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From my understanding, a nexus event is when someone does something that goes against the Sacred Timeline, specifically things that have cascading effects.

The Avengers' actions in Endgame didn't create a nexus event because they were "supposed to happen" (Renslayer, Ep01). Loki taking the Tesseract did create one so he was captured by the TVA.

However some of the events of Endgame only happened because he took the Tesseract, i.e. Stark and Rogers going to 1970 to get the Tesseract.

If the 1970 mission was supposed to happen, then surely Loki making it happen by taking the Tesseract should also have supposed to happen. So how did it make a nexus event?

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    I'll add a caution that the last episode is yet to come out, and we don't know who/what is truly behind the TVA. For example, they may have made up nexus events entirely to drive the timeline towards some goal. The true answer may not be available until the finale is released. Jul 12 at 20:44
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    slashfilm.com/avengers-endgame-final-scene-explained everyone should read this again. I'd speculate that TVA wants the two major Endgame timelines to exist - but do not want Loki running around in the second one. Most variants appear to be spontaneous splits anyway and do not require Endgame level time travel events. Scientifically (in a scifi MCU sense) if any mere subatomic particle took a trip back in time that would split the universe and provide a degree of freedom for someone to make a choice the TVA didn't approve of. Jul 12 at 22:19
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    Saw this in the top-10 while browsing somewhere else. Spoiler much?
    – AnoE
    Jul 13 at 8:15
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    @AnoE If you feel the title is too spoilery you can always suggest an edit to improve it, though some balance needs to be struck between a useful title and one that's too spoilery.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 13 at 9:12
  • Simply, it was meant to be the Avengers who take the Space Stone, not Loki.
    – Möoz
    Jul 15 at 4:35
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Firstly, what we see in Avengers: Endgame around that point is already in a nexus event. We're watching the branched timeline as we see Loki take the Tesseract and escape. This means that the Sacred Timeline is slightly different. This could be something as small as Loki just never actually picks up the Tesseract to escape but the plan is shot and they can't get it themselves now. Or it could be something completely different altogether. I don't think there's any information on what should have actually happened here though.

Note though that as per the rules set up in Avengers: Endgame the branched timeline that Infinity Stones are taken from can be erased by simply putting the Stones back so they never really left.

The Ancient One: The Infinity Stones create what you experience as the flow of time. Remove one of the stones, and that flow splits. Now this may benefit your reality. But my new one, not so much. In this new branched reality, without our chief weapon against the forces of darkness, our world will be overrun. Millions will suffer. So, tell me, doctor, can your science prevent all that?

Banner: No. But we can erase it. Because once we're done with the stones, we can return each one into its own timeline at the moment it was taken. So, chronologically... In that reality.... it never left.

Avengers: Endgame

Whilst the Tesseract was not taken out of this timeline the Time Stone and the Mind Stone (inside the Scepter) were taken and then placed back. This means that any branched reality here was erased as the Stone was returned. As the timeline continued as it should do this means no nexus event is created around this moment.

It is worth noting though that head writer for Loki has the following to say:

Marvel already made its case for how time travel works in Avengers: Endgame, but that, Waldron points out, “is the way the Avengers understand it.” With a TV show it’s a little different. “I was always very acutely aware of the fact that there’s a week between each of our episodes and these fans are going to do exactly what I would do, which is pick this apart. We wanted to create a time-travel logic that was so airtight it could sustain over six hours. There’s some time-travel sci-fi concepts here that I’m eager for my Rick and Morty colleagues to see.”

Vanity Fair, How the Man Behind Loki Is Shaping Marvel’s Phase 4 and Beyond

This just means that what we understand from Avengers: Endgame isn't entirely true and that makes sense given Markus and McFeely's comments in the past about Steve staying in the same timeline, paraphrasing from memory: "there are time travel loopholes for that".

