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In the last episode of Loki, killing He Who Remains changes the reality in the TVA. And he says that killing him will unleash his evil variants. But how?

How does killing a person in the future undo what they did in the past? It would make sense if Sylvie killed him in the past before he made contact with his other variants.

Also, isn't it established in Endgame that time travel can't change reality? If you travel to the past and change something, you create a new time-line. The other still exists. So Sylvie sends Loki back before killing Kang, and then a new time-line is created. This way, Loki's reality shouldn't change.

What am I missing?

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    Presumably he was going to do thing (in the past) in his own personal future. Killing him prevents those things from now happening
    – Valorum
    Jul 19, 2021 at 22:39
  • What I got out of it is that the TVA was putting all their effort into making sure the parallel universes stayed essentially the same. When he was killed instantly the multiverse process was unchecked and all of those universes became well established and different and a different fellow won the war. I believe the MCU multiverse isn't from the interpretation of Quantum physics style multiverse rather the quantum realm is always sending things through time naturally though it would be an occasional neutrino rather than an Avenger causing a universe split And that's why the timeline went fractal Jul 19, 2021 at 23:47
  • With him dead, he's no longer around to direct the TVA to do whatever's necessary to hold back all of his variants. In the unknown-to-him future after they pass the threshold, without Loki and Sylvie taking over from him, no-one prevents his variants from travelling back, forward and sideways in time across the multiverse, creating unpruned branches all over spacetime. Depending on your perspective, it's either a Kang-tastrophe, or Kang-tastic! Jul 20, 2021 at 10:31
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    This is Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey stuff..
    – user931
    Jul 20, 2021 at 18:31
  • Does this answer your question? If the TVA exists outside of time, why would it be affected by the ending of episode 6?
    – Chris
    Jul 27, 2021 at 12:59

4 Answers 4

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It doesn't. Refusing to police the timeline does.

To answer your question directly, killing He Who Remains changes nothing about the timeline as it exists at that moment. The problem is that the TVA polices and prunes the timeline so that it doesn't branch and create new, alternate timelines.

The show makes it clear that the universe is chock full of possible branching points and that new branching points pop into existence all the time. We know that this can happen due to people time traveling as illustrated by Loki and Sylvie throughout the show but it also seems plausible for variants to be created entirely on their own as a natural occurrence.

Either way, once He Who Remains is out of the picture, no one is left to dispatch the TVA to prevent new nexus events. The timeline branches rapidly from there and the TVA is sent into a scramble.

Thus, the multiverse is born!

This answer does a good job explaining that there have been some mixed signals from Marvel as to how the changes to the timeline are affecting the TVA but the fact that there are changes to the TVA at all actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Here's why:

The TVA is composed entirely of variants, as is Kang himself. If we follow Kang through this process, every time the timeline branches, a new universe comes into existence with its own potential Kang variant. That variant follows the same path that He Who Remains outlined in his conversation with Loki and Sylvie:

  1. He discovers the multiverse.
  2. He finds a way to communicate with his own variants.
  3. They share technology.
  4. They wage war.
  5. The winner establishes the TVA to secure peace.

It's entirely expected that a new Kang with a new pool of variants to recruit from is going to create a new TVA.

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  • "every time the timeline branches, a new UNIVERSE comes into existence" did you mean TIMELINE instead of UNIVERSE? From what I understood when a being does a nexus event then a new timeline is created inside the same universe.
    – sound wave
    Jul 23, 2021 at 22:42
  • @soundwave - I’m not sure timeline and universe have to mean 2 different things here. Jul 24, 2021 at 23:17
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    @soundwave - it's a lot simpler than you're making it. The timeline branches caused by the events in Loki are the same branches referenced by He Who Remains when talking about his variants and are the same branches that will be referred to as "the multiverse" in the upcoming Dr. Strange movie. Unless you're actually arguing that there will be ANOTHER branching event or discovery that happens later to set up the upcoming multiverse films and that Loki's timeline branching is just a coincidence? An argument I find absolutely silly, short of an annoucment from Marvel saying exactly that. Jul 29, 2021 at 13:41
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    Pay close attention to what the she says in that scene: "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 would be overrun. Millions would suffer." Also, since there'd be no Time Stone in the new reality, this means that Dr. Strange would not obtain it like he did in Dr. Strange (2016), which means that Thanos could not take it from him like he did in Avengers: Infinity War, which means Thanos could not perform the Snap like he did in Infinity War. Jul 30, 2021 at 1:09
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    So there'd be no Snap to reverse in this new reality. The fact that the Avengers returned to the version of 2023 where the Snap had still happened proves they arrived back in the same reality they departed from. As further proof, notice that the TVA didn't come after the Avengers for taking the Infinity Stones, which they would have if the Avengers had departed from the Sacred Timeline, like Loki did when he took the Tesseract and escaped to the Gobi Desert. Jul 30, 2021 at 1:17
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The Citadel at the End of Time, where He Who Remains lives, really exists outside of time. As such it isn’t in the future or the past in relation to the main timelines and so time travel doesn’t really make sense. The Endgame explanation for time travel simply isn’t relevant here.

