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The variant Loki in the show exists because he took the Tesseract.

Kid Loki exists because he killed Thor.

Sylvie herself didn't do anything to be pruned.
The only way she can exist is if Odin retrieved a girl Frost Giant or if she is the offspring of Odin (or some other thing that Odin did for her to be Loki). Therefore, the timeline in whatever Odin did should have been pruned and Sylvie would never have become Loki.

The same logic applies to Alligator Loki and Boastful Loki.
They are physically different to the MCU Loki so should have been pruned before existing in the first place.

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    As long as the sanctioned events play out in the same way, it doesn't matter what gender or species Loki is. However, if they kill Thor, or refuse to work for Thanos, or steal the space stone, only then is it a problem.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 19 at 11:49
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    Re: "The only way she can exist is if Odin retrieved a girl Frost Giant" : In the first frame of the video in this tweet from the @LokiOfficial account, it shows the TVA's file on Loki. If you zoom in, you can see the "SEX" field is marked "FLUID." That suggests to me that it's not a case of grabbing a male or female frost giant, rather, that she is that very same frost giant in her timeline as Loki was in his.
    – Davy M
    Jul 19 at 19:42
  • From the 6th episode, Sylvie's situation might not even require a genuine nexus event. If she was selected by He Who Remains then the TVA might not have had any other reason to pull her from the Sacred Timeline. Jul 19 at 21:05
  • They shouldn't exist. That's a plot hole that simply wasn't patched. Partially because of rule of cool, but mainly because they wanted "female Loki" so much, but didn't have the mechanics to do that.
    – Mithoron
    Jul 31 at 23:04
  • I really like the combo of Davy and Frog's answers. Since Kang wanted them there to make the big decision, it's very likely that there was no Nexus event and the TVA was just told you grab Sylvie at that exact moment. Also that's a really good catch that the sex of Loki is fluid. Loki could have changed themselves into Sylvie or any other child form and it just so happens they were grabbed at the point of being Sylvie Aug 12 at 2:13
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You've got a misunderstanding of how the Sacred Timeline works and it wasn't really until the last episode that I realised this myself. The Sacred Timeline actually consists of all the universes in the multiverse squashed down together into the same timeline, so the overall flow of time is the same. However, this still allows for differences in appearance because they don't necessarily affect the flow of time. It can also allow for slight differences that don't affect the flow of time.

When Miss Minutes gives her introductory speech to Loki we're told the TVA are just protecting the proper flow of time. They're not making sure everything and ever detail is 100% correct but rather that the outcome of everything is always correct.

Miss Minutes: Long ago, there was a vast multiversal war. Countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy, nearly resulting in the total destruction of... well, everything. But then, the all-knowing Time-Keepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline, the Sacred Timeline. Now, the Time-Keepers protect and preserve the proper flow of time for everyone and everything.

Miss Minutes: But sometimes, people like you veer off the path the Time-Keepers created. We call those Variants. Maybe you started an uprising, or were just late for work. Whatever it was, stepping off your path created a nexus event, which, left unchecked, could branch off into madness, leading to another multiversal war.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 1, "Glorious Purpose"

Also when Loki and Mobius are talking about apocalyptic events they briefly touch on what causes a nexus event and it is only mentioned about doing something they're not supposed to do. I.e. once again only about changing the flow of time.

Loki: Nexus events happen when someone does something they're not supposed to do, right?

mobius: Well, it's a little more complicated, but, yeah.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 2, "The Variant"

Again when He Who Remains is talking to Loki and Sylvie all he mentions is protecting the timeline and flow of time.

He Who Remains: Once I isolated our timeline, all I had to do was manage the flow of time and prevent any further branches. Hence, the TVA. Hence, the Time-Keepers and a highly efficient bureaucracy. Hence, ages... and ages of cosmic harmony.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 6, "For All Time, Always"

This means that some physical differences and even minor differences are okay as long as they don't lead to a nexus event and so the timeline branching. Then the timeline timeline proceeds as expected/written and the TVA do not need to get involved.

It's also worth noting that the TVA aren't fool proof, Sylvie can only hide out because she's already found a hole in their system: they're not really monitoring large scale apocalyptic events because any changes there won't cause nexus events. In a similar vein they might not even be monitoring for physical differences as in the grand scheme of things they probably don't cause nexus events.