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    @lucasbachmann How does it say the opposite? And in Endgame it's only stated that removing an Infinity Stone causes a branch. Time travel means you simply don't go into your own past but rather your future.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 12 at 13:55
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    @lucasbachmann - Her timeline graph is a measure of the lack of economic and social well-being of the inhabitants of a country?
    – Adamant
    Jul 13 at 0:27
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    @lucasbachmann - Uh, I mean, Dormammu also wanted to suck the planet into a hell dimension, but I guess you could could focus on the economy if you like.
    – Adamant
    Jul 13 at 0:49
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    @WernerCD It was complicated because the old scientist was dead and they didn't have a lot of time-travel fuel. Once resurrected, they can go whenever they want easily.
    – Echox
    Jul 13 at 7:52
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    @lucasbachmann Feel free to watch the scene again. When Banner places the stone back, the branching timeline disappears. The whole point is that only big changes create a new timeline and that if they put back the stone a few moments after taking it, the universe perceive it as if nothing really happened.
    – Echox
    Jul 13 at 8:00
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Unclear at this time

It is not certain that anything about the "Sacred Timeline" is actually truthful. Revelations in later episodes of Loki suggest that there may be ulterior motives for the nudges in the timeline, from ensuring a "correct" future to harvesting variants for the agency's own use. In fact, a common fan theory about Loki's Variants is that they are being pruned because the TVA is trying to avoid a situation where he achieves personal growth, and ceases to be a chronic backstabber and be a thorn in the side of the Avengers.

Ultimately, I suspect the answer may not be provided until later episodes of the show.

3
  • I agree with this so have upvoted, however, I personally believe that what we've heard about the Sacred Timeline is true... the TVA are forcing one timeline so the answer here may still be the same. It's just the motives for why they are doing so and who is in control that aren't exactly truthful.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 12 at 12:13
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    It would appear that the motivations of the TVA were pretty truthful.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 14 at 23:14
  • And the ending reminds me of the ending of the first season of Jackie Chan animated series. Jul 15 at 19:02
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The Avengers put the stones back where they came from. That ensured the timeline wouldn't branch regardless of when they were taken. They erased the branches themselves so the TVA didn't have to:

We can erase it. Once we’re done with the stones, we can return each one to its own timeline the moment it was taken so, chronologically, in that reality, it never left.

-- Bruce Banner, Avengers: Endgame (2019)

However, Loki stealing a stone does create a nexus event, because he had no intention of putting it back. The branch would continue without TVA intervention.

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    Banner is NOT saying the timeline will be erased rather the risk to a universe missing its stones because they effectively won't be gone if they are put back. Further Loki stealing a stone doesn't remove it from its universe but it apparently is a deviation from its fate as defined by TVA. Jul 12 at 13:56
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    @lucasbachmann "it" is "this new branched reality". Banner is 100% saying that the branched timeline will be erased. Removing the stone 100% creates a new one. It couldn't be more clearly stated.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 12 at 14:03
  • No - the "it" is "Millions will suffer. So, tell me, doctor, can your science prevent all that?" Jul 12 at 14:13
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    @OrangeDog Actually, English doesn't have rules like that. It has guidelines. While the subject is often clear, there are situations in which it is not. This is one of those. It would take clarification from the person making the statement to figure it out. Also, we don't have a good way of talking about novel things like alternate realities because English developed for centuries before that concept even arose.
    – Corey
    Jul 13 at 6:23
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    @OrangeDog In this specific instance, "we can erase it" is a substitution/modification for "can your science prevent all that" - which clearly was in regards to the broader outcome of the removal of the stone(s), the pain and suffering, not the existence of the alternate reality. Of course he's wrong... you'd just end up with yet another branch where the stone was returned. Screwing with time is always a bad idea.
    – Corey
    Jul 13 at 6:27
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An entirely plausible explanation is that the Variant Loki was indeed meant to steal the Teseract and create a "planned" nexus event.

A nexus event isn't something happening differently to what was "written" in the Sacred Timeline. It's something that could, if left unchecked, lead to an entirely new timeline.

These two definitions usually go hand-in-hand: if something goes differently from what was written in the Sacred Timeline, it could lead to a new timeline. That's a nexus event.

However, the two definitions can also diverge in that the Sacred Timeline might include things which are at risk of becoming nexus events. So sure, Variant Loki was "meant" to steal the Teseract so that Endgame could happen as "written" in the Sacred Timeline. He was also "meant" to be subsequently pruned so that he otherwise had no impact on the timeline.

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Well, the Sacred Timeline isn't perfect. We know that because Sylvie wasn't taken at birth and lived a few years of life before the TVA showed up.

My guess then is that because the Avengers were able to get the Infinity Stones all the same and didn't die or anything, they weren't reset at all. So even though what Loki did wasn't supposed to happen, it ended up working out with little to no cascading effect.

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