thoughts on Loki season 2's first four entries.
What is the Temporal Loom? And who created it?
As Ouroboros – O.B, to his friends and colleagues – explains, the Temporal Loom is the heart of the TVA. It's a humungous device that converts raw time, from the timestream, into physical realities. Essentially, it takes raw energy from the cosmos and refines it into the various dimensions we've previously seen (and those we're yet to see) in the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
The Temporal Loom's other big role is weaving those various universes together to form the so-called Sacred Timeline. Remember, in the Loki season 1 finale, He Who Remains – a variant of Kang of the Conqueror, who created the TVA in the wake of the Multiversal War – revealed that the Sacred Timeline is the term given to the collection of realities that he isolated.
These realms were gathered together because, despite their individual look and feel, they share the same baseline. That being, realities that only lead to the birth of He Who Remains, not his evil multiversal variants, such as Rama Tut, Scarlet Centurion, and Immortus, who we saw in one of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's post-credits scenes.
Once those universes were separated from their brethren, the Temporal Loom (which He Who Remains created) knotted them together to form the Sacred Timeline. The TVA's employees, who are all variants removed from their timelines and brainwashed into thinking they've always worked for the multiversal organization, were then tasked with maintaining the Sacred Timeline's integrity. That meant pruning branching realities that lead to chaotic problems if left unchecked, which formed the basis of Loki season 1's overarching plot.
What's wrong with the Temporal Loom in Loki season 2?
The main problem He Who Remains' plan has, though, is that nobody living on the Sacred Timeline has free will. If their choices caused a branching reality to emerge (what the MCU refers to as Nexus Events), the TVA would immediately prune it. For instance, when Loki stole the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, which allowed him to escape imprisonment on Asgard following his defeat in The Avengers, he created a branching timeline. That's why he was tracked down by the TVA in Loki episode 1 and subsequently arrested.
Anyway, in Loki episode 6, one of the trickster god's variants, Sylvie, killed He Who Remains. By murdering the man responsible for the TVA's creation and the Sacred Timeline's stability, Sylvie effectively imparted free will on every sentient being across the Multiverse. Long story short: every new individual decision means more branching realities, which leads to the creation of new universes.
The Temporal Loom doesn't have the capacity to weave all of these new timelines together. As such, a bottleneck forms at the Temporal Loom's entrance as a seemingly infinite number of realities try to squeeze their way onto the Sacred Timeline. Eventually, that will cause the Temporal Loom's reactor to overheat, resulting in a meltdown and causing the multiverse's destruction.
How can Loki and the TVA fix the Temporal Loom? And what impact will it have on the MCU?
Usually, the artificial intelligence known as Miss Minutes is in charge of the Temporal Loom, and would likely be able to retrofit it with new parts to handle the massive influx of new realities. However, she's gone rogue, meaning it's up to Loki and company to try and save the day.
Luckily, O.B. – the TVA's engineer-in-chief – believes he has a solution. However, it'll take time for him to assemble a device to modify the Temporal Loom's volume, so he has to close the TVA's blast doors to protect the institution from the temporal radiation outside its walls. In the meantime, Loki (now cured of his time-slipping ailment) and Mobius have to track down Sylvie to keep her safe from General Dox's renegade faction of Minutemen.
Everyone needs to move as quickly as possible, however. The emergence of new branches increases the possibility of maniacal Kang variants (and their universes) making their way onto the Sacred Timeline. Not only that, the addition of all these new realities could lead to multiple Incursions. As we learned in Doctor Strange 2, these are events where two universes collide after prolonged multiversal travel by an individual, resulting in the entire destruction of one or both realities. If one or more evil Kang variants travel to other worlds to try and conquer them, the threat of Incursions grows exponentially, which could also destroy the multiverse.
Depending on how Loki season 2 plays out, as well as how it ends, Loki and the TVA's decisions could have huge ramifications for the rest of the MCU. It could affect the plots of upcoming Marvel movies, such as The Marvels and Deadpool 3. The latter will definitely be a multiverse-centric film, so Loki season 2 will certainly influence its plot. It'll surely have a big say in The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, aka the next two Avengers movies, too, given the involvement of multiple Kang variants.
We'll be adding the latest information from each new Loki season 2 episode to this article as they're released, so bookmark this page for new updates every Friday.
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