It’s also worth highlighting the below quote from the intro quotes in the last episode.

Alan Watts: We think of time as a one-way motion.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 6, “For All Time, Always”

Here the quote is talking about the fact that time simply isn’t one way/linear. That’s how we’re used to thinking about it but the philosophical theory is deeper than that. I won’t pretend to know it thoroughly or understand but in short and generalising it’s about another way of thinking on time and how it’s circular.

As such then it means time is constantly moving and so it’s not that once something has happened it has happened. Time is constantly happening again and again and therefore there really is no concept of past or future. Even more so when you exist outside of said time.

This question may also be relevant for you to look at.

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Let me add something to what TheLethalCarrot said. From his vantage point in the future/outside of time/whatever, He Who Remains dictated the flow of the Sacred Timeline. Using the TVA, he had every "branch" of the Sacred Timeline which wasn't to his liking reset and pruned - i.e. effectively destroyed.

It seems reasonable to me to assume that, in this way, he prevented there being any branches of the timeline where variants of himself, or anyone else, discovered a way to communicate with other branches, since a multiversal war would quickly follow in that scenario.

Therefore, once he was killed, the TVA stopped functioning (he dictated their moves after all), and a multiversal war started, sometime in the past.

As to why that also changed the TVA, which supposedly also exists in the future/outside of time, see this question.

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    he had every "brunch" of the Sacred Timeline which wasn't to his liking reset and pruned I'm not sure they weren't so much not to his liking as much as they were just what didn't happen in his original timeline looking back from the year 3,100. Great answer though. Jul 20, 2021 at 20:18
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It doesn't.

Killing He Who Remains at the Citadel at the End of Time will not change the past. What does change is the Time Variance Authority’s (TVA) operation, which is responsible for pruning timelines that deviate from the Sacred Timeline. The TVA is outside of regular space and time, so the concepts of the “past” and the “future” are irrelevant from the TVA's perspective.

To put it another way, He Who Remains was the one who created and ran the TVA. Without him in charge, the TVA falls apart. This became evident in Loki Season 2, where we see that after He Who Remains’ death in Season 1, the TVA staff are divided between those who want to continue pruning timelines and those who oppose it, preferring to spare trillions of lives, causing a coup d'état of sorts.

He Who Remains’ death also made Miss Minutes disappear from the TVA. She “took care of everything [in the TVA]” (according to Ouroboros), including core TVA machinery such as the temporal loom (designed by He Who Remains), “where raw time is refined into physical timeline”. Without He Who Remains and Miss Minutes, the temporal loom got overloaded by the many unpruned branches that grew when the TVA stopped pruning them, which could cause a “temporal meltdown”.

The reason why He Who Remains, via the TVA, was pruning timelines in the first place was to prevent “an infinite amount” of Kangs from emerging and waging a multiversal war against each other, as Miss Minutes and He Who Remains explain in Loki Season 1. Sylvie killing He Who Remains at the Citadel at the End of Time hinders the TVA from pruning new branches, unleashing new Kang variants, who will now try to conquer the different timelines.

Relevant dialogue:

He Who Remains: You kill me and destroy all this, and you don't just have one devil, you have an infinite amount.

He Who Remains: You kill me and the Sacred Timeline is completely exposed. Multiversal War.
Or you take over and return to the TVA as its rulers.

- Loki Season 1 Episode 6 "For All Time. Always."

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