Loki: If everything and everyone around you is destined for imminent destruction, then nothing that I say or do will matter, because the timeline's not gonna branch. 'Cause it gets destroyed. Hence, the Variant could be hiding in the apocalypse and do whatever he wants, and we wouldn't know!

Loki, Season 1 Episode 2, "The Variant"


I just want to address a misconception you have as well. It's not that Sylvie didn't do anything or didn't have a Nexus Event, we just don't know what it is and Ravonna refuses to say.

Ravonna: What do you wanna say to me, Variant?

Sylvie: What was my nexus event? Why did you bring me in?

Ravonna: What does it matter?

Sylvie: It was enough to take my life from me, lead to all of this. Must have been important. So, what was it?

Ravonna: I don't remember.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 4, "The Nexus Event"

Note that with a season 2 on the cards it's possible we may find out there. Kate Herron, the director, has spoken about her nexus event but doesn't divulge what it is just yet:

My interpretation of it is that it's definitely open for discussion, because I wouldn't want to shut that down. I think it's kind of fun seeing everyone and their read on it. But I think there's something tragic, in the sense that we see her as a little girl and she's playing with her toys, and it doesn't seem like it's a big thing that she's done. So I think that's the really key thing with her is that we don't necessarily know what the exact event was, but it wasn't villainous, and it didn't seem [that way]. I think that's the clear thing, particularly with Episode 4, is that obviously our perspective on the TVA started to shift. For example, it was really important for me showing her going through the same process as Loki but it's like, 'Okay, how do we show that through the eyes of a child that's also innocent?' And we should feel, as an audience, wrongfully there. So I think that was really key for us.

[...]

But in terms of like, what exactly it was, I would kind of just leave that open to the fans to discuss because yeah, I think it's fun. I have my own idea of what it is, but I think in my head, it's definitely something innocent and something out of her control. Which kind of plays into the fact that not everyone arrested by the TVA is necessarily like Loki and has stolen a tesseract and created this branch. Sometimes you accidentally do just step onto the wrong leaf and you create this branch. Do those people, where it's accidental, do they deserve to go through this process where ultimately they're deleted by the TVA? Probably not. Or maybe they do, for the better of servicing and protecting the timeline. So yeah, that's kind of all part of the discussion.

Cinema Blend, Loki Director On Sylvie's Nexus Event And Why We Didn't See More Of Her Timeline Reset Attack

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    FWIW, a common fan theory regarding Sylvie is that she was originally the Loki we know, but decided to instead present as a girl, Loki being a shapeshifter in the MCU and in mythology, maybe due to Frigga's death, and was evidently idolizing valkyries, which would lead her away from the villainous foil role Loki generally plays for Thor.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 19 at 12:10
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    I know you've got plenty of upvotes and this answer is perfectly servicable, but Asgardians being or presenting as crocodiles isn't a minor physical difference that the TVA just wouldn't notice. It would be helpful if you more clearly focused on the Sacred Timeline still comprising a multiverse of acceptable alternate realities, since that is the crux of the answer to OP's question. The only important bit of pruning necessary is nixing any potential realities where ██████████████████████████████.
    – lly
    Jul 19 at 21:01
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    @lly physical differences in general doesn’t appear to matter and we don’t know what Alligator Loki’s nexus event was. For all we know it was Loki transforming himself into an alligator and getting stuck like that. Also the question of whether or not Alligator Loki is an actual Loki is somewhat up for debate. Feel free to write your own answer if you want though :) (Also no idea what the black boxes are and assuming it’s spoiler protection how you uncover them).
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 19 at 21:10
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    @FuzzyBoots Loki, a shapeshifter, having a female or alligator variant doesn't address us seeing Throg (i.e. the Frog variant of Thor, a non-shapeshifter) Jul 20 at 14:31
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    @DarrelHoffman There does seem to be some higher level of communication than that "That's alligator for growling and saying "liar" at the same time." but maybe we shouldn't take that at face value. And really Alligator Loki was pretty much added for a joke and because Waldron could get away with adding him. We probably shouldn't read too much into the character at all.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 22 at 13:30
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Loki can shapeshift.

