The Multiversal War is one of the biggest and most consequential events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and it happened offscreen! What was this explosive conflict, and how did it change MCU history? The latest episode of the Disney+ series Loki contains some new revelations about the mysterious conflict. What did we learn, and what does it mean for the greater MCU? Let’s break it down…
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Loki!
What we know about the MCU's Multiversal War
One of the reasons the Multiversal War is so mysterious is because most of the participants are dead, and most of the survivors have amnesia. Everything we know about the Multiversal War comes from Kang, his variants, and Miss Minutes.
The first mention of the Multiversal War came from He Who Remains during the Loki season 1 finale. “Eons ago, before the TVA, a variant of myself lived on Earth in the 31st century. He was a scientist and he discovered that there were universes stacked on top of his own. At the same time, other versions of us were learning the same thing. Naturally, they made contact. And for a while, there was peace,” He Who Remains explained.
This peace didn’t last long. “To some of us, new worlds meant only one thing, new lands to be conquered. The peace between realities erupted into all-out war, each variant fighting to preserve their universe and annihilate the others,” He Who Remains continued.
According to He Who Remains, he then weaponized a entity known as Alioth, which allowed him to end the Multiversal War, and bring order to the Sacred Timeline. We aren’t told what happened to the other Kangs, but he indicated that the TVA’s curation of the timeline was keeping them in check.
The film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania introduced Kang the Conqueror, the variant who supposedly started the Multiversal War. During the film, Kang explained that he initiated the conflict in order to protect the timeline from his variants. “"Every version of me. My variants. Throughout the multiverse. Playing with time, like children. But I saw how it ends. I saw their chaos spreading across realities. Universes colliding. Endless incursions. I saw the multiverse, and it was dying. All because of them. So, I took control,” Kang recalled. Once the conflict ended, Kang was banished.
The latest episode of Loki gave us some new pieces of information on the Multiversal War. According to Miss Minutes, He Who Remains used the TVA as his army, with Ravonna Renslayer as their commander. “You didn’t just help, it was you who commanded the army,” Miss Minutes revealed.
Renslayer was more than the leader of his army, she was also his lover. In fact, she helped He Who Remains build his utopia at the end of time. Once the conflict was over, He Who Remains erased everyone’s memory. This allowed him to have greater control over the TVA. It’s pretty coldhearted, and now that Renslayer knows the truth, she is furious.
What we think happened in the MCU's Multiversal War
Now that we have another piece of the puzzle, I think it will be fun to speculate on how we think the Multiversal War went down. It’s interesting to contrast He Who Remains’ version of the war with Kang’s version. He Who Remains presents Kang as a tyrant craving conquest, while Kang claims he started the power to protect the timeline from incursions. Can either of them be considered reliable storytellers?
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. The incursions Kang spoke of were probably a real danger, but he chose a solution that played to his desires of conquest. Where do the Council of Kangs fit in? We saw the group of Kang variants in the post-credits of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but we don’t know what their purpose is.
I think He Who Remains’ curation of the Sacred Timeline somehow kept the Council at bay. Now that the Sacred Timeline has branched, the Council of Kangs are once again in power. It’s also possible that the Council was working with He Who Remains all along but based on his speech in the Loki season 1 finale, I doubt that’s the case.
Piecing together Kang and He Who Remains’ statements, it appears the Multiversal War had two opposing factions of Kangs. There were Kangs who wanted to conquer the timeline, and those who wanted to preserve it.
A conflict this big probably drew the attention of Avengers from multiple timelines. Don’t forget, Kang told Scott Lang that he’s killed so many Avengers that he’s lost track. We weren’t told if those battles were part of the Multiversal War, but it’s a pretty safe bet to assume they were.
In fact, this is where I like to let my fanboy imagination go wild. If this Multiversal War included heroes from various timelines, maybe it included other media versions of Marvel heroes. Perhaps the Nic Cage Ghost Rider and the Chris Evans Human Torch fought in the Multiversal War. The idea sounds like self-indulgent fanservice, but I’m a fan, so let me enjoy being served!
I can’t help but compare this to the Clone Wars, an infamous conflict from the Star Wars saga. Like the Multiversal War, the Clone Wars started off as an offscreen conflict that occurred in the past. Fans speculated on it for years, zeroing in on every vague reference the characters made. Now we have multiple Clone Wars projects, including a long-running animated series. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Multiversal War television series one day. Until then, I will enjoy speculating on how the fabled conflict played out.
Look for more of this to play out in the upcoming MCU movies & TV shows.