How can Loki have alternate physical forms? It's pretty simple and straight-forward. They're a shapeshifter. They can shapeshift with their magic.

If Loki wants to be a girl, they can turn themselves into a girl. If they want to be an alligator, they can turn themselves into an alligator. We can see that Loki is capable of this in Thor: Ragnarok, when they shapeshift into a dupicate of Odin.

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    Except for the fact that Sylvie claims to have been born a girl, not shape-shifted into one.
    – Corey
    Jul 20 at 7:28
  • @Corey That shapeshifting ability might be ingrained even in the womb. She could simply have chosen to shift into a female fetus prenatally, or at least early enough in her infancy to have no memory of it. For all we know, frost giants don't even have fixed genders or appearances. Maybe they just make a subconscious choice early on and stick with it out of habit? Jul 20 at 13:35
  • In Norse mythology, Loki gave birth to some of the creatures of the mythology like Sleipnir and the Fenris Wolf. If he can shapeshift that completely for a period of time, perhaps he was born female.
    – NomadMaker
    Jul 21 at 2:32
  • @DarrelHoffman It's entirely possible that Sylvie might have been lying (they are a Loki, after all), or that they were a transgender individual that felt that they were born in the wrong body.
    – nick012000
    Jul 21 at 4:59
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To expand upon the answer given by TheLethalCarrot, what matters isn't that the timelines match exactly, but that key events play out in a way that is sanctioned by the TVA.

But that doesn't explain how we can have physically different Lokis and not deviate from TVA canon, since Loki seems to be a key player in events that the TVA cares about. After all, if Loki isn't Loki, will he even act like Loki?

As others have mentioned, one possibility is that they are all genetically the same being in different forms, either due to shape-shifting or because Odin chose a different glamour. After all, most Loki variants do look like our Loki. I like this interpretation because it jives nicely with the identity theme of the show - it shows Loki who he might have become under different circumstances. But sadly, I don't think it is true for the simple reason that Sylvie said that she was born a girl.

The second possibility is that the Lokis that don't look like our Loki are offspring of Laufey conceived at around the same point in the timeline as our Loki but with a different sperm/egg - effectively siblings of our Loki. From there, only those who were dispositionally similar enough to our Loki to act in a TVA-approved manner escaped pruning. Of course, there could also be Lokis who were born of Laufey variants, or timelines where Odin didn't find the baby on a rock and adopted a different baby instead. But statistically speaking, the vast majority of timelines are only going to deviate from the sanctioned timeline in minuscule ways, so these exotic sorts of variants will be relatively rare.

But what about Boastful Loki? All Frost Giants are blue, so the fact that he has brown skin is irrelevant. It would have been Odin or Loki's choice. Maybe Odin was thinking about Heimdall that day?

And what about alligator Loki? Honestly, alligator Loki is there for the memes and I don't think the writers even want us to think about it. But I can't help myself, so my headcanon is that he/she/they got stuck in that form after shape-shifting.

But doesn't this make the Loki/Sylvie romance incestuous? Technically, yeah, but since they weren't raised together maybe it doesn't matter? Still, the writers could have circumvented the ick factor by making the answer to these questions explicit or not making their relationship romantic in the first place.

Edit: Sylvie's full name in the TVA files is Sylvie Laufeydottir, so we know that she at least is a child of Laufey.

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    When it comes to alligator Loki... even the other Lokis aren't necessarily convinced that it (he?) is actually a Loki variant. For all we know someone dressed up a pet for a costume party, and it ended up getting pruned.
    – Corey
    Jul 20 at 7:27
  • I don't think we can put too much stock in her last name, or Loki's for that matter. In the original Thor movie, we see that Loki was not aware that Odin wasn't his real father until well into adulthood. Jul 20 at 13:39
  • When it comes to Alligator Loki aka (Best Loki) I like to think that since we also saw Throg that maybe in the comic line where Thor gets turned into a frog perhaps Loki was turned into an alligator and the TVA pruned that reality because it broke the Sacred Timeline. Remember that variants can come from the multiverse or the main time line, meaning we can have Loki's that are just from a different time, but are the same as main MCU Loki or we can have different universe Loki's.
    – Villan
    Jul 20 at 16:03

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